DIRECTORS: Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee
May Contain Spoilers!
What can I say. I like it. And not just because I’m the father of a little girl, and step-father to more, but because it is a genuine classic. This is, to me, the Up (2009) that Disney Animation have been waiting for since animation entered the digital age. The nearest example for Disney themselves would be The Lion King back in 1994, but it has taken that long for them come up with something as good-looking and relevant as this.
Frozen may be loosely based upon the Hans Christian Anderson story “The Snow Queen” but has very little in common with this source. The story here, focuses on two royal sisters, driven apart by the curse of the eldest sister, Elsa (Idina Menzel) who after injuring her younger sibling, Anna (Kristen Bell), was kept apart from her and after their parents are lost at sea, the girls fail to reconcile. Elsa, who is ruled by fear of her power to freeze everything she touches, avoids contact with Anna and becomes a virtual recluse.
Anna has grown into a naive young woman and through series of events which demonstrate this, Elsa runs way from her own coronation in to the mountains, but manages to freeze the fictional Nordic styled country of Arendale in the process. Anna pursues her and a combination of comedic hi-jinx and action ensues.
The comedy is funny, the songs are well written, composed and many of them should become classics in years to come, beside the obvious “Let It Go”, “For The First Time In Forever” which is clearly the central song and the only duet between the two leads, as well as Olaf’s solo, “In Summer” which are equally as good.
The beauty of this film is that it has identified its core audience, played to it without alienating everybody else and that is the key to any films success. Frozen is talking to teenage girls. But young girls want to be teenage girls and boys think that the male characters and way they react to princesses, particularly Anna and her relationship with Christoph, Sven, the rain-dear and Olaf the snowman, are relatable to them. And to everyone else, it is just funny. As funny as teenagers are to everyone!
The characters, their dynamics and their respective arcs are simple, relatable and relevant to teenagers of today. The key words which come up through out, chocolate, isolation, true love, even the melodrama, especially the melodrama and failure to deal with Elsa’s condition in logical way is indicative of being a teenager. Even Anna’s naivety in accepting Hans marriage proposal after just a few hours and believing in true love are also understandable, yet ludicrous.
In short, whilst packing itself to the gills with elements that will appear to be speaking to every girl on the planet as if they are being spoken to personally, they have also managed to draw on just as many fairytale archetypes and play with them just enough to make this fresh, clever and fun. And fun is the operative word after all, this is a cartoon when all is said and done.