Walt Disney revolutionized animation and brought it to the forefront of entertainment. Decades later the company has acquired some of the largest franchises in history like Marvel (most characters), Lucas Arts, even The Muppets in attempts to continue telling great stories. But while they have been focused on repackaging and pushing the continuing legacies of their newest acquisitions they still remember their roots and know how to tell a quality yarn even treading thin ice with their computer animated feature Tangled. Well the gamble paid off and really surprised people. Disney’s CG animators/storytellers used that momentum and took things even further with the mammothly successful Wreck-It Ralph. Seems that the future lies in embracing the digital realm but making sure focus is, as always, on story and characters. Frozen is a hit in keeping with the studio’s recent and former glories…oh and it’s hilarious!
The fearless Princess Anna teams up with Kristoff and his brave reindeer on a journey of epic proportions. Along the way they meet a hilarious snowman named Olaf and calamity ensues. During their journey they face treacherous conditions, the likes of which neither Anna or Kristoff have ever seen. Queen Elsa, Anna’s sister, has turned a peaceful summer paradise into a harsh winter wasteland, trapping the kingdom in an eternal winter. This misadventure is filled with action, excitement and lots of laughter. Anna and Kristoff will keep you on the edge of your seat with their brave and fearless heroics. Olaf will have you in stitches as he bumbles around trying to be helpful.
Looking at the actors in this film, we should start with Josh Gad (Love & Other Drugs, Jobs) who plays Olaf. Olaf steals the show and really makes the movie. Without him the movie just doesn’t work. Kristen Bell (You Again, When in Rome) plays Anna, the younger sister/princess and creates a fun loving and caring character in keeping with that famed Disney royalty. Idina Menzel (Enchanted, Beowulf) plays Elsa, the oldest daughter and princess who has come of age and is now the queen. Jonathan Groff (Taking Woodstock, The Conspirator) plays Kristoff, the hunky love interest. Jonathan does a good job of bringing solid emotion to this character through his voice. Frozen was directed by Chris Buck (Surf’s Up, Tarzan) and Jennifer Lee (sreenwriter Wreck-It Ralph) sticks her co-directorial debut with this surprisingly charming little film.
Chris Buck is also credited along with Jennifer Lee and Shane Morris for this story. However, the screenplay was actually written by Jennifer Lee. It takes quite a talent to develop an animated screenplay for Disney and then turn around and direct it as well. Granted she had help at every turn it appears, but it’s still quite an impressive feat. The story is solid and very Disney-like and has all of the core elements of a Disney movie. Jennifer Lee’s only other writing credit is a co-writing credit for Wreck-it Ralph, which was a successful movie for Disney. If Jennifer keeps writing hit screenplays for Disney she has a long and successful career ahead of her.
Looking at the movie holistically, Frozen is a return to form for Disney. This animated film features an entire album of songs woven into the plot and ready to be played endlessly on your little ones’ mp3 player (or your own). Frozen has some echoes of Beauty and the Beast and maybe a little bit of Tangled. Now this isn’t the traditional princess movie from Disney, but it does have that classic Disney feel completely reminiscent of the studio’s mega hits in the late 80s and early 90s.
To be fair, while Frozen eneded fantastically things didn’t start out so engaging. Laying out the backstory took its time but once Olaf was introduced that’s when things really took off. He is without a doubt the highlight of the film (easily one of the studio’s most endearing and memorable sidekicks of all time); full of delightful comic relief he adds a ton of fun and laughter to the story. At ti’s core Frozen is full of heart and children are just going to love this. Adults will sneak more than a few glances at their watches (well those who don’t care for all of the musical ballads), but the constant presence of Olaf certainly makes up for that. All-in-all the movie is cute, fun and family friendly. So if you are looking for a great family movie to watch this holiday season then look no further as Frozen is good family fun for everyone.