Disney has pretty much owned the animated slice of the movies for decades. My own youth was charmed by the “Disney Renaissance” brought on by movies like The Little Mermaid and Beauty & The Beast.
Throughout the 90s, Walt Disney Animations produced a hit movie almost every year but popularity started to wane later in the decade as other production studios got into the game. By then, the instant Disney classic was moved wayside in favour of more modern titles with fresh new styles, including Disney’s own Pixar – the studio behind Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Up.
Pixar was to the 2000s what the Disney animated films were to the 90s. The guaranteed must-see animation of the year.
A reversal of sorts may be in the midst now as Walt Disney Animations’ own Frozen is a return to form by taking the classic musical story format and altering it ever so slightly. It’s modern, it’s fresh and it’s making old new again.
Loosely based on the The Snow Queen, a 19th century fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, Frozen still has elements of the classic Disney story. There’s still a “Prince Charming”, for example, but the focus of the princess role isn’t to attain him.
Princess Anna (Kristen Bell), daughter of the King and Queen Arendelle, is trying to find purpose and life following the death of her parents as she lives a strained relationship with her older sister Elsa (Idina Menzel).
The two sisters, in their own way, have heart that makes you empathize with both of their situations. Beyond them, Frozen has an array of characters that can be loved beyond their roles, having the potential to take on a larger-than-life form. Olaf (Josh Gad) the talking snowman, Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), a new friend of Anna’s, and a population of troll people.
The songs are memorable and fun and contribute to the main story, providing a backstory or just filling in space for fun. Do You Want To Build A Snowman is a coming-of-age song between Anna and Elsa that builds up to the relationship they maintain as they grow up. And Elsa’s Let It Go is the best song from Disney since The Lion King‘s Circle Of Life.
Frozen has the makings of a classic movie that will easily build onto the momentum Disney kickstarted with Tangled in 2011. The visuals are wonderfully imaginative and crisp, the songs are fun and the story has purpose. It’s an absolute joy that is pleasant for children and adults.