Frozen feels a lot like Tangled (2010). It feels like a lot of the Disney princess stories. I particularly kept getting vibes reminding me of Beauty and the Beast
(1991). It's loosely based on a story by Hans Christian Anderson, but
other writers can also be felt here. With a screenplay by Jennifer Lee
who also penned Wreck-It Ralph (2012), I also felt the influences of L. Frank Baum.
The story is centered around Anna, voiced by Kristen Bell, the young princess of Arendelle, a country or area located possibly in northern Europe, Sweden or Finland. During the coronation of her eldest sister Elsa, voiced by Idina Menzel, it's revealed that Elsa has been cursed with a magical power that's a mix between the Midas touch and Frozone from The Incredibles (2004) or Bobby Drake from X2: X-Men United (2003).
Speaking of the X-Men, Elsa has to wear gloves like Rogue for fear of her touching someone and instantly freezing them. This makes her a literal and figurative ice queen. She locks herself away to prevent herself from hurting anyone, but when the whole town comes to her coronation, she loses control and unknowingly unleashes nuclear winter onto Arendelle.
Elsa is like the polar reverse of Drew Barrymore's character in Firestarter (1984). She retreats into the Northern Mountains and while singing a power ballad, she creates a fortress of solitude that's better than any ice palace or ice hotel you've ever seen. It actually couldn't be better, even if Superman had carved or sculpted it.
Anna, however, realizes that the perpetual winter can only be stopped by Elsa, so Anna sets out to find her sister and bring her back from ICE-solation. The townspeople do look at Elsa, as if she's a monster, and some go to her ice palace to kill her, when according to the magical curse, only someone who loves her can save her, which is a premise very similar to Beauty and the Beast.
Where the hands of L. Frank Baum enter is during Anna's journey to find her sister. Yes, it feels a lot like The Wizard of Oz (1939). Anna is obviously the Dorothy of the situation but sans Toto. She does encounter three individuals not following a yellow-brick road but a snow-covered one. Instead of a scarecrow, she meets Kristoff, voiced by Jonathan Groff. Kristoff's backstory is straight out The Jungle Book (1967) but trade forest-creatures with adorable trolls. Instead of a cowardly lion, Anna meets a reindeer named Sven, and instead of a Tin Man, she meets a Snow Man, brought to life by Elsa's magic, named Olaf, voiced by Josh Gad whose comedic voice borrows a lot from Gad's co-star from Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012). I, at first, thought John Leguizamo was Olaf and not Gad.
Yes, the film was a constant reminder of other children's movies past and present, but directors Chris Buck (Tarzan and Surf's Up) and Jennifer Lee infuse enough energy, humor and heart that clear storytelling wins out. Yes, it's a throwback to the tradition set by The Walt Disney Company with fairy tales adapted from Brothers Grimm stories like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Cinderella (1950) and Sleeping Beauty (1959). Yet, it's glorious and beautifully rendered and filled with magic and music that will give you all kind of loving joy. I was also thankful the movie ended with the focus being on the relationship between the sisters and not any possible romance with the men.
Five Stars out of Five.
Rated PG for some action and mild rude humor.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 48 mins.
Mickey Mouse in Get a Horse! is also yet another great short film out of the many superb shorts to be attached to a Disney or Pixar feature.