Disregard the trailers for Frozen that you’ve seen. None have done justice to what is one of my favorite Disney films of the last 10 years, with a soundtrack that rivals The Princess and the Frog (with the except for the opening score, which didn’t seem to fit the theme to me).
Anna (Kristin Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) are sisters. They are very close and playful in their young childhood, until a terrible accident by the hands of Elsa keeps them apart in ensuing years. Elsa has a power that she cannot stop, no matter how much she loves those around her. Make no mistake – as much as you’ve seen snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) in the trailers – this movie is about sisterhood and a bond that can’t be broken.
Anna is heartbroken over being shut off from her sister, and the plaintive song “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” is beautiful and wistful at the same time. This may be my favorite song from the film, although there are a couple of powerhouse numbers by Idina Menzel. And I didn’t realize that Kristen Bell sang until now – she has a beautiful voice.
It’s not a spoiler – given that Frozen is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen – that Elsa eventually receives an elevated title. Both Elsa and Anna begin the film as princesses. But even after that, Elsa’s power drives her away from Arendelle, and Anna’s very new love interest, Prince Hans (Santino Fontana), holds down the fort while Anna rides into the heavy snow to try and help her sister.
Almost the entire film has a dark feel to it, due to the treacherous weather. But the mood is often upbeat, and Elsa soon stumbles onto Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and Sven his reindeer. The one thing that I’d like to see is more variations on horse (and now reindeer) expressions. I feel like I’m watching the same animal characters as in Tangled and other films. Sven is a whole lot of fun, but his characteristics are familiar.
Kristoff is an earnest young man, and he and Sven befriend Anna. His profession is selling ice, which isn’t of much use due to the ongoing winter weather. She convinces him to help her reach Elsa.
Along the way, they meet Olaf. There is a scene in the movie earlier where Anna and Elsa create him as children. Olaf brings comic relief to the film, especially in his enthusiasm to experience the seemingly impossible dream of enjoying summer and the beach. He has never donned a carrot for a nose before, and the scene where it’s placed on him is hilarious!
Anna, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf do reach the icy palace that Elsa has forged for herself. Elsa is never a villain here, she just wants to create a world where she cannot hurt others. Elsa’s song “Let it Go” is extraordinary and empowering (as is the film).
Another group reaches Elsa’s ice palace as well, and they aren’t wanting to bring her home alive. Unfortunately, in the heat of the moment, Elsa’s powers are directed into the one person she never wanted to hurt again. And to gain that life back, an act of love has to be bestowed. There is also an act of betrayal in the film that drew large gasps from the audience (and a minor profanity, a first for me in a Disney animated film!)
This is a great film for the family, because it’s a great film about family. There are lessons to be learned.
I expect tremendous success in both box office and merchandise sales (I have an eye on the soundtrack, which will releases on November 25th). It is rated PG for some action and mild rude humor, but I don’t find it as scary for kids as a couple of the bear scenes in Brave. And while I enjoyed the 3D version, I don’t think it is necessary for the film.
There is a wonderful Mickey Mouse short that precedes the film called Get a Horse, which uses the voice of Walt Disney for this new short film! Definitely make sure to arrive early enough to see this. And the 3D I mentioned in the last paragraph? It is very good with this short.
Frozen officially opens on November 27th.
Mousesteps Grade: A-
We interviewed Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel and Josh Gad about their roles back in August. Here is the video!