By Jennifer Ferd ‘15
Just in time for the snowman-building season, Disney’s 3-D animated film, Frozen, will bring out the kid in you as you take a musical adventure through the icy kingdom of an everlasting winter wonderland.
Frozen, which first premiered in theaters on November 27, has been a big hit worldwide, making it the second highest-grossing animated film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, behind only The Lion King. The film won five Annie Awards, an Academy Award, and two Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Animated feature and best Original Song of “Let It Go.” It is also the first Walt Disney Animation Studios film to win a Golden Globe for the category of Best Animated Feature. Following the tradition of other hit Disney animated musicals, Frozen: The Musical will soon be a must-see Broadway show.
Taking place in the Norwegian kingdom of Arendelle, two sisters live in the royal palace, and the oldest, Elsa, voiced by Broadway veteran Idina Menzel, beholds a hidden power at her fingertips that allows her to transform everything into snow and ice. After a near-death accident with younger sister, Anna, the King and Queen of the kingdom isolate Elsa from any connection to the outside world, for fear that she may cause more harm if she does not learn to control her powers. During Elsa’s eighteenth birthday and coronation, the story takes a turn for the worst; Elsa and Anna, voiced by Kristen Bell, get into a fight when Anna gets engaged to Hans, a stranger she only met a few minutes ago. As Princess Elsa’s anger boils, her powers spiral out of her control and a raging blizzard dawns over Arendelle as Elsa flees the kingdom, setting off an eternal winter. Anna embarks on a frigid journey up to the North Mountain to retrieve her sister from her icy kingdom of isolation and bring back the summer.
One of the characters along the way, Olaf, voiced by Josh Gad, was a whimsical and hilarious snowman brought to life by Elsa’s magic. Aside from the goofy appearance of his crooked carrot-nose and disproportionate body, Olaf’s icy outer core covered the loving and childlike innocence of his personality. In his musical number, “In Summer,” he fantasized about seeing the sun beating down on him in warm weather, completely unaware of the consequences for a snowman in heat. The crowd erupted into laughter as Olaf sang, “put me in summer and I’ll be a happy snowman,” while he paused in front of a puddle. Anna also encountered a rugged mountain man named Kristoff, voiced by Glee’s Jonathan Groff, and his reindeer, Sven. The audience chuckled when Kristoff pretended to have a conversation with Sven, but instead created voice-overs to speak for Sven, while he sang, “People Are Better Than Reindeers.”
The animation used in the film closely resembled that of Tangled, another Disney animated film. The animators blended computer-generated images with the traditional hand-drawn animation. They also used the landscape of Norway and the feel of the winter season in Wyoming for inspiration. The three-dimensional style adds to the pearly effect of the ice and snow. The story line was loosely modeled off Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale The Snow Queen.
Despite catchy musical numbers and lovable characters in the film, it gives off a powerful message to its viewers. The movie’s musical hit, “let it Go,” sung by Elsa, is empowering and female-positive. Elsa sheds her skin and becomes comfortable with her powers and the icy world that she’s able to create for herself. She’s even emboldened enough to build herself a crystallized ice palace and a new wardrobe fit for an Ice Queen. The bond between family is also emphasized when Anna’s frozen heart can only be thawed with true love. The true love proves to be coming from, not the expected Hans, but her own sister, Elsa.
Frozen will captivate your attention until the end. Filled with catchy songs and lovable characters, you’ll find yourself singing along and smiling until Arendelle’s frigid wintery curse is reversed.