Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

Disney's Frozen

Last weekend was a magical moment for me. Filled with magic, music and snow. Yes, I went to the movies to catch Disney’s Frozen which is loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Snow Queen.

Frozen introduces the twelfth and thirteenth (I think I got it right. Someone correct me if I’m wrong!) Disney Princesses, Anna and Elsa. The film features the voices of Kristen Bell as Anna and Idina Menzel as Elsa, in speaking as well as singing roles, along with Jonathan Groff playing the role of mountain man Kristoff.

In the Hans Christian Andersen fable, the eponymous Snow Queen is a nasty piece of work. In other words, a villain. But in Frozen, the Snow Queen is in a similar position to Wreck-It Ralph – a misunderstood figure, whom almost everybody sees as a villain. Ralph’s cowriter, Jennifer Lee, is the one writing (and co-directing!) Frozen. See the connection? While a good majority of films usually have a strong male lead, Frozen puts the relationship between the two sisters front and center, while still offering up a strong male characters in Hans (Santino Fontana) and Kristoff (Jonathan Groff). Truth be told, I’m really liking the whole new outlook on the Snow Queen character – turning a fairytale villainness into a sympathetic and complicated character (who gets one of the best songs).

My biggest surprise is that not only Kristen Bell sings in this movie but she does it beautifully. In fact, she holds her own in the duet with Idina Menzel which is no small/easy feat.

That being said, Frozen is aggressively musical – something I would say is what defines a Disney movie. (Yes, it’s a good thing!) Pretty much any time anybody wants to say anything, there is a musical number. Those songs are the work of Robert Lopez and his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez, and they are catchy as hell. SPOILER ALERT: Even the movie’s “villain song” which is a romance duet. Don’t believe me? Check out the album on Spotify.

For a film in which ice and snow drive the story, the landscape of Arendelle looks beautiful. There are countless scenes where characters interact with the snow and the CGI team in charge of them certainly devoted their attention into getting the texture and consistency of it just right. Kudos to you guys!

You can say that Frozen did for fairytales what Wreck-It Ralph did for video games – opening up our obsessions with heroes and villains and showing us that roles are just roles. It’s kinda ironic on how easy I took to liking the portrayal of Elsa’s Snow Queen compared with Iron Man 3’s The Mandarin. Now pardon me while I go build my snowman. As for you? Go find “Let It Go”. Sing loudly. Repeat. And then maybe call me for a duet for “Love is an Open Door”.

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