Three years removed from Tangled and Disney was in the start of the Revival era. After the underrated traditionally animated Winnie the Pooh and the hit-and-miss modest success of Wreck-It Ralph, the company was ready to release their next feature, sticking to the adjective/verb titles with Frozen. This film had an odd teaser trailer that showed nothing of the main characters and was only promoted musical toward the final months before release. No one knew how this movie would perform or be after Disney had tried to adapt The Snow Queen for years. Heck, even I kept trying to find info on when it would happen. Frozen released and became Disney’s biggest hit since The Lion King almost twenty years prior. It’s also no wonder why because, despite what the Internet backlash might have you believe, it’s a solid film that brought Disney back on the right track with their animation.
Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) are two sisters part of the royal family of Arendale. One day, Elsa accidentally smack the holy hell out of Anna with her ice powers, causing her parents to freak out and forced Elsa to wear gloves as she locks herself in her room. When an unfortunate tragedy happens to the king and queen, Elsa must inherit the throne as Queen and Anna is the typical princess looking for love in Hans (Santino Fontana). When Elsa cannot control her powers and is shunned, she leaves out into the kingdom to find her own place while Anna teams up with ice harvester Kristoff (Johnathan Groff), his trusty reindeer Sven and a funny yet naive snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad) to find her. Anna must find Elsa, bring the kingdom back from its frozen state and discover what exactly love means.
Frozen is one of the best Disney films of the Revival era with taking the tropes we loved about the Renaissance age of Disney and spinning them in different ways. Sure, it isn’t the first story to show love between sisters (Lilo & Stitch did that) or strong female characters (Mulan did the hell out of that), but it does show something about love the other films did not really show. Love is not just about the one, but rather, it’s a universal concept for having love for anyone. Here Anna struggles to find love in someone else with Hans, but after that is done away with and rather viciously too, she realizes she longs for the love of her sister rather than the love of another person. She also learns you cannot marry someone you just met without at least knowing them first, which is why by the film’s end, she is ready to date Kristoff and see where it goes. Elsa always closed love as an opton, never letting her sister in and never taking the time to be alongside her since they were kids. It’s a heartbreaking thing because the ice is not the only things she is concealing. This film is clever and deeper than just mutant ice powers.
The songs are spectacular. As of writing, I have a majority of the songs in my head and I have not heard a note. It has the upbeat wonder of “For the First Time in Forever,” the somber and cheery “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” and the popular burned to death number of “Let It Go.” Everyone is sick of it by now, but I still listen to it on occasion because Idina Menzel can sing her ass off. The characters are fun and creative with Gad being a comic relief that never gets annoying, Bell being an adorable awkward princess, Menzel giving life to Elsa’s struggle and Fontana being a wretched bastard of a villain. When his reveal happens in the movie, it makes those watching ready to call him every expletive in the book. It’s an absolute spectacle of animation and storytelling that is worthy of being called a classic in every sense of the word.
Critic’s Quote: “Frozen is a squarely enchanting fairy tale that shows you how the definition of what’s fresh in animation can shift.” – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly, November 26, 2013
Signature Moment: “Let It Go” shows the beauty of the animation, the gorgeous depth of the music and how far Disney has come in its nearly 80 year existence.