Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk, Ciaran Hinds
Running Time: 102 Minutes
The fact that I’m having difficulty writing this review trying to avoid writing in tune to the Academy Award winning song ‘Let It Go’ is testament to how magical and captivating Disney’s return to strength truly is. Others have heaped praise on THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG and TANGLED, but although enjoyable, they conjured me into a cynical grown-up rather than transporting me back to childhood. FROZEN does exactly that with a series of lovable characters, great songs, and memorable moments.
Based loosely on Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Snow Queen’, FROZEN follows two sisters, one just happening to have some bizarre powers that allow her to create and control ice/snow. The sisterly bond is the anchor of the film, and it keeps it from drifting too far in nonsensical directions. Recent Disney films seem to have tried too hard to acquire an audience that has favoured the brilliant storytelling of Pixar or the pop culture referencing of Dreamworks. With sisters as the focus, it strips the film of traditional Disney Princess pigeonholes of the damsel in distress or marriage material. Although those elements still exist, Disney even pokes fun at them, with everybody reminding Anna (Bell) that you can’t marry someone you’ve just met.
The humour is also interlaced with endearing characters, such as Josh Gad’s infectiously optimistic snowman, Olaf. His naive innocence never becomes annoying, and Disney once again manages to insert a non-talking animal with a wealth of facial expressions. Such facial expressions are made possible by the exuberant animation that often seems limited in its use of colour, but never in its designs or scope. The vibrancy in movement carries over to the brilliant songs, and although ‘Let It Go’ almost eclipses every other song, there are plenty of other gems you’ll get stuck in your head.
Although the atmosphere and feel are 100% Disney and the entire production is magical, there are some points which just seem awkward and forced. The sudden reveal of a villain was completely unnecessary and just removed any complex subtlety in how characters react to Elsa (Menzel) and her powers. It was a quick fix and not a welcome one. The addition of troll like creatures feels plucked from another film, and despite the more untraditional view of romance, the script can’t help but start to steer in the direction of cliché. Despite this, the film is a fantastic return to form and is the first Disney film in years (maybe even a decade) that will stand up against BEAUTY & THE BEAST, ALADDIN, and THE LION KING.
[usr=4]FROZEN is released on DVD and Blu-ray on 31st March.