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Disney, the mega-juggernaut entertainment company has unleashed their latest animated movie, Frozen. This is their 53rd animated feature stretching back from the very first Disney animated movie release, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves way back in 1937. An impressive feat considering the 67 year age gap, with 53 animated films not counting all the Disney cartoons made prior or after the release of Snow White.
As an avid Disney fan and growing up on a staple of Disney animated movies (as most kids are), I, an adult woman in her 20s was as very eager and anticipating this new Disney release as much as had I still been a child. You gotta admit, Disney’s got some magic hold on us that even in adulthood; we still yearn for some good Disney movies. For most girls, that means Disney Princess movies. Having been impressed with the recent animated Disney movies that were produced such as The Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Brave (not so much) so two out of three isn’t bad, and comparable to classic Disney animated movies such as Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin among many others. I had heard great early reviews about Frozen coupled with the buzz surrounding the excitement of having TWO Disney Princesses in one movie. Sweet.
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Frozen introduces us to the tale of Anna (Kristen Bell) and her sister Elsa (Idina Menzel), two princesses who live specifically in a kingdom called Arendelle. Early on in their life, the two Princesses are cared for by their parents and as adults Elsa is crowned queen. Elsa, as a child possesses magical powers to control the frozen elements around her and while playing with her sister Anna, accidentally injures her. Thus, leading to damage control by her worried parents involving some form of Disney magic and a breakdown in the relationship between the two sisters. Go see the movie to see what I mean. In the midst of the girls growing up, we are treated to some traditional Disney musical performances. Surprise everyone, Kristen Bell has a fantastic singing voice which doesn’t come as a surprise when you realise she was discovered on Broadway before embarking on a screen acting career. These musical numbers, “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?” and “For the First Time in Forever”, while good don’t seem to match the oomph exhibited by previous Disney numbers such as say, “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast or “Colours of the Wind” from Pocahontas. Of course Idina Menzel is excellent in her singing considering her Broadway pedigree as is most of the supporting voice talent cast actually who are all Broadway vets.
A few years later, upon Elsa’s ascension to the throne, several misunderstandings lead Elsa to revealing her true abilities to the people of her kingdom. This of course shocks the kingdom who just can’t believe that their newly crowned queen is literally, an Ice Queen. Elsa flees into the mountains with her ice powers, away from the glare of her subjects, sister and repercussions. Of course, she gets to perform a rocking ballad while building her new ice castle, arguably the best song of the film, “Let It Go”. Meanwhile, Anna, who just as the entire kingdom is shell-shocked that big sis has icy powers, starts to piece together her childhood memories. Still equally protective and as any sister, concerned and worried about the whereabouts and state of her sister, decides to go out into the cold and bring her sister back. She does this while still dressed in the ball gown donned for her sister’s coronation. Atta girl. It should be noted that on Coronation Day, Anna has met Prince Hans from the Southern Isles and in the span of a day upon knowing him, agrees to his proposal of marriage. Therefore, she leaves her kingdom in the care of her fiancé while she looks for her sister.
On her journey to finding her sister, girl obviously needs some help in the search-and-rescue department. While all for girl power, imagine searching for your loved ones in cold and frozen temperatures with absolutely no clue as to how exactly where or when to get there? While exchanging her ballroom kit for more appropriate safety gear at a lodge, Anna stumbles into mountain man Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his loyal reindeer Sven. Realising that he’s a seasoned mountaineer, she hires him as a guide to help her in the search for her sister. Reluctant at first (it is night time and the man’s got to sleep) he finally agrees after Anna tempts him with some big, fat money and the promise of a brand new sleigh.
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Now, as in any good Disney movie, you have to have some form of a Disney sidekick. Watching Anna, Kristoff, and Sven go off to search for Elsa is all intriguing, and VERY SERIOUS. There has to be some funny moments thrown in and this is the part where Olaf comes in. Olaf (Josh Gad) is a snowman somehow accidentally created by Elsa while on the run. Olaf is a remnant from both Elsa and Anna’s childhood as he was the snowman that they used to make as children. Olaf is the classic epitome of a Disney sidekick joining the likes of previous Disney sidekicks such as Sebastian in The Little Mermaid, Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast, and Iago from Aladdin among many others. I cite classic Disney sidekicks as they’re more memorable unlike recent modern Disney flicks where I just can’t recall any. He’s there to be the comic relief in the movie otherwise the movie would be extremely drag-gy and very serious in tone. Josh Gad is extremely entertaining voicing Olaf making his character extremely likeable as well as appealing, especially to children. It is a Disney flick after all.
The best part about this new Disney offering is that there are no clear-cut villains. Well, maybe there is but, no spoilers, he is quite a predictable baddie if you really watch the movie and is less of a threat than the traditional Disney villain. Basically, the villains that have to be battled are the challengers faced by the two Princess Sisters themselves in order for them to rediscover their sisterly love.
The two lead actresses, Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel do a fantastic job voicing their characters as are the supporting cast in the form of Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad. The songs, though not as memorable as past Disney songs, are good especially the aforementioned standout, “Let It Go”. Overall, Frozen is a perfect addition to the Disney stables, a very modern Disney animated flick that will be enjoyed through the ages.