November 28, 2013 -- The trailers and advertising I've seen for this film have been misleading. It looked like this was going to be a silly animated film with a scene of a reindeer and a snowman trying to get traction on ice in pursuit of a carrot. It turns out this film is more like the Disney classics, like “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” or “Tangled.” It is a story loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale “The Snow Queen.” It has memorable characters and a strong musical score with several good songs.
This is said to be the fifty-third animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series (a series that was scheduled to end with “Tangled,” but kept going because of the success of that film). While it uses the same formula as older Disney films, it resembles “Tangled” more than most. One character in particular, a reindeer named Sven, who almost talks like Scooby-Doo, reminded me a lot of a horse named Maximus in “Tangled.” Sven and a living snowman, Olaf, are the two most comical characters in the film.
The story centers on Elsa, a royal princess with magical powers over water, ice and weather. She can make it cold. She can make it snow. She can turn water into ice, and she can create anything, including living creatures, out of ice and snow. As children playing, Elsa accidentally hurts her sister, Anna, with her powers. The king and queen take Anna to some kindly trolls who heal Anna and at the same time remove all knowledge of her sister's powers from her, so she won't be tempted to persuade Elsa to use her powers again. For many years, Elsa locks herself away as her powers increase. She cannot control them and she is afraid she will hurt people. Anything she touches with her bare hands turns ice cold and is covered with ice.
The story skips ahead to the time, after the death of the king and queen, when Elsa ascends to the throne of the kingdom of Arendelle. At the coronation ball, Anna, desperate for love, accepts the marriage proposal from a handsome prince she just met, Hans. Elsa believes Anna is being foolish and refuses to give Anna permission to marry Hans. This leads to an argument. Anna pulls a glove off Elsa's hand, which unleashes her power. Huge icicles appear on the floor of the ballroom. Elsa, aghast that her secret is out, flees into the mountains, with Anna in hot pursuit.
Elsa, who has kept her powers secret for years, unleashes her powers fully and revels in them, creating a fantastic ice castle on a remote mountain top. She also creates Olaf the living snowman, an ice dress and other things. Anna enlists the aid of Kristoff and his reindeer, Sven, to take her to where Elsa is hiding in the mountains. Sven pulls the sled at high speed through the mountains. They find Elsa, but she refuses to leave. In anger, she unleashes her power and accidentally hurts Anna, who may die if a magical cure can't be found. Meanwhile, the whole Kingdom of Arendelle is frozen when it should be summertime.
Kristoff, Sven and Olaf must find a way to save Anna and to end the endless winter that has the kingdom of Arendelle in its icy grip. There is a lot more to this story, which has some unexpected twists and turns. The main characters are well defined and they have some complexity to them. The music is pretty good, with some good songs, like “Let it Go,” sung by Elsa as she creates her ice castle. The song was written by Robert Lopez and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez.
The animation is very good, with great looking ice creations, snowfall, snow creatures and beautiful scenery. The people are drawn with extra large eyes, somewhat like Japanese anime style. The people are drawn with computer animation to otherwise look fairly lifelike. This is a better-than-average Disney fairy tale classic. It rates a B+.
Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.