Disney animation studios – as a film making unit – is going through somewhat of a resurgence of late, capitalising their craft to such a level that once again domination of their sector of the industry – and through this the animation sub catergory – is well within their grasp. However, like many of the films that have come prior to this release, ‘Frozen’ follows somewhat as a spiritual successor to the previous two films from the company. Where ‘Aladdin’ and ‘The Lion King’ seemingly only progressed upon the already established staples of the late 1980’s early 90’s Disney films ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’, with adding sheer quality and progressing the media with similar styling and tones, ‘Frozen’ can easily be seen as something very similar to the acclaimed ‘Tangled’ and ‘Wreck-it-Ralph’, which is no bad thing when taken into account the strength that the studio showed on those previous releases. Where the issue – and purpose of this point being brought up occurs however, is through all its similarities to the two films, ‘Frozen’ struggles to find its own identity. Quality over originality, the film will still captivate audiences with its scenes of magic, and engrossing as well as developed character relationships – something that throughout their time within the public eye Disney has always been good at delivering.
With many years of stuttered development from within the production studio, finally a film has been produced by Disney that is based upon the Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tale ‘The Snow Queen’. Altered to fit into the current filmic market place – and given a name that does not hold any character affliction (much like the aforementioned ‘Tangled) – ‘Frozen’ is a highly enjoyable animated venture from which adults – and their children – can delve into easily. Having been in various stages of development for over 20 years, no doubt the plot has been altered so as to merge somewhat into a typical disney styling of the modern era. One of the last fairytales to be adapted into an animated feature film, it is only fitting to find the latest release being as festive and fun as those films that have come before. A worthwhile adaptation, that keeps the charm of the original plot, ‘Frozen’ is a fun film for people of all ages.
Following in the footsteps of their previously produced animated fairy tales, Walt Disney Animation studios – from which this film is the 52nd in their canon – has taken complete poetic licensing towards the original ‘Snow Queen’ storyline upon which ‘Frozen’ is mostly based. Carrying a starkly different tone than the slightly adult narrative of the original story, ‘Frozen’ is obviously been altered to cater more towards the younger demographic within the audience, upon which the studio so desperately craves. Introducing additions to the originals principle cast, that includes an anthropomorphic summer craving snowman and a voiceless yet semi canine attributed Reindeer, the film is goofy whilst not being deemed overly stupid with its quirky script and juvenile gags.
It is the power that Disney has placed within the musical numbers of this film, that ‘Frozen’ manages to mature its own screenplay to such a level that adult audiences can still find engrossment with the slightly loose plot threads that the film carries. ‘Let it be’ is the most powerful off the new songs that feature, expertly put forward by the equally powerful musical theatre actress Idina Menzel – a broadway alumni – during the films turning point. Shifting the theme from magical mystery to sisters finding their own identity amongst the world, this song marks the film transition with a strong presence that is equal too many of the studios back catalogue pictures and their own standout musical moments. By merging Broadway into a cartoon, Disney -much like they did in previously – manages to squeeze more out of its production than what other animation studios usually achieve.
Simple yet effective, the films plot conveys a rather fetching – and festive – narrative in such a way that young audience members can still grasp the majority of the films major plot points easily. Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) are two Norwegian princess that share a secret, that being the uncontrolled power that Elsa has in creating ice forms from within her body. When an accident occurs during their childhood however, Anna is forced to forget the knowledge of this power and is put aside from her sister by their father – in hopes of keeping it secret from everyone around them. Forced to keep all doors closed, the two girls live in solitude from each other and as such tensions arise to the unknown reason for which Anna believes this too be. However, upon the coronation of Elsa, this tension is brought to the forefront with devastating results that leave the young queen no choice but to leave the palace, whilst leaving their town within an eternal winter cycle. Desperate to make amends for her mistake, as well as patch back together her troubled sisters relationship – as well as impress the dreamy yet devious Prince Hans with whom she wants to wed – Anna leaves the safety of her castle in hopes of altering her towns well being and saving her sister from the stigma of which she is set to receive.
Teaming with an Ice salesman Kristoff (Jonathan Gruff) and his pet reindeer Sven upon her travels, Anna travels towards the mountain upon which Elsa hides, in hopes of showcasing the love that she holds for her sister. On the journey the group encounters many incidents including a colossal ice yeti, a pack of wolves and a rather odd companion – in the aforementioned summer loving snowman, Olaf (Josh Gad, in scene stealing form) whom the films most comedic moments follow.
As Disney story-lines go, ‘Frozen’ has a magical and meaningful message that resonates throughout. However, the film could be seems as somewhat loose in places – but is saved by moments of sheer quality by those responsible for its making. For every major set piece that the storyline delivers, the film has moments that lack the quality that it so nearly presents throughout its entire duration. It is within these moments that ‘Frozen’ as a movie production falters – giving over a slightly disappointing conclusion to an expertly crafted children’s movie once the credits roll.
The voice cast and presentation of this production is off an extremely high quality throughout. With enough twists turns and moments of cinematic magic for its audience to always become engrossed, the film manages to deliver upon the fairy tale of which the storyline is based well. However, coming after the critically acclaimed ‘Tangled’ upon which the Disney resurgence began, ‘Frozen’ struggles to create an entirely owned styling and as such seems somewhat of a copycat production instead of an original idea. This is a small niggle to a great animated picture, and in a world that mainly comprises of most new releases being sequels and reboots, the notion of a semi original narrative- in principle anyway – may give over enough to the idea of ‘Frozen’ being a worthy watch for movie goers worldwide. Which off course the Disney found quality within assures.
Plot – 4
Voice Over – 4
Direction – 3
Special Effects – 4
Retrospect – 3
Overall – B