Unless you’ve been living under a rock for a couple of years, chances are you’re already familiar with the 53rd entry in Walt Disney’s Animated Classics – the CG-animated Frozen. Loosely-based on Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen, Frozen has already managed to earn more than $1 billion in the box office, and has netted Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song in the recent Academy Awards. So it’s safe to assume that nobody’s going to shy away from spoilers at this point, but either way: there are spoilers in this review, you have been warned.
Disney’s Frozen follows the bubbly-yet-awkward Princess Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) and her older sister, the soon-to-be-coronated-as-Queen Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel). The main gist of the story is that Elsa has the power to freeze anything that she touches – a power that grows stronger as she grows older, to the point that she can create living entities from Snow and plunge the land into an eternal winter. Unfortunately, the power is difficult to control, resulting in a childhood accident that has Elsa freezing Anna’s brain.
The Trolls living in the forest cured Anna, but in order to avoid future problems, her memories of Elsa’s powers were erased and Elsa for her part was advised by her parents to hide her powers until it can be controlled. Sadly, holding her powers back had the opposite effect and it results in Elsa locking herself up in order to protect Anna and her loved ones from her power, something that the latter never understood. The untimely deaths of their parents exacerbated the situation, with both Elsa and Anna being forced to grieve on their own.
The movie then fast-forwards a few years later, on Elsa’s coronation as the new queen. Anna’s desire to find someone to connect with leads her to recklessly agree to a marriage with the all-too-perfect Prince Hans, something that the newly crowned Elsa forbade. An argument ensued and tempers flared, resulting in Elsa’s powers being revealed to the public.
When accused of being a monster and threatened with harm, Elsa flees the country and unwittingly sets off an eternal winter. It is now up to Anna find her sister, make amends, and save her country from freezing to death. Along the way, she’s going to meet new friends, discover hidden enemies, and learn what’s really important in her life.
Now, I purposely omitted the rest of the movie for the benefit of the two people in the world who hasn’t seen it yet. I might be preaching to the choir here, but it’s safe to say that all the numbers and praise Frozen garnered is well-deserved. It’s significantly lighter than Hans Christian Andersen’s original and the story has been changed so much that it can’t even be considered a loose adaptation. But those changes were for the better.
And frankly, Frozen is the movie that people asked for when they started complaining about Disney’s reliance on outmoded stereotypes and narrative formula. For instance – there’s no true evil villain in the movie. There are antagonists, even monsters and two-faced opportunists, but some of them are acting out of ignorance, fear, or even childish insecurity. Nobody is truly evil for evil’s sake. Frozen is arguably one of the first mature movies that you can safely expose your children to. They’ll love the story and marvel at the visuals now, but later on, they’ll grow up, watch the film again, and appreciate layers that they missed out on the first time around because they were too busy dancing and singing along.
Regarding the matter of watching the movie again, it’s no longer in the theaters, but this coming March 18th, Walt Disney Animation will be releasing Frozen on Blu-Ray, which should be a great addition to just about any family’s home video collection. Aside from having an HD copy of the movie via the Blu-Ray disc, it also contains a standard DVD and an iTunes-compatible digital copy.
Of course, it wouldn’t be worthy of a home release without any bonuses: the Frozen Blu-Ray combo pack comes with D’Frosted: Disney’s Journey from Hans Christian Andersen to Frozen, which delves a little bit into how the story was adapted for the film. There’s also a bunch of unfinished deleted scenes, a “Making Of” that isn’t really the kind of behind-the-scenes featurette that you expect, and several versions of the Let it Go music video: one each in English (by Demi Lovato), Spanish (Martina Stoessel), Italian (Stoessel again), and Malaysian (Marsha Milan).
While you still need to wait a few days for the retail release, the Frozen Blu Ray Combo Pack is already available for pre-order through Amazon.