Walt Disney Animation Studios – the restructured Walt Disney Feature Animation – has, so far, provided audiences with a healthy diet that includes the sort of fairy tale movies that’ve long been the Mouse House’s bread and butter, along with quality original content like Bolt and Wreck-It Ralph. This year’s offering from the studio, titled Frozen, is a slight break from tradition; not so much in terms of source material (it’s loosely based on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen), but because the female lead is neither a princess nor a princess-to-be…. well, as far as we know, anyway.
Frozen revolves around the awkward, yet plucky and spirited, young woman Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell), who goes on a dangerous journey in order to attempt and break the endless winter spell cast upon her home kingdom of Arendelle – inflicted by Anna’s not-well-adjusted sister, Elsa (Idina Menzel). The previously-released teaser trailer focuses solely on the comical relief sidekicks in the film – including Olaf, a shrimpy snowman with a incongruously-sized carrot nose – but the newly-unveiled theatrical trailer offers a nice and simple outline of the story, in addition to glimpses at the main characters and even more slapstick antics from Olaf (hey, it ain’t easy being made of crystallized water).
Rounding out the voice cast for Frozen are such people as Jonathan Groff (Glee), Josh Gad (Thanks for Sharing), Santino Fontana (Submissions Only), Patricia Lentz (The Bling Ring) and fan-favorite Alan Tudyk, who also voiced a key character in Wreck-It Ralph last year. By comparison, Bell will be playing in the world of Disney animation for the first time, while Menzel is no stranger to this sandbox – following her appearance in both live-action and cartoon form in Disney’s Enchanted.
Chris Buck (Disney’s animated Tarzan movie) co-directed Frozen with Jennifer Lee (a co-writer on Wreck-It Ralph), with the latter having written the film’s screenplay in collaboration with Shane Morris (The Dukes of Hazard: The Beginning). Judging by the trailer footage and talent involved, Frozen probably won’t be a revolutionary addition to the Mouse House’s animation filmography – be it in terms of character archetypes and/or narrative themes – but it seems like a cute movie for the whole family; not to mention, one that keeps the studio on the upper-middle track, in terms of storytelling quality (following Wreck-It Ralph‘s example – read our review).
In related news, Frozen will feature original songs composed by husband-wife team Robert and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Winnie the Pooh), in addition to a score composed by Christophe Beck, who also scored Disney’s acclaimed “Paperman” short – screened in front of Wreck-It Ralph in theaters – and is providing orchestral accompaniment to go with Bret McKenzie’s songs for next year’s Muppets Most Wanted. Finally, as you probably noticed, the animation style in Frozen is the same Rococo-inspired hand-drawn/CGI hybrid technique used on Tangled (used to produce a 3D animated final product).
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.