Directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck. Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana. Disney.
Decent Films Ratings
|?Kids & Up|
Content advisory: Animated excitement, action and mildly scary images; a veiled double entendre or two.
From a National Catholic Register review
By Steven D. Greydanus
Hollywood family fare, like mainstream Hollywood fare generally, remains thoroughly boy-centric — dishearteningly so, for this father of three daughters. For every Merida or Rapunzel, there are ten male heroes or more.
Guys get buddies, too. Mike and Sully, Woody and Buzz, Shrek and Donkey, Lightning and Mater, Manny and Sid and Diego. Girls don’t get buddies. A heroine might be opposed by a villainess or adversary, and Pixar’s Brave broke new ground with its mother-daughter story. Overwhelmingly, though, a major positive female character in a cartoon is the only one. A cartoon like Frozen with two young heroines is practically unheard of.
There’s nothing I’d like more than to tell you, at the end of this year of relentlessly disappointing family fare, that Frozen — very loosely inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen — is a musical fairy-tale triumph: a throwback to the days of Beauty and the Beast, like many critics are saying.
Actually, Frozen is most obviously a soul sister to Disney’s other computer-animated musical fairy tale, the similarly named Tangled. It’s like Tangled with double vision: Instead of one princess growing up imprisoned behind closed doors, isolated, separated from her parents, we have two: Anna (Kristen Bell, Big Miracle) and her elder sister Elsa (singer-actress Idina Menzel), heir to the throne of Arendelle. In a way, Anna and Elsa are like two halves of Rapunzel: Elsa has a magical gift — cold-bringing powers she can’t control — that has occasioned their imprisonment, while Anna yearns to experience the world outside.
Also, where Tangled had one hunky, action-hero love interest (Flynn Rider) and one domesticated anthropomorphic ungulate (Maximus the horse), now there are two: gallant Prince Hans (Santino Fortana), with his horse Sitron, and scruffy mountain man Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) with his reindeer Sven. Sitron and Sven are like two halves of Maximus, too: Sitron is the dutiful Maximus, while Sven is the playful, doggy Maximus. The joke that everything is a dog is funny, but it’s getting old: The doggy cheeseburger-spider in Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 was the tipping point for me.