If you, like me, have an affinity for nostalgia, you should see Frozen. If you, like me, have an unashamed and unflinching love of (almost) everything Disney, you should see Frozen. If you have a soul, you should see Frozen. I could stop there, but then I wouldn’t be able to go on a Disney themed rant about how adorably awesome this movie was, and where’s the fun in that?
I’m a firm believer in the fact that Disney movies aren’t just for kids. This has become especially true since they have stepped into this century and have stopped making their female characters sad excuses for human beings that have no other purpose in life than mating and looking pretty while finding their true love to teach young girls that giving up all personal agency is the only road to true love (I never said my love of Disney was without its complications). Blegh. But also, my love of the classics is as eternal as their happily-ever-afters. However, since the dawn of Shrek (I know, I know, not Disney but still) and Tangled and Enchanted, the ladies have been kicking ass and their romantic story arcs have become less and less of a focus leaving room for a more well-rounded story. I’m happy to report that Frozen follows these other films into the realm of modernity while still maintaining the whimsical world of a non-specific moment in time in a place called Arendelle. And that is where Frozen begins.
The introductory song harkened back to a more traditional Disney movie, where it does less to introduce the story than to give us a sense of place, and this was where the 3D really shined. But it also produced a great working song, which is definitely not new for Disney (see Pocahontas) but underused and underrated nowadays. It gets at the heart of a mythical place, where princesses can have inexplicable and unexplained magical powers that the audience accepts without question and with open arms. The premise of Frozen isn’t really anything revolutionary: it’s about a pair of sisters, Anna (voiced by Kristin Bell) who is optimistic, bubbly, and has a way with animals—your basic heroine archetype—and Elsa (played by the golden-voiced Idina Menzel) who has a mysterious magical power that produces wintery effects. The same day that Elsa is set to ascend to the throne, the powers she has tried to keep secret all her life, even from Anna, are exposed and cause an eternal winter in Arendelle. Ice castles, adventure, and singing ensue as Anna tries to clear her sister’s name and bring Elsa and normal weather back to the kingdom.
I’m not usually a huge fan of 3D movies, a lot of the time it just feels forced and all the “hey look, technology!” but Frozen used it in such a way where it really helped to bring you into the world. The animation and cinematography was absolutely stunning, and the icy snowy wonderland that the characters are traveling through Sounded/felt more like a Broadway musical in the best way possible, which makes sense since the songs were by the same guy who wrote for “The Book of Mormon” and “Avenue Q.” It made the story more elevated, while still giving the audience the traditional “we’re so in love after meeting each other 5 minutes ago!” song that we have come to expect from Disney… but with a mocking tone that we expect as well. Frozen also strays from convention in introducing two love interests for Anna, where the prince is the wrong guy for her (which we find out in a hilariously brutal way) and an adopted-by-trolls ice salesman is her true love. This is definitely something new for Disney. Another thing that surprised me was how the main love story was between the sisters instead of the princess and her “prince.” The entire driving force of the story came from Anna seeking to understand Elsa and to show her the acceptance and love necessary to bring her back to Arendelle while wanting the same in return. I don’t want to give away the ending, but the “act of true love” necessary to save Anna’s life comes from an unlikely place that solidified a change in the narrative of an otherwise conventional Disney film. And it was just as sweet as ever.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie all the way through, and a smile was permanently FROZEN on my face (you knew it was coming, settle down). The charming romance, hilariously adorable snowman Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad) who likes warm hugs (actual quote), and the great message is truly something for all ages. If you want something to lighten things up this Thanksgiving, I would absolutely recommend seeing Disney’s latest. Frozen is sure to warm your heart.
Okay, no more puns. Just see it.