Disney’s new animated feature Frozen is SO GOOD, it almost makes me mad. I mean, if Disney can make a movie this good, why aren’t they all this good?
It’s been three years since I was truly enchanted by a new animated Disney release. That’s when Tangled came out, and with fun songs, great voice casting, and a solid story, it was a real treat. But then came films like Cars 2, Brave, Wreck It Ralph, and Planes – all movies that I personally found either underwhelming or flat-out annoying. The only spot that shined a little brighter than most was Monsters University, which I found mildly charming.
So it was with great anticipation – and the fear of being let-down again – that I went to a screening of Frozen this week.
I laughed a lot, cried a little, got goosebumps, and left the theater feeling elated. Frozen is a triumph.
About Disney’s Frozen
Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story “The Snow Queen,” Frozen tells the story of a fearless, yet optimistic princess who sets off on an epic journey alongside a rugged mountain man, his loyal reindeer, and a hapless snowman to find her sister, the Snow Queen, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.
What Makes Frozen So Special?
Sisters Anna and Elsa are the heart of Frozen. Yes, there are handsome men and funny sidekicks (oh, my goodness, Olaf the snowman is fabulous!!), but they are on the periphery of what is really a story about sisters. And not sisters who bicker or sisters who bite, but sisters who struggle to understand each other, to support and help each other, to reach out and rely on each other. It’s complicated, but it’s beautiful, and the story never belittles their relationship with cliches often reserved for female relationships (ie: anything about jealousy or vanity or fighting over a boy, etc).
The husband and wife team behind Broadway hits Avenue Q and Book of Mormon (both of which won Tony Awards for Best Original Score) wrote and composed the music for Frozen. The Broadway roots are everywhere in the movie, from the perky “Love Is an Open Door,” to the goofy “In Summer,” to the powerful “Let It Go,” Frozen gives us VIP access into each of these characters through song. For a Broadway fan like me, this was perfect, but I do wonder if some will be put off by the regular peppering of “now we stop and sing” moments. Hopefully the incredible vocal talents of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, and the rest of the cast will win them over.
The not-so-predictable story
Ok, some may call me simple here, but I honestly did not see some of the plot twists coming in Frozen. There are certainly several predictable mechanisms at work, but it was nice to be pleasantly surprised by a few turns. This is a spoiler-free zone, so that’s all I will say about that.
The Rating, Scare Factor, and Little Kids
Frozen should have been rated G (instead of PG, which is a mystery to me). There are a few intense scenes, but nothing too scary and certainly nothing evil in nature. There is no innuendo, potty humor, or crude/rude material. I sat next to a 3yo girl during the screening, and she managed the movie just fine. I would say that very young kids could watch and enjoy this movie, and older ones will laugh like crazy at Olaf and other very humorous scenes. Frozen is about as wholesome as wholesome can get.
I want to see Frozen 10 more times. Like, this week. It was gorgeous to watch (3D was nice, but should be considered optional), luscious to hear, and powerful to watch unfold. I love that there were no evil forces at work or truly villainous characters, but instead, a heartfelt examination of fears, family, longings, and love. Frozen is a great adventure and a welcome relief to a fan like me, who has been waiting for the next Disney movie to make her heart cheer.