‘Tis the season for Christmas and snow related films… And so far we’re doing a lot better than last year. Granted Rise of the Guardians was good fun, but it pales in comparison to Disney’s Frozen. Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Snow Queen it tells the story of two sisters, Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel). Elsa has the ability to bring snow, ice and winter anywhere at any time, but when she accidentally hits Anna in the head with a magical snowball, she is shut away from the world until she can control her powers. The adventure, the singing and the story all get properly started when Elsa sets off an eternal winter, runs away and has to be coaxed down the mountain by Anna, Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his reindeer, Sven.
All the writing in Frozen is great, from the script to the songs to the reindeer grunts from Sven. The songs are particularly brilliant, mainly because they hail a return to form from Disney after a couple of disappointments and a few films without songs. The first one, Do You Want To Build A Snowman, is used as a growing up montage, not unlike Hakuna Matata in The Lion King. It starts off with the toddler Anna singing through her sister’s keyhole in what must be the most adorable voice on screen in forever. She then grows up to be a bored teenager and finally, a young woman despairing at her reclusive sister and the loss of their parents. It’s an emotional rollercoaster of a song and a great start to this brilliant soundtrack. The final song is sung by the trolls and is just outstanding. Fixer Upper is a jazzy, character laden song with great lyrics, a great tune and humour to match. It’s been stuck in my head for a week now, but I’m not complaining. I could go into great detail about every song in the film, but for the sake of the “tl;dr” generation I won’t, so let’s just say they’re all brilliant, because they are, and you should listen to them all, because you should.
On to talking about the actual film then… Frozen is a surprising move away from the standard love story for Disney. Instead, it’s a celebration of sisterhood and one which will make anyone with a sibling pine for them. Anna and Elsa both spend the film trying to save each other and the ending is a wonderful twist on the classic Disney ending. There are parts where Disney mocks itself, not as blatantly as in Enchanted, but along the same lines. A conversation takes place between Anna and Kristoff concerning her engagement to someone she’s known a few hours and with whom she shared a song. Kristoff just can’t get his head around the idea of Anna marrying someone she barely know, and it makes for a hilarious scene. On top of that, the film looks fantastic. The creation of the ice palace and the thawing of Arendelle are highlights but all in all, it’s a visually stunning film.
If this is the way Disney’s classic films are going then I’m 100% onboard. Frozen is the classic film for the new generation and it marks a change from the previous classics in their vault. It might not look like it from the trailer, but once you’ve seen it you’ll understand. The fact it revolves around the sisters and keeps the love story as a subplot makes a change, and then there’s that moment towards the end that is one of the best things to come out of that studio. Maybe it’s because my own sister moved to Paris the day I saw Frozen and I miss her, but it really chimed with me and I’m sure it’ll be the same for anyone with a sibling. You’d have to have a genuine heart of ice to not fall in love with Frozen the second toddler Anna sings the line “Do you want to build a snowman”.
Directors: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Stars: Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel
Runtime: 108 min