Overall Disney Mama’s Rating:
As a young girl I grew up with Ariel, Belle and Jasmine. The Disney Princess films of 1989-the mid 1990’s were a defining characteristic of my childhood. I distinctly remember calling the radio station and requesting A Whole New World with my finger on the record button of my tape player over and over again in hopes that they actually play the song. Disney Musicals were my life.
Disney musicals inspired me, the gave me hope, and they taught me about life.
So, when I was given the opportunity to see an advanced screening of Frozen, Disney’s latest animated musical I absolutely couldn’t pass it up.
Based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale, The Snow Queen, Frozen is a story of growing up, acceptance and unconditional love. And it was a beautiful story.
I don’t want to give away a lot of the plot; I can’t stand reviews that do that, so I promise no spoilers.
As is the case with many Disney animated films, the story begins during the childhood of the main characters. The audience is introduced to Anna and Elsa, young princesses in the kingdom of Arendelle, and their parents. Anna and Elsa are best friends, until an accident changes their relationship, and when the girls are thrust into the public spotlight for Elsa’s coronation as Queen their world changes once again, and Arendelle is unwittingly pitched into an eternal winter.
At its heart, Frozen is a story of heartache, loneliness, and fear, yet also one of love, family and optimism. Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) is a bright, energetic and eternally optimistic young woman who longs to discover what the world has to offer, while Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) is fearful and withdrawn, knowing that losing her self-control and composure can jeopardize those she loves. Ultimately the girls must discover how they can work together to save their beloved kingdom.
Joining Anna and Elsa on their journey are a mirage of Disney characters.
Olaf, (voiced by Josh Gad), is a loveable snowman, who is as much like Jiminy Cricket as any character I’ve ever come across in a Disney film. He teaches the girls what love is, and he does so with a heart that is as warm as he is cold. I loved him for his lessons about life and love. My son loved him simply because he was adorably funny.
Kristoff (voiced by Jonathan Groff), and his pet reindeer/best friend, Sven, team up with Anna to help her find her sister. Despite the difficulties they face, they both know that giving up on Anna or Elsa is the wrong thing to do. Goofy, smart and loyal, Kristoff and Sven are an unbeatable team, and one any girl would want on their side.
Hans (voiced by Santino Fontana) is a young prince from a nearby kingdom. Come to Arendelle for the coronation of Queen Elsa, Anna relies on him to watch over the kingdom while she goes in search of her runaway sister.
Other characters include: The Duke of Weselton, a band of magical trolls, an abominable snowman, and a kingdom full of villagers.
Most of the music in Frozen is performed by Anna and Elsa, which Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel deliver solidly, as one might expect, and has a bit more of a Broadway feel to it than most other Disney musicals. I’d even venture a guess that the husband-wife songwriting team of Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and star vehicle Menzel were chosen for that very reason. Songs portray a vary of emotions and styles, from hauntingly beautiful to down-right silly, and my 4-year old walked away singing Let It Go at the top of his little lungs. Myself, I’ve spent much of today singing bits of Do You Want to Build a Snowman. The soundtrack is definitely on my “must-buy” list.
Visually, Frozen is stunning. With beautiful snow-capped scenery, grand castles, and an ice-castle that will take your breath away. It was just as beautiful as Tangled and Beauty & the Beast, which I consider to be among Disney’s most beautiful animated features. And, while I’m typically not one to shell out the extra money to see a film in 3-D, I think this one is worth the up charge. The formation of the ice and the snowflakes throughout the film really “pop” with the 3-D element, and only add to the overall visual appeal.
Frozen is the perfect family film, and the timing of its release works well with the spirit of the holidays. The plot is endearing and has a strong message. It shows how love, understanding and patience are necessary parts of life, and how those that are different than what is considered to be “normal” are still valuable and important, and that we need to work to understand them rather than ostracize them from our society. The characters show compassion and dedication to each other, and the more villainous characters are dealt with in a way befitting of the overall theme of the story.
Recommended Age ~ Appropriate for all audiences.
A couple of additional notes: The Mickey Mouse short, Get a Horse, prior to the film is worth being there on time. Taken from a long lost, and not quite finished original animated film the crew at Disney has filed in the gaps and created a short that is truly unique. Plus, Mickey is voiced by none other than Walt Disney. And, be sure to stay through the credits for a little bonus scene.
Length of Production: At just over an hour and a half the film is a great length for all audiences. My 4-year old sat still through the entire thing, and really, what better judge is there than that?
Child Friendliness: There are a couple of intense scenes, but they aren’t exactly scary, and all are quite short. The one that surprised me is the very, very opening action. It isn’t scary, it isn’t intense, but it caused me and my little guy to jump a bit. Just expect the film to start quite abruptly.
Olaf does make numerous references to his “butt” it is never in poor taste or potty humor, but in reference to the lower snowball of his body, (for instance when it goes sailing past him there might be a “there goes my butt” comment).
Parent Friendliness: Frozen was enjoyable for everyone, and has the typical sprinkling of more adult humor that is so often represented in Disney animation. The film is fast-paced and keeps you involved, and it is easy to relate to the characters.
Value: The cost of a movie ticket, not to mention concessions make value a tricky thing to measure. However, this is a film that will give you something to talk to your kids about, and that is probably the most valuable aspect of it. And as I mentioned before I recommend paying the up charge to see the film in 3-D.