FrozenThursday 05 Dec 2013
Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Starring: Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff
Duration: 108 minutes
It’s winter wonderful! The latest animated film from Disney is everything you’ve come to love and expect from the film company who brought us the recent hits Tangled, Brave (story wise) and Wreck-It Ralph. Frozen is refreshing, funny, and modern and has very catchy songs, not least of all For the First Time in Forever which I’m humming as I write.
The soundtrack from this epic animated musical is proving so popular that it’s temporarily unavailable to buy from Amazon and is getting quite a lot of media coverage all on its own – go on…Google it. The beautifully animated film isn’t doing too badly either, smashing records stateside during its opening Thanksgiving weekend.
Loosely based on Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytale The Snow Queen, Frozen begins with Princesses Anna (Kirsten Bell) and Elsa (Idina Mensel) frolicking about in their stately home whilst their parents sleep. These two are unlike most other princesses to date, certainly Disney ones: They are irreverent, mischievous, happy and great fun.
Elder sister Elsa is special in another way too – she can freeze anything she chooses (think the skittles ad guy, only a happy version). She struggles to build icy slides and roller coasters fast enough to keep giggling and brave Anna entertained until tragedy strikes and her little sis is injured. After that day she vows to lock away her skills, labelling it a curse and as we know from many a fairytale, secrets are a curse in themselves. The sisters eventually battle to save their beautiful homeland and each other from an icy end.
Writers and directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee have created the type of role models, Anna in particular, that you’d be happy for any little girl to imitate – no cringe factor when they ask for that over-priced costume/schoolbag/pencil case/doll for their birthday.
Their story arch is as naturalistic as an animated film can be and their happily ever after doesn’t hang on any of the usual clichés of dashing princes, sickly sweet twists or adoration by a depraved public. These are modern royals, with many of the trials and tribulations that real life kicks up. There’s even a recession of sorts sparked by an unforeseen environmental change.
There’s plenty for the boys too thanks to strong male leads, not least of all Anna’s buddies, earthy Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and Olaf the Snowman (Josh Gad) – although he’s really more of an adorable snow boy, who younger audience members will particularly love. Don’t be surprised if he gets his own spin-off series and he’s a great little singer too, his song In Summer is another hit…great, now I’m humming that one. While I’m at it, Elsa/Mensel’s Let It Go is another belter to look forward to. Listen out for a cameo too by our own Ciarán Hinds (Grandpa/Pabbie).
The only thing stopping hearts from completely melting (which, let’s face it, is probably a little dangerous) is the slightly cold ending, which is quite matter of fact - not frozen, just a little chilly. Hard to avoid with such a realistically-themed fairytale. Still, Santy is definitely going to have to make a couple of late pit-stops with this stocking filler once it's released.