On the surface, Disney’s latest animated film, “Frozen,” seems destined to be the latest in Disney’s long list of stereotype-promoting, anti-feminist, lovable, sappy, classic princess movies.
Directed and written by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, this gorgeous film (loosely based on Hans Christen-Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”), has all the basic components of the many princess films that came before it:
It takes place in a fictional kingdom — Arendelle
It has the princess — Anna (Kristen Bell)
It has the prince — Hans (Santino Fontana)
It has the evil, witchy queen — Elsa (Idina Menzel)
It has the non-human sidekick/best friend — Olaf (Josh Gad)
Though it lacks originality in its basic structure, it more than makes up for it in execution. With “Frozen” Disney has finally created not one, but two strong, female role models.
Elsa, voiced by the phenomenal Idina Menzel, is a quite reserved young woman destined to be the queen of Arrendelle. Oh, and she was also born with the magical ability to create and control snow and ice, a talent which her parents force her to conceal after an accident involving her younger sister.
Anna, voiced by the surprisingly versatile Kristen Bell, is the spare heir to the throne of Arrendelle. After her childhood accident, her memory is wiped clean of the incident, and she’s forced grow up as a shut-in. With only the paintings and the outside of her sisters bedroom door to keep her company, she grows up to be a lovable, but borderline-nutcase…so basically your typical Disney princess.
When the doors of the palace are finally opened for Elsa’s coronation, Anna is ready to marry the first eligible bachelor she lays eyes on (aka – her “true” love), while Elsa is hoping to not turn anyone into a human popsicle.
Needless to say, nothing goes according to plan.
Frightened of what her powers will do, Elsa runs for the mountains. Anna is close behind, after leaving her sisters kingdom in the hands of the love of her life that she met five minutes earlier, Hans (Santino Fontana).
Anna is able to track down her sister with some help from the reluctant-to-help, ice salesman Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his pet reindeer Sven, and the enchanted snowman Olaf (Josh Gad).
Scared and angry, Elsa once again accidentally injures her sister with her powers, this time fatally. In the end “true love” once again saves the day, but with a long awaited and much needed twist.
It’s a sweet, and heart wrenching story told with stunning animation and songs (music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez ) that you will have stuck in your head for the rest of the week (at least).
“Frozen” is a breath of fresh air, and hopefully will usher in a new era of relatable, but inspiring Disney princess films.
…and a special warning to the sentimental film-goers, this one will make you cry.
Countdown to Christmas Day 6:
…just for fun: