‘Frozen’ reminds us that Disney is more than just Pixar’s owner

There's apparently a monster named Marshmallow in "Frozen." Credit: Disney
There’s apparently a monster named Marshmallow in “Frozen.”
Credit: Disney

‘Frozen’
Directors: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Voices of: Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff
Rating: PG
3 (out of 5) Globes

Once again out to let audiences know they can still weave together a full-length animated feature like it’s nothing, Disney goes to its tried-and-true formula of crafting a princess-heavy, musical fairytale adaptation with “Frozen.”

The movie mostly centers on Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell), the neurotic little sis of Elsa (Idina Menzel), the soon-to-be queen of Arendelle, their little kingdom. Elsa was born, for some reason, with cryokinetic powers. She can literally set off a winter wonderland with her hands, which is what she did late one night with Anna, accidentally incapacitating her when Elsa hit her with a jolt of frost to the head.

Cut to years later. The chilly Elsa has kept Anna and her kingdom at arm’s length, literally covering up her hands with gloves to avoid frostbiting people. But she unfortunately sets off a winter storm at her kingdom after a spat with Anna following Elsa’s coronation, which leads to Elsa fleeing Arendelle and making herself an ice castle in the mountains.

“Frozen” is a loosely based take on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen.” Disney has been trying to bring the dark and frosty story to the screen since the ’40s. What they’ve done is just make a cute little movie about a regal gal who can do amazing stuff with the cold.

The snow queen in “Frozen” takes a backseat to Anna, as she ventures out to locate her sister, so she can put an end to this wintry mess. It’s Anna who also deals with romantic conflict, as she finds herself torn between Kristoff (“Spring Awakening” star Jonathan Groff), the studly, stubborn mountain man who aids her in her search, and Hans (Santino Fontana), the prince fiance she has back in Arendelle.

As with nearly all the princess-driven Disney cartoons, “Frozen” is a frilly song-and-dance show fueled by girl power. Animator Chris Buck (“Tarzan”) and screenwriter Jennifer Lee (“Wreck-It Ralph”) tag-team on the directing duties, churning out powdery visuals and finely drawn characters, while husband-and-wife songwriting team Robert and Kristen Anderson-Lopez piles on the for-your-consideration tunes. It’s a likely possibility that the soundtrack will be blasting from your minivan whenever your 11-year-old daughter is in the car.

However, as much as “Frozen” lays on the charm, the story itself seems rushed and hardly fleshed out. A lovable, talking snowman (Josh Gad) is brought into the film because — well, just because. And as for Anna having to choose between her two suitors, a flimsy-yet-oh-so-convenient plot twist makes that decision extremely easy for her.

Nevertheless, “Frozen” is another holiday reminder that even though Disney is in bed with Pixar, that doesn’t mean Pixar does all the work while the Mouse Factory just lies there. They put time in, too.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

National

New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Movies

Review: 'Fading Gigolo' finds few jokes in women…

John Turturro writes, directs and stars in "Fading Gigolo," in which he plays a prostitute whose pimp is Woody Allen. And there's still very few jokes.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.