Breaking Ice – a Review of Disney’s “Frozen”
- Runtime: 108 minutes
- Rating: Rated PG for some action and mild rude humor
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Brrrr… do you feel that? It may be the cold, frosty winds of Arendelle…which reminds me of a story of two sisters who ruled the land – one with ferocious ice magic, another with an unquenchable thirst for adventure all the while alongside a brave mountaineer and a talking snowman. Rumor has it though that there was an eternal winter that was draped upon the land that made everything so cold and FROZEN. Indeed that’s my cup of tea, so I was compelled to go to Arendelle (The Walt Disney Studios Lot) and see it with my own eyes. So strap on your winter coats because this is going to be one frosty sleigh ride of a tale (err…SPOILER-FREE movie review).
Walt Disney Animation Studios, the studio behind “Tangled” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” presents “Frozen,” a stunning big-screen comedy adventure. Fearless optimist Anna (voice of Kristen Bell) sets off on an epic journey—teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff (voice of Jonathan Groff) and his loyal reindeer Sven—to find her sister Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel), whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf (voice of Josh Gad), Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom.
1) I loved the music
Days before watching the movie, Jordie and I received the soundtrack for “Frozen” in the mail. Listening to the CD reminded me of original elements of classic Disney music: the moving underscores, the memorable melodies, the messages of love and magic…the list went on with every note. As we listened to the soundtrack in the car on our way to the media screening, I said to myself “They’ve done it again” and take into consideration that I was only LISTENING to the music from the film – totally blind to what would come when we actually watched the movie, but the blindness gave way to the perfect accompaniment to what was playing out on screen.
I think that makes a movie score worth listening to – if you can enjoy the movie’s sounds by itself. Every note was catchy AND purposeful. “For The First Time In Forever” gave us hope after a devastating beginning in the story and “Love Is An Open Door” moved us into a classic Disney love tale with a catchy beat mimicking a steady, fast heart beat as we really do experience love. It all had purpose and it all was memorable thanks to Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (from Broadway’s “Avenue Q”, “The Book of Mormon”) and our friend and “Paperman” composer Christophe Beck!
As for the people behind the tunes, we’re so happy to hear a little known talent for singing like Kristen Bell. She brings such a true princess voice to both her acting and her singing. The emotion is felt with every note she sings and we know that you’ll get those “feels” too when you listen to her in songs like “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?” Idina Menzel’s part in the musical scheme of things really didn’t feel right in some parts because it’s just very piercing at times…but we know that’s just her voice and she uses it perfectly in the “theme song” of the soundtrack called “Let It Go” (which Demi Lovato also performs in the included pop version).
The music was just so memorable that we even sang, hum, and even tapped to it during dinner after the screening. We know you’ll be doing the same thing too now that the soundtrack is available right now!
2) I loved the characters
The characters in ‘Frozen’ are awesome and worthy of being DISNEY characters. Why, you ask? I was absolutely enamored with them because they are characters worthy of telling a classic Disney story:
Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) was an amiable girl so lovely to watch on the big screen because she was funny, enthusiastic, adorable, and just had the most overwhelming curiosity about the world (that she wanted to know…sound familiar?). She also was pretty to look at even if she’s animated!
Elsa, Anna’s sister, (voiced by Idina Menzel) we find out has magical ice powers shooting out of the tips of her hands! Why? You’ll have to watch the movie to find out, but her superpower does drive the action throughout the film. Her persona of putting everyone else first makes her a good role model to follow as you’ll see too.
Kristoff (voiced by Jonathan Groff) is acts as the unlikely help that Anna finds on the quest to stop the eternal winter. He’s a brave mountaineer who is an expert in “breaking the ice” and talking to reindeer. Far from prince-like, but he certainly has the heart of one.
Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad) was a hoot and a howl and made laughter when laughter was need (and not needed). He was what completed the film I think because without him, the movie just wouldn’t have it’s charm. Watch for this snowman because he can make you laugh yourself so hard you’ll fall like snowflakes or melt your heart like when summer comes. Olaf is indeed a Disney character who will truly be memorable…because you’ll see him in World of Color – Winter Dreams too now!
All these characters come from totally different spectrums of life, yet each one comes together for a tale where they not only depend on each other, but give life to a story that’ll have you engaged with it as you follow along with them in their journey.
3) I loved the originality
I know that this movie may not pose as an original fairytale because there are kingdoms, princesses and princes. But believe me when I say that this is not just another princess/love/fantasy/Disney film! We won’t give anything away as this is indeed a SPOILER-FREE review, but we can tell you that it’ll contradict with the ideas most princess/love/fantasy/Disney stories hold. And that’s a good thing. It’s a great thing and makes why I love this particular Disney animated film so much. So, don’t be surprised when you’re caught by surprise with plot twists and character developments!
But for all you Disney purists out there, don’t fret – this film does indeed still end with “happily ever after” with a lot of odes to those classic Disney films of the past.
The Final Verdict
“Frozen” wasn’t on my radar after having been announced a few years ago, but I suppose I should stop doing that because with films having been made for 2+ years, they turn out to be so good and “Frozen” is very, very good. It’s one of those films that you can love because there’s stuff to love about it which I’ve named just a few here to get you in on what you should do this Thanksgiving after dinner on this cold winter’s night.
Disney’s newest animated film happens to come up the same time as it’s title suggest, but there’s so much more to the movie than it’s setting and when we all watch it! It’s a warm, family-friend, humorous, romantic tale that’ll warm you up like sitting by fire. It really breaks the ice on all levels and we’re so happy that it’s part of such a historic and what we hope is a never ending Disney story with every movie that the great storytellers at Disney Animation release.
Make it a point to watch Disney’s “Frozen” slides its way into theaters on Wednesday, November 27.
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Other things you should know
1) Be sure to stay after the credits for an extra chunk of icy film!
2) We really enjoyed the opening short that we told you about at the D23 Expo called “Get a Horse“ – a breakthrough short that combines classic Disney animation with today’s technology that tells a classic and funny Disney short story. We think it’s going to win an Oscar, so be sure to watch!
All reviews are made by Lance Cruzado, Walt Disney Studios writer for DisneyExaminer.com. All reviews are personal opinions and may not reflect the attitudes of other writers for DisneyExaminer.com unless stated otherwise.
These films have been screened prior to the release date for review purposes and therefore are viewed without charge by The Walt Disney Studios.