Yes, I’ll admit that by now, I’m probably one of the last people to watch the movie “Frozen.” 😉 Disney’s latest animated musical, released in theaters in late November, became a surprise box office hit, only the second animated movie in Hollywood’s history to cross the $1 billion mark at the international box office. Strong word-of-mouth kept the movie in the weekly box office top 10 for weeks (in fact, it’s STILL in the top 10), and the movie is now out on DVD.
“Frozen” is about two sisters named Elsa and Anna who are princesses in an imaginary Norwegian-like kingdom known as Arendelle. Elsa, the oldest, has magical powers that allow her to conjure snow and ice. Although she doesn’t want to use her powers for evil, she finds her abilities difficult to control, and she eventually banishes herself from the kingdom to prevent her from hurting people. In the process, she ends up plunging the kingdom into an eternal winter.
Heartbroken but determined, Anna sets off after her sister, enlisting the (somewhat reluctant) help of an ice harvester named Kristoff. However, Elsa doesn’t want to be rescued, believing her self-imposed exile is the only way to keep the kingdom safe, and she accidentally places a curse on her sister. The sisters will ultimately have to work together to save each other and the kingdom.
While I didn’t enjoy “Frozen” quite as much as Disney’s similarly-styled animated musical “Tangled” and it doesn’t rise to quite the same heights as Disney classics such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Little Mermaid,” it’s impossible to resist “Frozen’s” charm and catchy songs. Some of the stand out tunes include “Let It Go,” a ballad that shows off the powerhouse vocals of Idina Menzel, star of the musical “Wicked,” and “In Summer,” a song about a snowman named Olaf who dreams of frolicking in the summertime, not realizing that as a snowman he’d actually end up melting. “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” also has a poignant, bittersweet twist.
The movie has gained attention for deviating from the typical fairy tale story line. Both Elsa and Kristoff lecture Anna after she announces she’s engaged to Prince Hans even though the two have only known each other for a day; in many fairy tales, the prince and princess do get engaged after spending what only amounts to a few hours together. The film doesn’t have a traditional villain; you don’t find out who the real villain is until the end of the film, and it certainly isn’t the character you’d first suspect. And while the spell that has cursed Anna and trapped the kingdom in eternal winter is broken by an act of true love, it’s not the proverbial “true love’s kiss” that usually brings about the happy ending in fairy tales.
If you didn’t get a chance to see “Frozen” in theaters, it’s well worth catching on DVD. Kids will enjoy watching the antics of Olaf and Kristoff’s sidekick, a reindeer named Sven, but there’s enough going on with the plot and character development to delight grow-up viewers too.