Frozen – film review

Theatrical poster for Disney's "Frozen".
Disney’s “Frozen” teaser poster.
Frozen opens to little Princess Anna, who adores her older sister Elsa, especially Elsa’s power to create snow and ice. But after Elsa accidentally almost kills Anna when she can’t control her powers, their parents have Anna’s memories of her sister’s powers erased, and tell Elsa to stay in her room and away from people.

Years go by, and the sisters grow up separated by closed doors, until Elsa is forced to come out for her coronation. But even one day in public proves too much for Elsa. When Anna confronts her about why she locked herself away, Elsa becomes upset and accidentally throws the kingdom into a new ice age. Guilty, Elsa flees into the mountains. Anna goes after her beloved sister with the aid of mountain man Kristoff and optimistic snowman Olaf. But will Elsa even want to come home when she feels she’s so dangerous?

The story deviates hugely from the original Hans Christensen Anderson story The Snow Queen, and—surprisingly—it doesn’t even follow the typical “Disney Princess” formula. That was a huge benefit to the viewing experience. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time wondering how it was going to end. For most of the movie, I wasn’t even sure which guys the princesses were going to fall in love with, if either. Not to mention the fact that the princesses—whom I usually feel are one-dimensional eye candy—were interesting, relatable women, full of personality, and even funny! I guess that’s what happens when Disney finally hires their first female animation director in ninety years.

Knowing this was based on one of my favorite folktales (and being of Danish descent myself), I had mixed feelings about how this adaptation would turn out. My fears were put to rest very early on. The Disney logo appeared, accompanied by a haunting traditional old-Norse Cantus, and when the movie started, I saw lovely Scandinavian art design throughout: in the architecture, in the costumes, even down to the girls braided hair. It was evident Disney had done their research. A gallery of sumptuous, flowing ice crystals throughout the whole film fed my fandom of the beauty of ice and snowflakes. The look of the film was just stunning.

Somehow, I didn’t know this movie was supposed to be a musical. It was a lovely surprise, as the songs were catchy and very memorable. It’s the best musical effort I’ve seen from Disney in a while. I left feeling I’d seen something grand and powerful, vibrating with the best of Broadway, with the highest note being Idina Menzel’s (Elsa) powerhouse performance of “Let it Go”. I was blown away by this number, and now eagerly want to perform it myself.

Title screen from "Get a Horse!" short film from Disney.
Title screen from “Get a Horse!” short film.

To top it off, we were treated to Get A Horse, the first theatrical Mickey Mouse short in some decades. Thought up by Disney newcomer, Lauren MacMullen, it starts out looking like a beat up black and white filmstrip with all the classic characters (voiced using archive recordings of Walt Disney himself), but quickly evolves into something new. The characters play with color, movement, 2D and 3D animation, frame-rate, and breaking the forth wall. Although experimental, it was really fun. This one is worth the extra few bucks to see it in 3D. Mickey might just get his next Oscar for this.

Release Date: November 27, 2013 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG

MySF Rating: Four point five stars
Family Friendliness: 95%

Content:

Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (champagne is served at the coronation)
Language: 0
Nudity: 0
Sexuality: 0 (unless you count a kiss)
Violence: 2 (scary snow monster, use of weapons, characters in peril – close to death)


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