Since its worldwide release in November 2013, Frozen has grossed around $714 million in box office revenue, won the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards in the ‘Best Animated Feature Film’ category and has bagged two Oscar nominations — accolades that are enough to make one wonder what this Walt Disney musical is all about?
Frozen is Disney’s re-work of the eternal Hans Christian Andersen story The Snow Queen into a magical and musical fairy tale. In a place called Arendelle, two sisters of royal heritage live a splendid life, until one day the older sister Elsa (Idina Mendez) has difficulty controlling her cytokinesis (the ability to create and control ice and snow) which ultimately strikes her younger sister Anna (Kristen Bell) and puts her in danger.
The royal parents do what any Disney parent would, and lock her up in her bedroom keeping her superpower a secret. When a wintry temper tantrum leads to disaster, Elsa is banished from the kingdom for her cold weather Midas touch. Cast out into the cold, she heads off into the mountains where she builds herself a lonely castle.
Meanwhile, the winter-wonderland that she has left in her wake turns out to be permanent. This sets her sister Anna off into the frozen wilderness to bring her back. Her sidekicks include a hunky guide named Kristoff, his reindeer and a living snowman named Olaf. What ensues is a tragic mishap that pushes them and others to discover what love can really do.
Frozen is a visual treat. The technical perfection is remarkable and the small details make it beautiful. Every scene is mind-boggling, in a good way. One of my favourite settings was the stunning ice palace and watching the magic made me feel like a child again. The Norwegian influences are wonderful and are one with the story. The atmosphere, architecture and organic richness are fascinating. It almost felt like it was a real piece of history and is worth seeing in 3D.
Frozen is also an incredibly touching story with fantastic musical numbers, that will have you singing along. The score is magnificent, the texture, the harmony and the melody flow effortlessly and is a character in itself.
Frozen is not a simplistic protagonist versus antagonist story but a complicated mix of issues and resolutions that each character provides. There’s the outgoing, carefree Anna; the caring, protective and reserved older sister Elsa; the cool, good-hearted Kristoff; the suave, gentlemanly Prince Hans; and the pure-hearted Olaf. Each character brings something to the table, which is what sets the movie apart.
Out of all the characters, it is Elsa’s persona that keeps you hooked. Her character is complex and sympathetic and deserved to be explored even further. Instead the story revolves more around the relationship of the two sisters and Anna who is the typical, feisty, charming Disney heroine and her love trysts — instead of the alluring Elsa.
This movie has something that everyone will enjoy — the romance, the family bond, action-packed adventure, fantasy and comedy. The twists are enjoyable and catch you off guard. You are guaranteed to leave the theater feeling like you are walking on clouds.
• If Frozen wins Best Animated Feature category, it will be the first win for Walt Disney Animation Studio since the award category was introduced in 2001.
• Disney’s sister studio PIXAR, who is absent in the category in 2014 has won seven out of past 12 Oscars given for the Best Animated Feature category.
• Frozen is competing with independently produced foreign films in the Best Animated Feature category such as Japan’s The Wind Rises and GKids’ French-Belgian entry Ernest & Celestine at the Oscars
• If Best Original Song nominee Robert Lopez, who co-wrote the tune Let It Go for Frozen, wins an Oscar this year, he will Egot — join the exclusive club of 11 people to have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.
Samra Muslim is a digital marketing professional, an avid reader and a movie buff. She tweets @samramuslim
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, January 26th, 2014.