It’s been a long while since I saw a Disney movie – mean a PROPER Disney movie, not the Pixar collaborations (actually, didn’t they buy Pixar?). Wikipedia says the last one was the wonderful “Wreck-it Ralph” at the start of the year. Before that was… goodness me, “Bolt” from back in 2008. Apparently 2010’s “Tangled” was amazing but I haven’t gotten around to that yet.
Either way, after the usual parade of a-little-too-knowing CG kid’s films, it was quite refreshing to see one that not only kept the strong Disney traditions of strong female characters, and one of the best selections of songs since … I don’t even know… “The Lion King”(?!), but we also got some expertly deployed dialogue. It had laughs for everyone, but not even the usual combination of slapstick for the dumb kids and borderline inappropriate jokes for the adults forced to take them. “Frozen” was enjoyable for everyone, and crucially they were enjoying the same thing.
Set in the Nordic kingdom of Arendelle, two young sisters Elsa and Anna enjoyed a close bond. Elsa was cursed/blessed with the ability to create and control ice, and accidentally injures her sister. To keep the family safe, Anna is healed and her memories of her sister’s powers removed, and Elsa shuts herself away from her sister. Ten years later, Elsa has grown very distant from her sister and the rest of society, but is forced to confront her isolation.
The rest of the film follows Anna’s attempts to reach out to her sister and rebuild their relationship, whilst saving the kingdom from destruction. Tough stuff. But we’ve got plenty of songs to keep our spirits up, even if the song Anna sings whilst the girls grow up is quite poignant.
You might be forgiven for thinking this movie was written with a stage adaptation in mind (I’d totally see that), and the cast does little to dispel that feeling. Elsa is played wonderfully by the original Elphaba from “Wicked”, Idina Menzel, who steals the show with her empowerment anthem “Let it go”. Kristin Bell as Anna isn’t someone I immediately associate with the theatre but she really brought her character alive here, as well as some beautiful singing. Love her! The main trio is rounded off by handsome Nordic doofus Kristoff, played by the gorgeous Jonathan Groff (perhaps remember him from Glee?).
Perhaps not a weak link, but the shakiest link is definitely comic relief snowman Olaf. We’ve all been here before, and while he had his fair share of moments, he was a bit too stupid and loudmouthed for me to take to him. Have some subtlety! Perhaps even less subtle were some of the antagonists – particularly the blustering small-man-syndrome Earl of Wesselton.
But all in all it was a great family movie that I’d be happy to see again. The visuals were magnificent, the songs were great, the cast were fantastic. What more could I ask for?