FROZEN. Animation film voiced by Idina Menzel, Kristin Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gadd, Robert Pine. Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee. 108 minutes. Rated PG (Some scenes may scare very young children).
Frozen is a Disney film, adapting the story, The Snow Queen, by Hans Christian Andersen. Almost 25 years ago, Disney Studios had a breakthrough with their adaptation of Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. Frozen has received quite some critical acclaim and nominations for animation awards and it will be interesting to see whether it enters into public consciousness as did The Little Mermaid.
This is certainly a wintry film. While it opens in sunshine, and life in a country where there is activity and trade, ruled over by a benign king and queen, it soon moves to the grim cold. The reason for this is the character of Elsa, one of the daughters of the deceased king and queen. She has a cold personality but also has powers to transform a sunny experience into ice and cold. Her sister, Anna, loves her but is forced out of the kingdom.
A little unfortunately for us, Elsa disappears from the film until much later while the focus is on Anna, one of those feisty Disney heroines who can irritate audiences with her tough manner, no difficulty in delivering a few punches, while she could be a little bit more charming. We accompany her on her adventures, and meeting up with a pleasant young man Kristoff (not always the brightest!) who is an ice carrier and has quite an agreeable reindeer called Sven. Children’s audiences will probably enjoy the snowman, Olaf, who keeps losing his shape as well as his carrot nose, but parent audiences might find him just that little bit hard to take. And then there are some rocks who turn in out to be trolls. Better is the huge, very huge snowman who pursues Anna and Kristoff.
There are several songs throughout the film, perhaps Disney studios having in mind to turn it into a theatrical musical as they have with Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. There is a mixture of adventure and comedy.
Ultimately, we are back at the kingdom with Elsa defending herself with her powers, transforming rooms with extraordinarily visual ice barriers. And then there is Anna, getting colder and colder, hoping that a kiss from the foreign emissary, Hans, will be a sign of true love and leading to peace in the kingdom – and summer. While that, of course, does work out, it does not happen in the way we might have predicted, but it does mean that Elsa and Anna are reunited and there is always Kristoff for Anna to fall back on.
This is the kind of film that will appeal predominantly to a female audience, but there is enough action and comedy that might attract the boys in the audience. And parents probably won’t mind it at all.
Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.
Out December 2013.