Walt Disney Pictures and the creators of Wreck It Ralph bring forth Frozen, the story of two royal sisters who have to eventually work together to save the kingdom of Arendelle. Princess Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) and her sister, soon to be Queen Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) overcomes the early death of their parents and being sheltered from the world. Now, as adults, they must preside over the land and save the people from the freezing temperatures cast by Queen Elsa’s uncontrollable powers.
Most movie critics have already chimed in to compare Frozen to other Disney classics such as Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin, and even Lion King. I would not go that far, however, Frozen was full of winter delight and catchy, family-friendly tunes. While Disney’s Planes recently fell short of greatness, Frozen can be placed into the Disney vault with its humor for all ages, musical wonders, and winter escapades.
The soundtrack features stuck-in-my-head songs like “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” and “Let It Go.” Frozen seems to sample songs from all genres. And Taye Diggs’ wife, Idina Menzel uses her years on Broadway to contribute angelic sounds.
When I surveyed my two young ones, they were mesmerized by the special powers of Queen Elsa, her 3-D “ice castle”, and the idea of a “funny-talking snowman”, Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad). They were equally heart-broken when the royal family faced treason and betrayal. It was the same feeling I felt as a youngster after watching Lion King’s Scar kill his own brother. The consistent, generational memories that Disney creates with its movies is exactly what sets them apart from all other animated creators.
Reality set in quickly once the movie was over though. Walt Disney Pictures has yet to exhaust all of its resources to ensure that people of color are represented more frequently on the animated big screen. Disney’s only Black princess, Tiana, and the movie Princess and the Frog was a huge box office success, grossing nearly $267 million worldwide.
Yet prior to the movie, Disney only made one attempt to incorporate an African-American as a leading princess by making singer Brandy Norwood the 1997 Cinderella. (And I loved that made-for-tv movie) Surely, Disney can ensemble a team to pull off another great animated movie with a Princess of color. I’ll wait!
4 STARS: It would not be a bad idea to grab the family this Thanksgiving weekend and partake in a movie outing featuring Frozen. While it’s too soon for me to deem this movie a classic, Frozen surely holds all of the workings of Walt Disney’s magic.
Frozen is in movie theaters on November 27th.