Disney Does it Again - Doubly - with Frozen
- Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Release Date: November 27, 2013
Rating: PG (some action and mild rude humor)
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Run Time:108 minutes
Directors: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Cast: Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana
Hans Christian Andersen’s story of “The Snow Queen” comes to life in a modern retelling that will have families laughing and singing this holiday season. Building on the 'more than a pretty little princess' theme highlighted in last year's Brave, Frozen features not one but two strong-minded royal lasses (that's right, parents: two princess costumes to add to the request list this year).
Playful, warm-hearted, slightly klutzy Anna (Kristen Bell, You Again) and her older sister Elsa (Idina Menzel, Enchanted) are the best of friends and playmates. Their favorite pastime is playing in snow that Elsa has the magical ability to create, meaning a winter wonderland is always an option, anywhere. But as all fairy-tale fans know, power comes with a price. When Elsa's gift puts Anna in danger, she hides herself and her powers away to avoid hurting anyone ever again. Like that’s going to work; all Elsa does is wound her little sister who can't understand why she's been shut out.
When the day comes for Elsa's coronation, the terrified "ice princess" has to come out of hiding to take the throne. It all goes fairly well until a sisterly squabble sets off Elsa's repressed powers and before you can say "cold front" the entire kingdom is covered in ice. Disgraced and denounced, Elsa heads for the hills and it's up to Anna to sort things out. Leaving the kingdom under the management of the dashing and helpful Prince Hans (Santino Fontana), Anna sets off to set things right. It won’t be easy, but fortunately she’ll have the assistance of ice salesman Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his cuddly reindeer Sven, and the world's most adorable living snowman Olaf (Josh Gad, Jobs). (Hint: if you see an Olaf stuffed toy, don’t even try to fight the urge to buy it. You’re going to want to keep this little guy around. Even your kids might want one...).
Music is a given in a Disney film but this one is an outright musical with Broadway-quality (and no doubt Broadway-bound) numbers. The opening number felt more Lion King than Scandanavian winter holiday, but it works. The songs by Robert Lopez and his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez come in a variety of styles from pop tunes to a power ballad with a country flair to a Sinatra-esque fantasy that includes a choreographic nod to Dick Van Dyke's penguin dance in Mary Poppins. There's even a duet reminiscent of Wicked, and not just because Menzel is singing. But it's the plaintive "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" that will tug at your heartstrings. Yes, that is Kristen Bell singing. All the actors sing their own songs and (unlike some recent movie musicals) they sing very well.
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