About this time every year, all the good movies flood theatres after the long summer and fall drought. After months of not wanting to see anything, my list now seems infinite—Saving Mr. Banks, The Hobbit, The Wolf of Wall Street, Catching Fire, August: Osage County, American Hustle. Disney’s latest animated feature, Frozen, was not on my list. Don’t get me wrong, I love animation, but after Brave (which lacked depth and continuity), I thought Frozen would be a renter. However, I leaped at the chance to see it when my sister said it would be her treat.
Let me cut to the chase—If Frozen is not on the top of your list, it should be. Run, don’t walk, to see it. Why?
The artistry of 2D hand-drawn animation comes to 3D CGI through every light reflecting ice fractal. Original songs composed by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez are quirky and soulful, straying from Disney’s usual cliché formula (sorry Alan Menken). Idina Menzel (Wicked, Enchanted) is the voice of the Snow Queen. Though her name should speak for itself, I will add that no Disney heroine before this has sounded as powerful or poignant. The talents of Kristen Bell (who knew she had a stellar singing voice?), Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, and Santino Fontana round out the rest of the exceptional cast.
While 2012’s Brave attempted to set a new standard of Disney Princess, Frozen actually accomplishes this goal. Without beating us over the head with a wild and free feminist stereotype, Frozen introduces two unique and equally strong young women who explore issues of identity, relationships, and sisterhood, and redefine true love in the process. For the first time in forever (maybe ever?), Disney has created a fairytale that deals with very real issues in heartbreaking and heartwarming ways.
Other firsts worth celebrating include a non-villainous Queen with more than two or three lines, a kingdom that’s governed solely by women, and a story where no one ends up engaged or married—and it’s ok! This is also the first Disney animated feature with a female director. Jennifer Lee co-directed and wrote the screenplay. Both Lee and Chris Buck wanted the film to be “timeless and timely.”* With a consistent plot peppered with humor and important themes, Frozen achieves just that.