Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Directed by: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Starring: Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff
If you are one of the many families who have decided to forego the traditional Panto trip this year, you could do worse then to choose Frozen as an alternative. Forming a fresh spin on a well-known fairytale with a mixture of humor and music, it’s a fun adventure injected with enough Disney magic to keep both the young and the old enchanted.
Loosely based on The Snow Queen, Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless literary classic, Frozen follows Princess Anna, who has spent her childhood isolated from her older sister Elsa. For Elsa hides a magical secret, she has the ability to create snow and ice, a power that is revealed to the people of the kingdom on the day she is crowned Queen. Having plunged her kingdom into an eternal winter, Elsa flees; worried that her powers may kill the sister she loves and protects. However, Anna chases after Elsa, aided by mountain man Kristoff, his reindeer Sven and talking snowman Olaf, determined to bring Elsa back and end the kingdom’s everlasting season.
Unenhanced by the option of 3D, Frozen is nevertheless visually stunning. The vast, sweeping backdrops of endless snow-covered mountains are breathtakingly beautiful. Likewise the character animation is magnificent, lending both personality and beauty where it is needed. Particularly admirable is the creation of Elsa who, in a boldly unconventional move, is not a strikingly ugly antagonist that you would expect from a Disney tale, but a regally beautiful princess who is as equally tormented by her powers as Anna is.
The focus on familial rather than romantic love is a nice twist, which adds a fresh angle that Disney rarely explores. Unfortunately our heroine Anna is just not as interesting to be around as Elsa, meaning the film is frustratingly flat at times. Particularly during the opening 35-40 minutes, which our uninspired lead carries almost entirely. When the handsome Kristoff and snowman Olaf finally turn up to aid Anna on her quest, the pace quickens. The narrative persistently struggles, the decision to not reveal the film’s antagonist until the final act is jarring. But the laughs keep coming, the script injected with enough warmth and wit to make the adults smile.
Meanwhile, the regular action pieces will keep the little ones entertained; a battle with a vicious giant snowman being a notable highlight that is topped off with the film’s best joke. The songs, unfortunately, are not as catchy as you would hope. Although Elsa’s ‘Let It Go’, beautifully performed by Idina Menzel, may well be the studio’s finest sequence since ‘The Circle of Life’ in The Lion King.
There’s no escaping the fact that the narrative is an inconsistent mess, mainly held together by an unimaginative central character. However, this is still a Disney film filled with fun and warmth, complete with stunning visuals and an unconventionally appealing central relationship, which will excite the kids and entertain the parents.