Frozen, an intelligent, fun film for all ages, is helmed by the first female director (Jennifer Lee) of a Disney animated feature. Combined with its two female leads, Anna (the voice of Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel), the expectation here is that of a film more for girls than boys, a Disney chick flick. That would be a an exaggerated assumption.
With eight accomplished original songs, an adorably playful, hilarious Snowman sidekick, and a plot harvested from Hans Christian Andersen, Frozen scares, jokes, thrills, and delights its way to the heights of animated merriment.
Based on The Snow Queen, Frozen tells the story of estranged sisters with a seemingly impossible mission. Separated since childhood from her sister Elsa and her considerable powers to conjure, redheaded Anna comes to encounter Elsa, now a relative stranger, at her coronation after their parents’ untimely death. Anna meets a Prince Charming, Hans, at the wedding but Elsa forbids their own suddenly planned union. Losing her glove, which protects her from the overreaching powers of her own hands. she accidentally brings on an instant and eternal winter to their kingdom, Arendelle. She retreats to a mountain hideout, and Anna, believing she can compel Elsa to reverse the spell, heads out solo to find her. Failing to become unhinged, she’ll soon encounter Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), an ice-dealer with heightened outdoor skills who guides a reindeer who harbors ideas of his own. Their scenes together click–heightened by their interplay with the wordless but expressive reindeer and the loquacious snowman, Olaf (Josh Gad).
Highlights include Olaf’s musical number, “In Summer,” where the snowman with a carrot for a nose imagines an improbable day at the beach where he experiences a mysterious melt-free protection. Tony winners (for Book of Mormon) Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez also penned the wonderful “Fixer Upper,” where a bunch of cool trolls attempt to sell the dubious charms of Kristoff to an innocent Anna.
Its numerous audio pleasures matched by its visual ones, Frozen hits all the classic marks of animation films that are all too rare these days. Interwoven with its sisterhood-is-powerful message, it creates a contemporary Snow Queen more complex than its original inspiration.