FROZEN review by Gary Murray – is this the best animated film of 2013?

FROZEN review by Gary Murray – is this the best animated film of 2013?


In case anyone is confused, Frozen is not the remake of the 2010 horror flick on a ski lift, but a retelling of “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Anderson. It is also the newest push of products from Walt Disney Studios, one of the most powerful companies in the world… and like so much of Disney, it is a unique experience.

The tale is of Anna (Kristen Bell) who is a Danish princess, second to the throne. The film starts with Anna and her sister Elsa (Idina Menzel), who is to be the queen. As the story starts, the two are little girls playing in the family castle. Elsa has the magical ability to freeze things and make snow. One day, Elsa accidentally hits Anna with a blast of cold and freezes the tot’s brain. This event pushes Elsa away from Anna and the two become estranged.

It is years later and Elsa is to take the throne. There is to be a ball which opens the castle and brings people from all around. This includes a young prince named Hans (Santino Fontana). It seems that everyone wants to see the royalty. On coronation day, Elsa loses control of her powers and turns the entire kingdom into a world of ice. She runs away and makes an ice palace. It is one of the most impressive displays of Disney animation, something that will be studied by animation students for years to come. In a word, it is breathtaking.

Anna decides to rescue her sister from the elements. She meets up with a man named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), who is an ice seller who works with his reindeer – a good person who always wants to do what it right.S he has to find Elsa first and Kristoff is ‘volunteered’ into service. They meet up with an animated snowman Olaf (Josh Gad), who becomes the comic relief throughout the tale, the court jester of the work. All this little snowman dreams of is seeing the summer. There is a major comic moment when he sings a song about summer. It is another highlight in the flick.

The story is of the coming together of the two sisters. There is a confrontation and a few more twists and turns. This very clever little screenplay jumps between action bits and silly comedy without missing a beat. Along this journey we are treated to a giant snow beast and a community of trolls. Frozen is a winter wonderland of fun and adventure.

This is a beautiful looking film, full of stunning mountains and majestic snow. The 3D turns the production into a magical exploration into classic, fairy book Norway. This is the type of film that works best with the new technology and this is masterful way of melding the new with a classic Disney style. It deserves to be experienced on the big screen and the extra money for 3D is worth it.

Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee are the writing/directing team that created this little gem of a film. They take the basic Hans Christian Anderson tale and give it almost a Looney Tunes spin with comedic elements. It is a seamless blend of every element an individual wants in an entertainment.

Kristen Bell shows a surprising talent with her voice work as Anna. The young actress can sing like a songbird and deliver comic lines with a stand-up flare. It is a perfect match of imagined character and physical voice. But, the highest praises have to go to Josh Gad as Olaf the snowman. He delivers wide-eyed line after line and never misses a beat. Again and again, Josh keeps showing that he is the comic of the 21st Century.

Frozen is the best animated film of 2013, easily up for the Oscar. It will thrill the little ones and charm the adults who are dragged along. It has everything one hopes from the best of Disney animation—romance, adventure and comedy. It is a definite must-see film.

Lastly, get there early. The short “Get a Horse” is a classic “Steamboat Willie” style of Mickey Mouse with a definite modern twist. It has a Purple Rose of Cairo feel to the story that is modern day nostalgia. Don’t miss it.

FROZEN opens November 27, 2013.

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