Monday, December 16, 2013

Movie with Abe: Frozen

Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Released November 27, 2013

Disney makes a lot of movies, and when it comes down to it, animation is the studio’s specialty. The fifty-third Walt Disney Animation Studios film is “Frozen,” a musical about a princess who can’t help but freeze whatever she touches, and whose younger sister must figure out a way to save their town when she accidentally turns winter into summer. Like the many films that came before, including recent hits “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Tangled,” and “The Princess and the Frog,” this is a stirring, wonderful success that’s fun for all ages.

As is standard for Disney animated films, everything starts idyllically with a happy family, in this case the king, the queens, and their two daughters. Young Anna excitedly wakes up her sister Anna and begs her to come play in a large ballroom of the castle and use her magical gift to create snow. When Anna takes a fall, her parents must bring her to a group of friendly trolls, who heal her but erase all of her memories of Elsa’s powers. To protect her sister from her uncontrollable powers, Elsa isolates herself, and when their parents are tragically killed at sea, the two princesses become increasingly lonely, until Elsa reaches coronation age and they are both exposed to the outside world.

This film has all the recipes of a classic animated film yet still feels marvelously fresh. As soon as the castle gates open, Anna meets a charming prince named Hans and falls instantly in love, and when she races after her sister, she is saddled with a more curmudgeonly companion, ice seller Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven. The standout character of the film is snowman Olaf, who dreams of experiencing being a snowman in the summer and rivals the Genie, Donkey, and Dory for the funniest animated sidekick seen on film. All of the film’s personalities are a lot of fun.

The film’s voice cast is exceptional, and a fantastic combination of acting and musical talents are used. Kristen Bell is exceptional as the excitable Anna, and Idina Menzel is a perfect choice to play Elsa, as demonstrated when she sings the film’s Golden Globe-nominated song “Let It Go.” Jonathan Groff is a great Kristoff, and Josh Gad steals the show as Olaf. The film’s songs are catchy and strong, and this ranks as a very memorable and enjoyable entry in Disney’s cannon.


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