When Elsa accidentally injures her younger sister Anna due to her mystical powers, the two are separated, resigned to living in the same castle with their parents – the King and Queen of Arendelle – while never interacting. They reunite years later as teenagers upon Elsa’s coronation, but her insecurities come back, startling the public, and forcing her to exile in the mountains. Anna sets out on a quest to find her estranged sister, teaming up with a goofy ice salesman, his trusty reindeer, and a talking snowman.
Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel are the inspiring and singing sisters, Anna and Elsa. Josh Gad joins later as a loveable and idealistic snowman.
Frozen is both irresistible and warming, from its magical open through all its infectious and inspired musical interludes, right up to a brilliant finish. Reminiscent of the great animated films of the late 80s and early 90s, this Disney offering is nostalgic yet invigorating.
Set in the fjords of Norway, without ever saying so, and at an indiscriminate time period (there are ships and suitors and nary a cell phone), Frozen twists and subverts a familiar story while still embracing classic Disney storytelling.
Yes, there is a prince and a princess (two, to be precise), there is a courtship, there is love requited, and there are many sudden musical numbers. Any initial trepidation though, that perhaps this Disney fare might fall into old and trivial routines is quickly dashed. One of the earlier songs, the second in a list of many that are all winners, finds the bright-eyed and optimistic Anna and the man she just met, the regal Kristoff, falling in love and professing their instant affection.
In typical animated movie screen fashion, the two meet by accident, star into each other’s eyes, and sheepishly and cutely court one another – all within minutes. While the two are especially endearing, it’s evident they are in over their head, especially the sheltered Anna. When she tells her sister of her very sudden marriage, the older and perhaps wiser Elsa disapproves.
The argument peeves Elsa, stirring latent uncontrollable mystical power. A wielder and conjurer of ice and snow, Elsa’s inability to hone her gift as a child left her sister clinging to life. Elsa reluctantly lets loose again, causing chaos and attracting fear and scorn from the public. She runs off, holes herself up in the mountains in a gorgeous and peaceful ice castle (which by the way seems pretty great), and her defiant, idealistic sister runs after, making some wayward friends.
It all happens quickly, but beautifully and with plenty of wit and charm. The story isn’t about Anna’s relationship about a new beau (or actually, a beau, since she’s lived indoors her whole life); it’s about her relationship with her sister, which is, in the least, incredibly refreshing.
On her journey, Anna meets a hard luck ice salesman, a man whose best friend is a reindeer and whose family is well, not your typical clan (you’ll find out later on), as well as a very chatting snow man who strangely is exciting for halting an endless winter in favour of summer. Everyone (and everything) is fantastically rendered and instantly likeable.
A villain does slowly manifest itself, but not initially, and certainly not too forcefully. There is an old king who is curious about what is going on in town, and Anna’s princely man who is more fearful of Elsa, sending guards to capture her instead of talk to her.
Frozen is wonderful to watch. Smart and steady throughout, it will melt your heart and put a smile on your face.
Should You See It?
See it early and often – it’s that good, and that much fun.