Can you imagine a princess with permanent bedhead, a habit of snoring and an extreme love for chocolates?
Princess Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) may not look like your typical Disney royal highnesses, but she’s not exempt from their fantasies of a whirlwind romance. The naïve girl falls head over heels with Prince Hans (Santino Fontana), and yearns to marry the guy she’s only known for a day.
But romance plays second fiddle in Frozen. Because while the couple’s knack of completing each other’s sentences (among other annoyingly lovey-dovey habits) is celebrated, it’s the iron band between sisters Princess Anna and Queen Elsa of Arendelle that stole the show.
Inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, Elsa (Idina Menzel, the Tony Award-winning musical star of Wicked and who has won mainstream audiences over as the vocal coach in Glee) is born with the bizarre power to turn what she touches into ice with her bare hands. Cool, you probably say, but that’s what King Midas thought too. There’s no mention how she got this ability and little sis Anna who can’t remember what Elsa’s gift was after a freak accident, was left putting the puzzle pieces together to figure it out.
Thus begins the tale of a traumatized older sister who wears gloves to “conceal” her deadly superpower and a younger one who yearns for the affection of a sibling. Viewers feel Elsa’s pain in keeping her sis at arm’s length when they understand her fear that she’ll one day cause more harm to Anna.
Until Anna’s insistence to marry sets off an avalanche of events and Elsa accidentally reveals her powers. Her worst fears came true when she accidentally froze Anna’s heart, where the only cure is “an act of true love”.
Adding substance to an otherwise bland plot is the charming mountain man who Anna happened to meet – Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), who falls in love with Anna as they trudge through to get to North Mountain (where Elsa’s hiding), in the hopes of putting a stop to the endless winter.
While this may sound unusually cliché, Kristoff feels like your regular Joe. He has a family of trolls he treats like his own, who nags and dotes at him like ours do. On top of that, his chivalrous demeanor towards the girl he adores tugs at our heartstrings – imagine a fully-grown man timidly guiding a young princess to stand by the semi-active geyser in the brazen cold.
But perhaps the most rib-tickling moments that’ll keep viewers entertained, is the snowman Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad) created by Elsa. A dimwit, his innocence shone through with his pure outlook on things, making him the best friend everybody wishes to have. What’s hilarious is his insistence to experience summer, despite being a snowman, or his honest belief that Kristoff’s carrot-loving reindeer adored him (it was simply because Olaf had a carrot for a nose).
We think he’s the most memorable character. Even with cliché lines such as “some people are worth melting for” that will seem corny coming from any human, Olaf’s sincerity in expressing those words make it cringe-worthy and makes the scene stand out.
However, the story’s surplus of musical numbers – from Kristoff’s serenading his reindeer to Elsa finally gaining freedom (to the tune of “The cold never bothered me anyway” from “Let it Go”byDemi Lovato – causes the otherwise hysterical conversations between Olaf, Kristoff and Anna to lose its sparkle. Though the songs were well written and fit the script aptly, too many of the musical scores make the show draggy. Viewers will expect more of Olaf’s screen time or the budding love between Kristoff and Anna, in contrary to the continuous song displays.
Like previous Disney movies (fairytales like Cinderella and Snow White) the conventional “happily ever after” remains and viewers are able to take away lessons to be learnt. For example, kinship surpassing all other love and how despite years of not communicating, the sisters continue to care for one another. And of course, getting attached after a first date holds more risk than imagined when Hans showed his true intentions in wanting to marry Anna.
Falling short on its promise of bringing its viewers on an adventure, what could’ve been a stunning show of ice magic (like Frozone in The Incredibles when joining forces with The Incredible family), didn’t happen even with this being a 3D movie. Technology can only do so much, so our advice is, watching in digital would safely suffice.
Nonetheless, with its hilarious storyline, credits to occasional humor from Olaf, you can’t help but feel like a kid once more. Except, Disney’s shown a remarkable sensitivity to how womanhood is now perceived or should be portrayed, and the 2 sisters, just like Tangled’s Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) and Brave’s Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald), all share the same trait: unconventional beauty, courage and fiery spirit.
Release date: Nov 28
Runtime: 108 minutes
Censorship rating: G
Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Main voice actors: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff
Photo credit: Yahoo! Movies