MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Photo By Walt Disney Pictures
Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee. Animated Feature
If there’s one thing the Disney animators know about, its princesses. No fewer than ten films have featured princesses and, with Frozen, that count is up to a dozen, for this movie has two!
Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristin Bell) are daughters of the king and queen of Arendelle and enjoy making snowmen and playing in the many rooms of the palace. Unbeknownst to Anna, her big sister is living with a big problem: If her hands are not covered with gloves, everything she touches turns to ice; she’s the King Midas of cool. (At one point, her power almost takes the life of her sister.) To keep the girls safe, their parents lock them in the castle. And, if that weren’t enough, the king and queen lose their lives on a sea voyage and the girls are left to grow up on their own.
That’s a lot of back-story to handle before the plot really kicks into gear, and it makes the first 15 minutes or so fairly exhausting; I found the movie (pun intended) hard to warm up to.
There’s another plot twist in which Elsa (in a fit of adolescent rage) turns Arendelle into an ice palace and heads for the hills. That’s when Anna, ever hopeful, vows to find her sister and make things right again. She teams up with Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), a fun-loving ice dealer, his trusty reindeer Sven, and a funny talking snowman sidekick named Olaf (Josh Gad).
Frozen is a lot of fun and a nice way to spend an afternoon with the family, but the film is fairly uninspired when it comes to its story. In most fairy tales the destructive power of turning things to permafrost would be the result of a curse, but there’s none of that – it just is. The whole concept of the talking snowman is handled in a matter-of-fact way as well and the songs – with one exception – are very tuneful but unremarkable.
Frozen is inspired by Hans Christen Anderson’s “The Snow Queen”, but chooses a gentler, hipper way to tell its story. The animation (with the exception of typically bland human characters) is beautiful and the details of the castle and the beauty of snow are well worth seeing on the big screen.
The film is eventually a story about love and family – both good things – so you leave the theater with warm thoughts and a couple of tunes you just can’t quite remember. But don’t worry – your little princess will grab your hand and ask you to see Frozen again. And again. And order the DVD. Until the next Disney princess comes along. And she will.
Four halos: An entertaining fairy tale with predictable but positive values.
One pitchfork: The sudden off-screen death of parents may be upsetting to little kids, but it’s done so quickly, they probably won’t even notice.
Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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