News

REVIEW: ‘Frozen’ delivers warmth and fun

REVIEW: ‘Frozen’ delivers warmth and fun

Photo: YouTube

Genre:  Animation, Adventure, Comedy | Run Time: 108 min | Rated: PG
Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee | Starring: Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel

By: George Wolf

Though the animated landscape has become more crowded since the days of Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, musicals remain solid Disney turf. Their newest is Frozen, and while not quite on par with the classics, it still offers plenty to delight the entire family.

Based on story elements from Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, Frozen tells the tale of young Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel) and her sister, Princess Anna (Kristen Bell). The Queen has mysterious powers she struggles to control, and they have caused her kingdom to suffer under the ice and snow of a permanent winter. In sad desperation, Elsa has isolated herself in a faraway ice castle, which leads Anna, along with her friend Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and a goofy snowman named Olaf (Josh Gadd) off on a quest to find the Queen and save the kingdom.

With its big-eyed princesses in peril, dashing gentlemen, wise-cracking sidekicks, and soaring odes to empowerment, Frozen feels instantly familiar. Beyond those Disney benchmarks, though, there is some irony in the casting of Menzel, who won a Tony award for originating the role of Elphaba in the stage musical Wicked.

The similarity of the character names (Elsa, Elphaba), the unfair labeling of Elsa as “evil,” and the preeminence of a sisterly relationship over the search for Prince Charming all contribute toward a winning narrative assembled from some shrewdly familiar parts.

Of course, none of these elements are above rehashing, especially in the land of fairy tales. Disney veterans Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, sharing story and directing duties, weave them all into a fast-paced, funny adventure that will, if the audience at a recent preview screening was any indication, totally captivate the young ones.

The 3D animation is often gorgeous, as the chilly setting gives the animators ample opportunity to impressively explore drifting show or glistening ice. Inside, Anna dances past framed paintings, a clever reminder of the added dimension these artists are deftly employing.

Musically, the husband and wife team of Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez fill Frozen with original songs that are pleasing, if a bit unremarkable. While there’s no “Be Our Guest” or “Circle of Life” here, Menzel’s voice remains a wonder to behold no matter the material, and Bell, an accomplished singer in her own right, shows impressive versatility.
Though he’s no match melodically, Gadd steals the film as the daffy Olaf. Putting his unique voice to good use with some inspired delivery, he makes a funny character even more fun, and Frozen steps more lively whenever he’s near.

Now, the big question:  how are they going to recreate this frozen tundra for the theme park tie-in in Orlando?

I’m sure those wicked minds will think of something…

Verdict-3-5-Stars

Read more movie reviews at MaddWolf.com.

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Tom Cruise takes on Jimmy Fallon in latest lip-sync battle

17-overlay12

The Weeknd, the Righteous Brothers, and Meat Loaf are among the artists to get reinterpreted in this battle between "The Tonight Show" host and the "Mission Impossible" star.

in Sports, Viral Videos

WATCH: Ohio State football players ‘dummy’ prank

24-overlay17

This Nike uniform "mannequin" did a better job bringing quarterback Cardale Jones to the ground than any Oregon player.

in Viral Videos

Orangutan is a big fan of this mom-to-be

24-overlay16

This pregnant woman's trip to the zoo was a one-of-a-kind experience.

in Music

Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert’s divorce under scrutiny

blakesheltonmirandalambert

Oklahoma attorneys are questioning whether a judge has violated state law by sealing the court documents related to the divorce of the country superstars.

in Music

Little Big Town scrap more shows

littlebigtown

The "Girl Crush" hitmakers canceled a string of summer shows last month after doctors found a polyp on Jimi Westbrook's vocal cords.