Director: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time 102 min.
Princess Anna loves playing with her big sister Elsa, especially when Elsa uses her magic powers over ice and snow to transform the Great Hall into a winter wonderland. But one night when the sisters are playing, Elsa accidentally hits Anna with her icy powers. Their parents rush Anna to the magic trolls, but in order to save her life, the trolls must remove all of Anna’s memories of her sister’s power. The king and queen decide that to prevent future accidents, they will shut their family off in the castle while Elsa grows to control her powers. And so Elsa and Anna grow up isolated from everyone else—and from each other.
After a shipwreck claims the lives of both King and Queen, the time comes for Elsa to ascend to the throne. Anna, who has grown up very cheerful and idealistic, is thrilled for the opening of the palace gates and the chance to finally meet some new people—maybe even her True Love. Elsa, on the other hand, is terrified that she will not be able to control her powers. Sure enough, in the middle of the Coronation Day ball, when Anna announces that she intends to marry a prince that she just met, Elsa loses control and reveals her icy secret. Decried as a witch, Elsa flees into the mountains, accidentally plunging the land into an eternal winter. Determined to save her sister and the kingdom, Anna hires a slightly grumpy ice salesman, Kristoff, and his reindeer to take her on an adventure to find Elsa.
I enjoyed this film a lot; it was funny, and the music was great (Idina Menzel does Elsa’s voice!). But I don’t think it was as good as Tangled or Wreck-It Ralph, largely because of the pacing. The opening was great with their childhood and growing up apart—very powerful storytelling that brought tears to my eyes. But once the actual adventure started, everything felt very rushed. I think part of the problem was that the “eternal winter” lasted like one day… And although a major theme in the film is that “love at first sight” is not as genuine and powerful as slowly-grown relationships, the Anna-Kristoff relationship develops over one night—not much better than Anna and Prince Hans. And they spend most of their time together frantically driving from one point to the next: from Arendelle to Elsa’s castle, away from Elsa’s castle, to the trolls, back to Arendelle, away from Arendelle again–there’s a lot of motion crammed in there, making everything seem rushed. So again, I enjoyed the movie, laughed a lot, and have had the songs stuck in my head for a week now, but I don’t think the storytelling was as solid as the Disney greats like Beauty and the Beast or The Lion King—or even the more recent Tangled.
I would definitely point out, however, that this is a much better movie for the easily frightened child than many Disney films. There is briefly an abominable snowman, but otherwise no really scary monsters/villains.