Elsa (Idina Menzel – Glee) has special powers linked to her emotions and has inadvertently sunk the kingdom of Arendelle into an eternal winter. Ashamed and scared, she flees into exile. Her sister Anna (Kristen Bell – Veronica Mars) seeks to help, so she begins a treacherous quest with a mountaineer named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff – Glee) and a talking snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad – Marmaduke) to find Elsa and bring her back home.
Similar to their 2010 masterpiece Tangled, Frozen thaws even the coldest of hearts with a wonderful tale of two sisters, loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. Frozen is Disney’s 53rd animated feature-film and holds with it a lot of expectation.
Tangled, Disney’s 50th, was a triumph of epic proportions with the studio having delivered their best work since their second golden age in the early 90’s. Tangled easily held its own against the likes of The Lion King, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. Frozen sits somewhere in-between. It has all the hallmarks of an instant classic that enchants you from start to finish. Frozen will make you laugh, cry and sing but it just fails to beat Tangled as the studio’s most accomplished piece of modern work.
Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel share a wonderful chemistry as Anna and Elsa that completely hooks you in from the start. The two personify a classic, sisterly relationship and have fun with all of the banter and circumstance that this brings. A hallmark of classic Disney is the ability to make you sad and happy in a single shot. The nature of their relationship and Elsa’s constant fear for the well-being of Anna is sincerely heartfelt and really gets to you, especially towards the end of the film. Both Bell and Menzel are a huge factor in the success of Frozen.
The supporting talent are all very good too with Jonathan Groff, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk and Ciarán Hinds all handing in noteworthy vocal performances. But Josh Gad steals the show as a summer-loving snowman named Olaf. Gad brings a great level of comedy to the role and uses it to make Olaf a very memorable sidekick.
The visual effects used in the movie are sumptuous. Lush and vibrant animation is coupled with mesmerising 3D which gives Frozen a depth of narrative the likes of Avatar only wishes it could achieve. The ice kingdom, for example, is gorgeously rendered and magical to watch. And then there are the musical numbers – something so hit and miss in the past. Tangled managed to get the balance just right in Disney’s more recent efforts. Frozen follows suit and is full of brilliant songs. None of them feel unnecessary and they all contribute to the story at hand, especially Olaf’s ode to summer.
Frozen is a solid fairytale, and one of Disney’s nicest features. It manages to capture the essence of what made the classic Disney tales work so well, whilst updating it with cutting edge technology and modern sensibilities. It’s nice to see sisterly love explored in the Disney environment too. In short, Frozen is a work of art and a classic you’ll be reliving with your family for years to come.