Disney’s Frozen warms our hearts with sisterly love

Lylia Li, Staff Writer

Disney’s newest princess movie, Frozen, is a spinoff of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen as well as a spinoff of Disney’s classic princess formula—sure, the essential elements are all there: the handsome prince, the love at first sight, and the happily ever after, but not without many surprising twists and turns along the way.

On top of that, there are two new princesses instead of one: Anna, who is bright, inquisitive and playful, and Elsa, her older sister and her opposite, who has a more withdrawn and, yes, icy personality.  Both have their flaws and differences, and the film successfully portrays their complex relationship, the real heart of the film; the emotional and heartfelt rebonding of the two sisters.

After spending the majority of her life shut off from the rest of the world, Anna rejoices when she hears that the castle gates will be open, noted by the song “For the First Time in Forever,” while Elsa treats her kingdom with a cold shoulder because she has to hide her magical powers from everyone, including her sister.  Provoked by Anna’s enthusiasm, Elsa loses control, accidentally curses her kingdom to an eternal winter, panics, and flees.

All of this snowballs into an action-packed quest filled with various life-or-death situations, endearing and lively comic relief characters, including a live snowman, and one show-stopping musical number in true Broadway power ballad fashion.

Frozen’s strength lies in its cast, which includes many Broadway stars including Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, and Santino Fontana, as well as Kristen Bell in the lead role.

The music also has its roots in Broadway, composed by Bobby Lopez of Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon fame.  Lopez doesn’t disappoint, and the new songs in Frozen, including “Let It Go” and “Love is an Open Door” are sure to be hits with veteran Disney fans and little kids getting their first tastes of Disney alike.

Unfortunately, the terrific cast cannot save Frozen from some of its glaring flaws.  Although most of the animation was beautiful, as is typical of Disney movies, there were parts that lacked a certain subtlety that made them cheesy, like Elsa’s Sims-like transformation into a Barbie doll ice queen, the formation of the giant snowflake patterns, and the ice chandelier at end of “Let It Go.”

In addition, the strong bond between the sisters could have been more moving and effective if one large plot hole had been tied up at the end of the movie instead of completely forgotten.

Frozen is a great movie, and fits in perfectly with the other Disney classics.  In fact, it can be just as good as Beauty and the Beast or The Little Mermaid if you can watch it with the same kind of nostalgia-induced blinders that let you ignore the flaws of your own favorite childhood movies.  If you cannot, it is not outstanding, but at worst, it is an hour and a half of a fun movie.

One thing is sure, though: after Tangled, the last Disney princess movie, Frozen was a little underwhelming.  Instead of building off of Tangled’s best features, like its gorgeous imagery and tight, clever script, Frozen seemed to take the most inconsequential—the design of its main character, Rapunzel.

In the future, Disney should aim to reproduce qualities that make its stories strong and cohesive instead of recycling its old designs.