Screenplay by: Jennifer Lee
Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad and Santino Fontana
Runtime: 108 minutes
Budget: 150 million
It has been an astounding 76 years since Walt Disney’s classic Snow White entered cinemas, culturally developing the princess ideology that would be cemented with other classics like Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Aladdin, Pocahontas, and so on. While the technologies in developing these narratives have greatly changed over the decades, the stories themselves stay relatively familiar to their context. That being said, Frozen is a worthy successor to these classics, as well as a notably well-made film.
Frozen’s story follows Elsa, princess of Arendelle, with the power to wield ice in constructive, fun and fascinating ways. Her abilities are the subject of close, memorable moments between her, and her sister, Anna. It’s not before long that Elsa, and her family discovers her abilities lack control, resulting in an injury that requires her to be set away from the rest of the world and her beloved Sister. Her re-emergence into the real-world results in her putting her people, and her Sister in grave danger, an act that forces her off into the wilderness mountains causing a massive snow storm, that if not controlled will freeze everything.
At the very core of Frozen’s story is a fruitful, well developed and emotionally impactful love story. Frozen takes noticeable differences in its story to be fresh, and different than predecessors like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. While there is a clear romantic love story developing between Anna and mountain man Kristoff, the real story is between Isla and Anna. This different take in a Disney princess film is fascinatingly refresh, and even clever in its narrative arc. Several scenes perfectly illustrate their sibling love for one another, often times portrayed in impressive musical numbers that were entertaining, and never lengthy. Frozen also manages to explore a thoughtful, albeit more child friendly mindset on good versus evil with Anna. Anna’s want, and desire to keep her Sister, and people safe with being shut off, and distant, in turn hurts them more. It’s this thoughtful attention to character development that was truly impressive in a film marked for a younger audience.
The cast is spear headed by Kristen Bell (Anna), who does a good job of exploring an emotional role, while never coming off as pathetic, or even desperate. Singing, while not as solid as Idina Menzel’s Elsa, it’s still solid enough to be entertaining. Menzel’s singing, in particularly during the boisterous ‘Let It Go’ song, a visually eye candy scene involving a massive ice castle building sequence. Jonathan Groff’s Kristoff is a solid character, perhaps not very memorable, but has meaningful chemistry with Anna. The real showstopper comes in the form of Josh Gad’s Olaf, a talking, walking, living snowman. Almost all the laughs came from his characters quirky personality (it does make up for Gad’s rather laughable attempt to sing).
Critically delving into Frozen was challenging, as I found myself enjoying a Disney Princess film, but I would like to make the argument that Frozen is quite the opposite. Sure, there are princesses here, and there are Kingdoms, but the pestering, forced romantic love story is not there. Its lighter, finessed into the inner workings of a more meaningful telling of family bond, and the grips of good and evil. While it never really has a resounding, memorable, shocking moment like Mufasa’s death in The Lion King, it is visually and emotionally engaging throughout. I would not put it in the same level as some of Pixar’s juggernauts like the Toy Story trilogy, or even The Incredibles but as a Disney film, it might be one of the best in the last few decades. To sum up my rant, I liked Frozen’s story, I enjoyed the comedy bits, I liked the blended sense of adventure, the spectacle of a different world, hell, I even liked the singing. Frozen is worth your time, and investment.