Following on from recent successes Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph, Walt Disney Animation Studios bring us ‘Frozen’, the latest in an illustrious generation spanning collection. The company’s transition to digital is represented in an impressive short which is screened before the feature titled ‘Get a Horse!’ in which Mickey and Minnie Mouse do their utmost to outwit old foe Peg-Leg Pete. This quirky, imaginative little gem serves as the perfect entrée to what is to come.
The main course is loosely based on the Hans Christian Anderson fairytale The Snow Queen and follows two sisters, Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) who have a fractured relationship due to a childhood incident caused by the cryokinetic powers of the latter. As they grow up to become the princess and Queen of Arendelle respectively, they grow further apart, but when Elsa’s icy powers are unleashed again on a larger scale, Anna embarks on a mission to help her older sister overcome her burden and save Arendelle from the threat of a never-ending winter.
Much of the opening hour is a rather drawn out preamble to the inevitable quest to reunite the estranged siblings and despite the entertaining musical numbers, the narrative fails to really get going until the supporting characters are brought in to save the day. The turning point occurs as Elsa belts out the catchiest of songs, Let It Go, and builds herself an ice-cold fortress as well as creating the lovable snowman Olaf, who is magnificently thought out and very funny in every scene. He humorously longs for a sweltering summer, blissfully unaware of the fact he would melt. He, along with traveller Kristoff and his trusty reindeer Sven form an alliance with the ever loyal Anna and plot to rescue Elsa from herself.
The journey leads to a conclusion with a refreshing twist, remixing the expected Disney formula but with an equally satisfying result. The voice performances are solid, the characters are developed well for the most part but what will stay with you is the infectious soundtrack and overriding joyous message, installing the importance of family togetherness. In a time when effective animations are becoming fewer and far between, ‘Frozen’ is a treat which I am sure will sit fittingly alongside the classics and offers two worthy additions to the adored princess franchise. For a film so visually cold and frosty, it has the warmest of hearts.