Disney’s ‘Frozen’ movie review

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Based on the story of The Snow Queen, sisters Ana (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel and her stunning, Tony award-winning voice) are kept apart by their parents who want to keep Elsa’s strange powers a secret. Shut out from the world, Elsa puts herself into exile and lives in a giant ice palace, throwing her kingdom into a deep winter that threatens to be permanent unless her sister can save her.

Frozen takes the typical Disney movie and turns it on its head. In the Disney movies of old, the heroine would have fallen head over heels with the first royal man astride a steed that she came across. Not so with Frozen. Such classics as Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella featured characters that had to be flawless in every way; this time there’s a message (in the catchy number Fixer-Upper) that imperfections are totally okay.

There’s no giant wedding, which may be a little disappointing for your inner child, and the butterfly-inducing true love’s kiss doesn’t come when you expect it. The visuals still maintain their Disney-ness, though, from the barrel-chested men to the drooping moustache of the Duke, and serve the 3D aspect brilliantly in the film’s opening number.

Directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee try to place as much importance on the central love between two sisters as the princess meets prince love story, and while the Bechdel Test is not only passed but smashed, the latter tends to overshadow the former quite often. Buck and Lee know that everyone is really waiting for That Moment when the boy and girl fall into each other’s arms, so parts of Elsa’s plot, such as her epic duet with Ana, feel shoehorned in as a result. However, this is more than made up for by a wonderful  twist later on that hits you like a slap in the face.

Latest Disney princess Ana is boisterous and quirky, but there is little that sets her apart from the equally boisterous and quirky Rapunzel in Tangled. It’s a shame that the far more complex and interesting Elsa isn’t the star, although she does have one of the film’s best original songs in ‘Let It Go’ – this film’s answer to ‘Reflection’.  Jonathan Groff’s Kristoff (who sings for all of one minute!) is ridiculously cute; and comic relief Olaf (Josh Gad), a heat wave-loving snowman, provides many of the film’s laugh-out-loud moments. His darkly funny solo, in which Olaf dreams of ‘doing whatever snow does in summer’, is a delight.

While older Disney fans may long for the sumptuous, hand-drawn days last evoked by the underrated The Princess and The Frog; Frozen is a wildly-fun, festive, family treat with a toe-tapping soundtrack that Disney’s new generation of young fans will love.

Released in UK cinemas on Friday 6 December 2013.