Review: “Frozen” is a hilariously cute fairy tale

November 27th, 2013 at 7:01 am by under Entertainment
"Frozen" poster courtesy Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

“Frozen” poster courtesy Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

“Frozen” (2013)
Rated: PG for some action and mild rude humor
Runtime: 1 hour, 48 minutes
Genre: Animated/Adventure/Comedy

My spoiler-free review:

“Frozen” is a new adventure for little Disney Princesses and their parents.  Full of memorable characters, a good story, multiple musical numbers and some comic relief … its a movie the whole family can enjoy!  ”Frozen” is a lock to get an Oscar nomination… I give it 8.5 out of 10 … putting it in a tie with “Despicable Me 2″ for the best animated movie of the year!

Inspired by “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen, “Frozen” is the story of two sisters (Anna and Elsa), princesses in the fictional kingdom of Arendelle.  The theme that runs throughout the movie is despite how different they are and their childhood is, they still love each other even as they get older and grow farther apart.   Its an interesting formula that Disney has used recently: first “Brave” (2012) set in Scotland and now “Frozen” set in Norway with a Princess as the lead and heroine… we get the Northern European fairy tales and a new kind of Disney Princess… for a new generation… she doesn’t need rescuing, she does the rescuing!!!

The movie is very cute and very clever, even many of the musical numbers (at least 9 songs I counted) that will become singalong songs… which is okay, if you prefer your Disney movies with musical numbers… more like the 1990′s Disney movies.

The animation looks great and the memorable cast of characters are led by Anna and Elsa, but the supporting group of Kristoff, Sven, Olaf, the kingdom’s dignitaries, and a family of trolls really help flush out the cast.  The relationship of Kristoff and Sven is a little bit like Han and Chewbacca… where only Kristoff seems to be able to understand Sven but they are such close friends that it doesn’t seem too odd.  Olaf the snowman is the perfect comic relief character… goofy and cheery… with jokes that both kids and adults will get… he’s one of the best we’ve seen in awhile in a Disney movie.

With jokes for the adults and goofy fun for the kids all woven into a pretty intriguing storyline with a great group of characters… its an entertaining blend of comedy and adventure, but a somewhat standard ‘Disney Princess’ formula – putting “Frozen” right on the edge of becoming a new Disney classic.

But… they should have been clearer with the names of the main characters early on… halfway through the movie, I didn’t know Kristoff’s name and in the beginning I couldn’t tell if the one Princess’ name was Hannah or Anna, both problems could have been fixed by a name on their bedroom door, headboard, and/or another character saying their name.

And… at times its a little too whimsy and musical to be taken seriously, plus its Disney Princess formula makes its a little too  predictable, but it does grow on you.

Also… at a running time of nearly two hours, its a little long for the little ones… and for traditional animated feature formats.

*** “Frozen” is preceeded by a whimsical little animated short called “Get A Horse” that is an omage to all the goofy fun of the original Disney cartoons back in the day in black and white with 4×3 dimensions and the old school Disney characters… but modern day kids can enjoy it too!

MORE INFO (possible spoilers):

“Frozen” 

Voices of: Kristen Bell (Anna), Idina Menzel (Elsa), Jonathan Groff (Kristoff), Josh Gad (Olaf), Santino Fontana (Hans), Alan Tudyk (Duke of Weselton), Ciarán Hinds (Pabbie/Grandpa), Maia Wilson (Bulda), Edie McClurg (Gerda)

Director/Writer(s): Chris Buck ["Surf's Up" (2007), "Tarzan" (1999)] and Jennifer Lee [writer for "Wreck-It Ralph" (2012)]

The Plot: Fearless optimist Anna teams up with Kristoff in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions, and a hilarious snowman named Olaf in a race to find Anna’s sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.

So what did you think?  Please post a comment!

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