Disney’s ‘Frozen’ is a return to its classic roots

File photo.
File photo.

For better or worse, Disney is certainly not what it used to be. While the company canned its 2-D animation department recently, it has also acquired the likes of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm over the past several years, leaving one to wonder if the “Mouse House” would ever go back to its roots. With “Frozen,” the latest animated feature from Disney, they come closer than ever to recapturing the magic that put them on the map, reminding us of the classic films we know and love.

“Frozen,” which is loosely based on “The Snow Queen,” is the story of Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel of Broadway fame), a young queen who is run out of her own kingdom by the townspeople because they believe her powers of snow and wind manipulation to be evil. Now her sister, Anna (Kristen Bell), must journey out into the snowy mountains in search of her so she can return order to the kingdom they have recently obtained.

The only thing I really knew about this movie before going in was from an animated short that was placed in front of a film I saw over the summer that featured Olaf the snowman (Josh Gad) losing his nose. It was funny and all, but it never got me excited to see the actual film. I just thought it was something cute that I would pass by on my way to see “Catching Fire.” Little did I know I wouldn’t only be entertained by this charming picture, but enchanted by it.

I don’t want you to get the wrong impression about “Frozen.” This isn’t some groundbreaking cinematic feat. To be honest, it’s really just typical Disney storytelling, but done to the best of the studio’s ability. You’ve probably seen the structure of story and characters in films sometime before, especially if you’ve seen “Tangled.” There are obvious similarities to past works of Walt Disney Studio, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the beautiful animation, comical and heartfelt characters and the catchy songs that are some of the more memorable ones to come out of the Disney canon in quite sometime. Particularly the song entitled “Let It Go,” which I predict will be recognized for a few awards down the road.

I was impressed with how well these characters grew on me and how believably they interacted with one another. The relationship between Elsa and Anna doesn’t have much development, but it’s done to a point where it’s heartbreaking to see when one hurts the other, emotionally or physically. There are moments between the sisters that may require a box of tissues to get through, if you consider yourself a sensitive moviegoer. I was at first irritated by the foolish decisions Anna makes throughout the course of the story, especially in the beginning when she interacts with a guy, but these character choices really fit her need for Elsa in her life as an older role model. As Anna travels to the top of the mountain in search of her sister, she is accompanied by a young ice worker named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and a talkative snowman named Olaf, who seems to be unaware of the fact that if he lives to see summer, he will melt. Silly? Yes, but it makes for a great song.

“Frozen” is safe, fluffy entertainment for kids and adults who are die-hard Disney fans looking for a good time at the movies. It paints us a frosty looking image of the importance of family, responsible uses of power and what true love really looks like. You didn’t think a Disney movie wouldn’t cover the topic of “true love,” did you? “Frozen” is the perfect type of film to watch with your family this holiday season.

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