Frozen will sweep you up and drop you into an icebound land of shimmering snow. Beware of a jaunty snowman with a quirky fetish and buckle up for staggering turning points and an ending you don’t in the least expect.
But don’t hold your breath too much…
Frozen is a Disney computer animation directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee. It is set in a mythical Scandinavian-like kingdom of Arendelle and revolves around a complicated relationship of two sister princesses Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell). Elsa, the elderly one, is endowed with magical powers she can’t control. On the day of her coronation her powers get out hand and, completely mortified, she runs away into the woods, accidentally whipping up a snow blizzard and covering the whole kingdom in a perpetual winter. Anna embarks on a quest to bring both her beloved sister and summer back to Arendelle. On her way, she enlists the help of a slightly aloof but earnest ice seller Kristoff (Johnathan Groff) together with his carrot-loving sidekick reindeer Sven. They are joined by the slightly nutty but warm-hearted (sic!) snowman Olaf (Josh Gad). Of course, there’s also the perfect (but not quite) Prince Charming Hans (Santino Fontana).
Frozen has all you would expect from a Disney animation: an emotional story, witty gags and tuneful songs (written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez). The film’s great strength lies in beautifully crafted and breathtaking visuals. The characters are multi-dimensional, with their little foibles and insecurities. Especially endearing is the snowman Olaf, whose morbid fascination with the sun makes him both so hilarious and so poignant. What also makes Frozen a cut above other animations is the plot. It’s engaging, well-written and, most of all, it’ll bring a few surprised gasps from you. In the market glutted with mediocre animations Frozen seems to be perfect. Which is also its weakest point…
Striving for perfection, it stifles its own potential to go beyond fine craftsmanship. It stays within Disney’s comfort zone. The songs, though easy on the ear, don’t strike any deeper chords with me. And at their emotional peaks they border on the mawkishness of High-School Musical. The female characters, as psychologically multifarious as they are, they look like Barbie dolls with waists the diameter of a pencil. And what tips the scales is Elsa when, singing her emancipatory ballad ‘Let it Go’, she comes out on her balcony swaying her hips like a model on the catwalk. Way too MTVish and too stereotypical for me!
So, although it didn’t thaw all the ice shards in my heart and could definitely do with more flair, Frozen is worth your attention. It reminds us that distance makes the heart grow colder. And the way to crack that ice is to open ourselves up to others.
No matter how awkward they are.