Disney throwback Frozen will warm your heart


I ima­gine that if Cinder­ella were in 3D and made with CGI, it’d look a lot like Frozen. New tech­no­logy aside, Frozen is a throw­back to clas­sic Dis­ney. It’s more of the story and the ample amount of singing that make Frozen feel like the old Dis­ney movies that are near and dear to many people’s hearts.

In­spired by an 1845 pub­lic­a­tion of The Snow Queen by Hans Chris­ti­an An­der­sen, Frozen is the story of two sis­ters, Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell), and her older sis­ter, Elsa, (Id­ina Men­zel), whose par­ents re­luct­antly locked her away in a room in their castle after her icy powers ac­ci­dent­ally en­danger Anna. As the sis­ters grow up, Anna won­ders why Elsa can­not play with her any more. Mean­while, Elsa lives in fear she’ll hurt Anna again, and as a res­ult, avoids the one per­son she loves most.

When grown-up Anna fi­nally con­fronts Elsa, Elsa pan­ics and runs off and her dan­ger­ous, un­con­trol­lable powers leave the king­dom of Aren­delle trapped in an etern­al icy, winter. Anna then sets off to find her sis­ter, team­ing up with rugged moun­tain man Kris­toff (Jonath­an Groff) and his loy­al reindeer, Sven. Kris­toff is far from the Prince Charm­ing that Anna has fallen for back at home, but it’s cer­tainly fun to watch them bick­er and, even­tu­ally, bond. They’re later joined by a talk­ing snow­man named Olaf (Josh Gad) as they race to find Elsa and save Aren­delle from a nev­er-end­ing winter. 

Frozen has def­in­itely got winter hol­i­day hit writ­ten all over it (des­pite the fact it’s com­pet­ing with some of the same audi­ence for The Hun­ger Games: Catch­ing Fire). And the kids will love Olaf (who is hil­ari­ously ob­li­vi­ous to what will hap­pen to him when winter ends). 

Still, I couldn’t quite com­pletely warm up to the en­tire movie. While the songs by Tony win­ner Robert Lopez and Kristen An­der­son-Lopez were plen­ti­ful and some of them charm­ing, there were really no songs that I en­vi­sion my­self singing, whist­ling or even hum­ming in the fu­ture.

And though the movie is set in the fic­tion­al Aren­delle, the set­ting is ob­vi­ously in­spired by Scand­inavia (Nor­way in par­tic­u­lar), yet all of the ac­cents were clearly Amer­ic­an. I much prefer a movie like Dis­ney’s Brave that used act­ors with Scot­tish ac­cents that matched the set­ting of the film.

That’s not to say that the lead­ing lady voices didn’t do a great job. Not hav­ing heard Bell’s singing voice pri­or to this flick, I was im­pressed at her vo­cal prowess. And, of course, Men­zel (from Broad­way’s Wicked and Rent) is well known for her an­gel­ic voice.

Un­like some of the clas­sic Dis­ney movies, sur­pris­ingly there’s no evil vil­lain like a Wicked Step­moth­er or Evil Witch. One might ex­pect Elsa to be the vil­lain, but she’s not. She’s more like the snow queen who will melt your heart. There is a “bad guy” so to speak, but it al­most seemed like an af­ter­thought. The cent­ral story is really about the sis­ters find­ing their way back to one an­oth­er.

And it seems quite fit­ting that since Frozen already feels like a clas­sic Dis­ney movie, the en­joy­able short film pri­or to the movie cre­at­ively blends yes­teryear and today. ••

Movie Grade: B+

You can reach at shorbrook@bsmphilly.com.

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