Frozen (★★★★)


frozenposter3Disney has truly outdone themselves this time.  Going back to their roots,  Disney has reinvented their signature storytelling abilities that made them great and the final result is one of the year’s most heartwarming motion pictures.  Frozen is an absolute dream and the year’s best animated film.  There are so many things to applaud in this inspired film from Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Snow Queen.”  Accompanied with dazzling music by Christophe Beck and songs to simply gush over, this is destined to become a movie classic.  In addition, Lauren MacMullan‘s Get A Horse!, the Animated short film that precedes the picture, is a wonderful delight and will have the hardest of hearts softened by its wit and charm.

Bringing together the voice talents of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, and Josh Gad, the Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee directed film encompasses beautiful and whimsical moments that will make you laugh and even cry.  Telling the story of Anna (voiced  by Bell), a princess who lives in a shut out castle with her very guarded and protective sister Elsa (voiced by Menzel), whose magical powers make her afraid to interact with any other person.  When Elsa accidentally puts her kingdom in an icy and eternal winter, Anna teams up with Kristoff (voiced by Jonathan Groff) and  Olaf, a lovable and  hilarious snowman (voiced by Gad), to bring warmth and stability back to their land.

You can easily envision the future Broadway adaptation that has translated for many of Disney’s past efforts like Cinderella, and The Lion King.  Though the music clearly tips down the Broadway melody route, it fits marvelously with show tunes like “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” and “For the First Time in Forever.”  It’s the best musically animated film since the Oscar-nominated Beauty & the Beast.

First of all, Disney, along with writers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, create a tale that allows the women to be a free-thinker and be a true inspiration to children everywhere.  We haven’t seen the reigns given to our female counterparts in such a long time, or probably ever.  One criticism I’ve always had about some past animated films is that I’ve felt it gives off the wrong message to little girls.  “Only with a boy’s love or a kiss, can you truly be happy” – that’s the message that’s often conveyed.  Frozen lets Anna and Elsa create their own dilemmas and solve their own problems.  Not to mention, Anna is in so many ways, the comic and emotional epicenter of the entire film.  She garners lots of the film’s biggest laughs and is infectious in nearly every scene.

Disney-Animated-Movie-FrozenIn the other ways, Olaf is the heart and soul of the animated feature.  Very reminiscent of Eddie Murphy’s brilliant voice-work in Shrek, Josh Gad lives and breathes through the screen and capitalizes on the words he speaks.  If we’re talking about seriously considering an actress like Scarlett Johansson for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Spike Jonze’s Her, then the same conversation should be taking place for the work of Josh Gad.  He monopolizes on his hilarious dialogue, forming a deep-rooted connection with the viewer, and just running away with the movie.

Idina Menzel has stolen my adoration since I saw her on the stage in the original production of “Wicked” on Broadway opposite Kristin Chenoweth.  The woman belts out notes that musicians and artists can only dream and her ability to transform herself into a fully fleshed out character that you can see and touch is remarkable.  If you’re unfamiliar with the tale, she isn’t the traditionally “wicked witch” that you may think she is.  Much like Elphaba, she’s misunderstood in her motivations and what drives her into isolation.  Menzel’s song, “Let It Go” will staple itself into your heart and warrant a much deserved Oscar nomination for Original Song.

On the technical fronts, Frozen is unmatched, glittering gorgeous 3D images and inhabiting stunning visuals that are some of the best seen this year.  Expertly edited and scored to the cinematic delight by Christophe Beck.  If I do have a criticism of the film, I wished that the animators made Anna and Elsa a bit more distinct.  In a scene where the two are standing side-by-side, you can see how they just have changed hair and eye-color to make them different.  I like my characters to have physical identities in animated films.

Another film lives up to the hype and then some.  Frozen is one of the year’s best films and should walk away with the Oscar for Animated Feature.