UK Release Date: 6th December 2013
Runtime: 108 minutes
Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Writer: Jennifer Lee
Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana
Synopsis: When a magic new queen accidentally turns her kingdom to ice in a fit of rage and anxiety, only her sister is capable of bringing her round and winning back summer.
Disney Animation Studios are on a roll in recent years. They brought back the Disney Princess movie in 2010 with Tangled and, in that vein, comes Frozen, which might be the snowiest film out this Christmas. Thankfully for the Disney renaissance, Frozen – based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen – is yet another home run for the company.
After a youthful accident involving her magic powers, Elsa (Idina Menzel) is forced to grow up in isolation from her clumsy sister Anna (Kristen Bell). When their parents die, Elsa must appear publicly to take the throne. A fit of anxiety and horror triggers Elsa’s powers, plunging her kingdom into an eternal winter. Their only hope is that Anna can bring her sister round, with the help of Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and living snowman Olaf (Josh Gad).
Frozen is, quite simply, one of the most entertaining films of 2013. Like any number of Disney classics before it, it throws its arms completely around the concept of fun and snuggles it into oblivion.
At its centre are two terrific characters in the shape of Anna and Elsa, who are given complex, multi-dimensional life by Jennifer Lee’s script. Kristen Bell and Broadway legend Idina Menzel put in top notch voice performances. Bell’ presents a comedic masterclass, stealing Frozen’s best lines, and the latter’s titanic singing voice is used to great effect.
Those songs, co-written by Avenue Q’s Robert Lopez and his wife Kristen, are some of the wittiest to appear in a Disney film for decades. ‘Let It Go’ is favourite for an Oscar this year and opening number ‘Do You Wanna Build A Snowman?’ is a heart-breaking triumph.
Frozen also benefits from Josh Gad’s Olaf – one of the best Disney supporting characters in years. Toys R Us will see his likeness flying off their shelves over Christmas and his lines will be quoted in playgrounds across the country for years to come. He is up there with the Despicable Me minions as a fantastic animated comic character and his song about how much he loves summer is simply brilliant.
The true genius of Frozen is that it is both a completely conventional fairytale and something entirely ground-breaking. It happily embraces certain tropes, whilst sticking its icy middle finger up to others.
It speaks volumes about the company’s success that, in 2013, Disney can still produce a genuinely surprising and unpredictable fairytale.
Pop or Poop?
In a year packed with great animated releases, Frozen stands up as one of the best. It manages to subvert expectations, whilst also providing a story that kids and adults alike can enjoy.
The songs stun, the visuals glisten and the gags just keep coming.
It lacks the rousing final musical number it probably needs, but Frozen is a film full of heart that definitely should not be given the cold shoulder.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.