There once was a time where Disney movie musicals ruled the world. Such classics as The Lion King, Aladdin, and The Little Mermaid represented the childhoods of kids all across the world. Soon after, Disney-Pixar began to take over the animated world and Disney seemed to dead end. Recently, Tangled has proved that Disney still has some magic left in the vault and people wondered what would be next. Wreck-It-Ralph captivated audiences, but alas, no music to be found. This year, I’m proud to say that Disney has found its voice once again and has returned to the level of greatness that it achieved so long ago.
Growing up, Princesses Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) were the best of friends. From a very young age, Elsa had the ability to create ice and snow with only her hands. Due to this skill, she entertained herself and Anna, until one day, disaster stuck and she harmed her own sister. From then on, Elsa was locked away, for she couldn’t learn to control her powers. Flash forward to her coronation as Queen, Elsa’s powers are revealed and she accidentally turns Arendelle into a frozen wasteland.
Now, only Anna can find and help her sister before things get even worse. Along her journey, Elsa encounters and iceman named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his reindeer Sven. As the three travel to Elsa’s new ice kingdom, they also meet Olaf (Josh Gad) the snowman, who will aid them in their search. The kingdom depends on Anna and her love of her sister to prevail and save the day!
Calling Frozen the best Disney film that I’ve seen in almost two decades is not hyperbole. The music will follow you home and dance around your thoughts for days to come. The animation has never looked realer and crisper. The message is clear and kids are going to have an amazing time with the characters. Well, not just kids. I was one of the many older members of the theater giving a standing ovation to this truly wonderful film. I haven’t been that entertained by an animated movie in a long, long time.
Kristen Bell’s voice work makes for one of the most interesting and most teenage-like Disney Princesses of all time. While she may be an unconventional Princess, her love of stuffing her face with chocolate and wanting to meet a cute boy is nothing short of what girls want these days. Her soft voice and tender love for her sister is a beautiful thing and powers her story. She may be naive, but she’s experiencing more life than most of us get to. Her independent and awkward mannerisms make her the cute and fun girl that Princes and icemen can’t help but fall for.
Idina Menzel, the star of the hit Broadway show Wicked, steals the show and your heart with her reserved voice performance as Elsa. She hides herself away, in fear that she may hurt the ones she loves. As she misses out on life, her powers only grow stronger and become harder to control. It’s not until she runs away that she begins to have fun and push her powers to their full potential. This is also when the good, reclusive Queen does a 180 and belts out one of the most mature and moving Disney songs that I’ve ever heard. Her performance is outstanding and her interactions with Bell make the film what it is.
On the supporting side, Josh Gad steals the show as Olaf. This cute little snowman is the cause of many laughs and many of the film’s most tender moments. He is goofy and doesn’t know much, but he has enough heart to care for his friends and their safety. Jonathan Groff, who you may know as Jesse St. James from Glee, doesn’t get to do too much singing, but his voice work is superb. He fits his character well and because he’s a “lesser known” actor, you don’t get hung up on who the actor is, rather than the character. Even Sven, the Reindeer, has some funny moments that will make you and the kids around you giggle.
Frozen feels like a new breed of Disney musical movies, as its’ songs feel like something you’d see on Broadway. In fact, the same people that wrote the music for The Book of Mormon wrote the music for this film. The animation we saw in Tangled is elevated to another level and the combination of the music, animation, and voice acting makes for one of the best musical displays of recent years. The story, inspired by The Snow Queen, may not be complex, but it’s one that has heart and makes your feel all warm inside. You’d have to be coldblooded (how punny am I?) not to like this film.
Like many kids, I grew up singing Disney songs until I drove my family nuts. I left Aladdin and The Lion King on repeat and never grew tired of them. Now, I can add what will be another Disney classic to that list. The second I got home, I bought the Frozen soundtrack and fell asleep to it. I foresee “Let It Go” winning for this year’s Best Original Song and I could see Frozen having a serious chance at being nominated for Best Picture. I know that I will be heading back to theaters to see Frozen at least once more and I hope you all go out with friends and family to experience the best Disney magic in years!