Frozen: Film Review

Elsa, Frozen
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures
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Once upon a time (like, late 2009), this movie was to be called The Snow Queen, based, as it is, on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale about love and loss. Upon that same time, it was to be a traditionally hand drawn animated film a la The Princess and the Frog, furthering Disney’s attempts to revive the Golden Age of Animation it oversaw in the 90s from The Little Mermaid thru Tarzan.

Alas, both accounts turned out not to be true. The film is 3D animated (you can charge $20 for the price of just one ticket, see) and apart from the coincidence of names and a lot of snow, there is very little it shares with Andersen’s original tale. That being said, this is one helluva crowd pleaser – and one that will bring critics, audiences and feminist tons to celebrate.

Disney has a reputation (perhaps deservedly so) for making too many of its female protagonists princesses. Why can’t normal, non-royals get their stories told by the Mouse House? (See: Lilo and Alice). Well, Disney succumbs to the fairy tale formula once again, but does so in such a revolutionary and post-feminist way that it hardly matters that the two female protagonists are princesses. They don’t make much mention of their royal heritage throughout, instead focusing on getting things done on their terms – and not for the usual reasons of romantic love or having to get married by a certain point in time. These girls – nay, women- are the real deal. In 3D.

The story is about two sisters named Elsa and Anna: Elsa possesses a dangerous power to turn everything into ice and after a terrible accident early in life she withdraws from society and becomes an isolated danger in self-imposed exile. Anna wants her sister back and goes to find her, though not before she meets a handsome prince . . . but romance takes a backseat when Anna realizes that her dude is cute, but her sister is, hey, her sister.

The film really takes off during its many gorgeous animated song sequences, penned by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (The Book of Mormon) who really dare to go where Alan Menken never tread. It’s a joyous, boisterous and still somehow serious film – one that harkens to the best of classic Disney and lays out a path for the future that’s to come. The season’s must-see and a surefire monster hit.