After 70-some years and more than 50 animated features, you’d think Walt Disney Pictures would’ve run out of fairy tales to rewrite and princesses to promote.
Yet here we are on Thanksgiving-eve with “Frozen,” Disney’s 53rd animated film. It features all the Disney classics: sharp animation, enchanting songs and not one princess but two.
Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Snow Queen,” the movie tells the tale of sisters Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell), princesses in the kingdom of Arendelle. As oldest, Elsa is in line to be queen but she has a terrible secret: her touch turns things to snow and ice. How she got this power is not explained and she has to keep it a secret from her younger sibling, which creates a rift between the once-close sisters.
After their parents death Elsa must assume the duties of queen in a very public ceremony, which is troubling for her since she’s remained in hiding inside the castle walls to keep her powers from being exposed. Anna, on the other hand, cannot wait to throw open the doors and greet the outside world. In no time Anna has fallen in love with the visiting Prince Hans (Santino Fontana).
Unfortunately, Elsa’s powers are accidentally unleashed during her coronation and she flees into the woods. She sets up an icy castle, complete with abominable snowman guardian, on a nearby mountain.
Back in Arendelle, Elsa has inadvertently turned her kingdom into an ice cube. Anna, with help from local mountain man Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his reindeer sidekick, must confront Elsa and try to reverse the damage done.
“Frozen” is another fine addition to Disney’s large stable of animated features. The animation is gorgeous and the characters are charming. Comedy relief this time around is provided by Olaf (Josh Gad), a snowman brought to life by Elsa’s magic. Sven the reindeer is also good for a laugh, as are the rock trolls who have a connection to Kristoff.
While the musical score here isn’t on the level of “Beauty and the Beast” or “The Little Mermaid,” there are some decent tunes. Olaf’s song about looking forward to summer (despite not realizing what effect it will have on him) is one of the film’s highlights.
The story won’t win many points for originality although there is a nice twist on the old “true love’s kiss” bit that’s standard in many princess movies. “Frozen” is a delightful treat to begin the holiday season.