Elsa (Idina Menzel) has spent most of her life living in solitude, after her powers to control winter put her sister Anna (Kristen Bell) in danger. When Elsa comes of age and is crowned Queen, emotions run high and she accidentally plunges the kingdom into a permanent winter. It is up to Anna to find her sister and release the kingdom, but to do so she must team up with Olaf (Josh Gad), a talking snowman, and an odd man named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff).
Frozen is the latest animated film to come from Disney Studios – not to be confused with Pixar – and it is a throwback to the Disney musicals of old. Songs punctuate the film, magic abounds, and there is a love story at the heart of the film. There are, however, some clever twists put on these old tropes. When one of the sisters falls madly in love and wants to marry her suitor after a few short hours, there is plenty of uproar at marrying someone she barely knows. As well as this, we get to see the evolution of the ‘monster’ at the heart of the story, rather than just presented with it fully formed, and Olaf the talking snowman is a delusional delight as he longs to experience summer.
Kristen Bell shows off her comic skill as Anna, not only does she get some of the funniest interactions in the film, but she also has the relentless optimism that comes with being a Disney Princess; this is not a bad thing though. Idina Menzel shows off her wonderful singing voice as Elsa, and when she belts the showstopper, it is hard not to empathise with a character who has been forced into solitude. Josh Gad is simply wonderful as Olaf the snowman; he injects the character with wonder and delight, and his delivery of lines is a joy. Jonathan Groff – better known as Jesse St. James from Glee – not only sings his heart out, but brings the laughter in his interactions with his reindeer Sven.
The animation, as one might expect, is simply beautiful. The snow covered world is turned into a winter wonderland, reminding audiences why we loved snow in the first place. Elsa creates some wonderful shapes from ice, and the whole landscape is rich and lush. Inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen’s story The Snow Queen, the tale feels familiar but is given a new lease of life through the dialogue from screenwriter Jennifer Lee. All of the songs in the film are belted out with passion, but it is clear that some of them work better than others. Let it Go is a cracking tune though, and you will be singing it long after you leave the cinema.
Frozen is a great Christmas movie filled with laughter, romance and love. There is plenty of silliness and scares in there for the little ones, and the animation is as gorgeous as you might hope. The only trouble is, with Disney throwing back to the formula that made them the animation giant they are, Frozen feels a little familiar at times, and some of the songs are a little lacking. Still, its one of the best Disney musicals in years.