Taking a new approach, the Disney animated film, Frozen, is a loose adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story, “The Snow Queen.”
Now, the Snow Queen is transformed into a modern fairy tale character as the older sister, Princess Elsa, voiced by Idina Menzel. Meanwhile, the youngest sister, Princess Anna, who is voiced by Kristen Bell, is loosely based on Gerda, the heroine of the short story.
The sisters grow apart after Elsa accidentally harms Anna with her ability to create snow. Anna is cured but no longer can recollect what happened or Elsa’s ability.
In order to prevent any further harm, the gates of the palace are closed, and Elsa distances herself from her sister.
After being locked, the gates must be opened in order to celebrate Elsa’s coronation.
Anna is happy with her new found liberty, and after meeting a visiting prince named Hans, voiced by Santino Fontana, she tells Elsa she plans to marry him.
Elsa is enraged and accidentally reveals her power, inadvertently freezing up the kingdom of Arendelle while escaping and submitting herself to exile.
Now, it is up to Anna to find her sister to restore the kingdom to its sunny state. Along the way, she meets an ice salesman, Kristoff, voiced by Jonathan Graff, his reindeer named Sven and a talking snowman, voiced by Josh Gad, who is in love with the idea of summer.
Frozen sends a positive message of sisterly love and may even have the force of bringing feelings of sisterhood. It has eye-captivating animation and beautiful music, written by the husband-and-wife team of Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.
One reason the film is a must-see is songs such as “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” which shows the relationship of both sisters drifting apart, and the power ballad, “Let It Go,” where Elsa finally embraces her true nature after she casts herself into isolation.
Even though Menzel’s mature voice is obvious in the film as she portrays the young Elsa, her Broadway experience enhances the power of the song, “Let It Go,” which already has reached more than 120 million views on YouTube and won an academy award Sunday for Best Original Song.
Bell’s song, “For the First Time in Forever” allows one to connect with Anna and feel bliss for her as she has a chance to go past the gates of the palace.
Christophe Beck, who had worked on the award-winning short Paperman, composed the orchestral score for the film.
The strong animation does not lag behind. One good example is the various ways Elsa manipulates the snow, making it look natural and beautiful as well as dangerous.
The film cannot sustain itself with only strong music and animation. It lacks an important aspect: story development.
It seems the filmmakers rushed at the end in order to get the problem solved, similar to when a light goes off in someone’s head and then a voice says, “Oh, that’s how you fix the problem; OK, done.”
Another important steppingstone is the character development throughout the film. Although the feminine character development is strong, the same level was not reached with the male character development. It leaves many questions after the plot twist ending.
Only after watching the film a second time can the viewer catch faint hints of foreshadowing.
As for it being a Disney classic, it is heading in the right direction, and it will be a film one will go back to watch.