'Frozen': Is it one of Disney's best movies yet?

'Frozen,' which arrives in theaters today, stars Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel as two princesses.

Disney/AP
'Frozen' stars Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, and Jonathan Groff.

Is “Frozen” the next Disney classic?

The newest animated offering from the studio, which hits theaters today, takes its inspiration from the Snow Queen fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. “Veronica Mars” actress Kristen Bell voices Anna, the younger daughter in the royal family of Arendelle. “Wicked” actress Idina Menzel is Elsa, the older sibling, who has the power to conjure up ice and snow. After her powers get out of control, Elsa flees and Arendelle is plunged into an everlasting winter. Anna, with a mountain resident and reindeer at her side, sets off to try to find her sister and free Arendelle from the grips of snow and ice. Actors Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, and Alan Tudyk also lend their voices to the film.

In an era where Disney princesses are often criticized for sending negative messages to young children, Bell spoke in an interview with MTV about how she feels Anna is different from many of the previous Disney heroines.

“I always loved Disney animation, but there was something about the females that was unattainable to me,” she said. “Their posture was too good and they were too well-spoken, and I feel like I really made this girl much more relatable and weirder and scrappier and more excitable and awkward. I'm really proud of that.”

So will “Frozen” join the celebrated Disney pantheon? Early reviews have been superlative, with TheWrap calling the film “the next ‘Beauty and the Beast,’” referring to the 1991 film that is still the only Disney movie to have been nominated for Best Picture in a year when only five films made the cut.

“With “Frozen,” they’ve got something that should please both sides,” TheWrap writer Alonso Duralde wrote, referring to the Disney marketing team who want to sell princess costumes and those who want Disney heroines to be less damsel-in-distress. “It’s about two beautiful sisters in a castle, yes, but it’s also about learning to embrace your own power and to overcome the fear of your own abilities… the tunes are terrific… it offers characters to care about, along with some nifty twists and surprises along the way.”

Forbes writer Scott Mendelson was also dazzled by the film, writing that the movie is “gloriously animated, wonderfully acted, and refreshingly feminist[.] It also contains some of the best ‘Disney songs’ ever.”

Meanwhile, Hollywood Reporter writer Todd McCarthy found “the screenwriter's insistence upon putting banal and commonplace teen Americanisms in the mouth of Anna” annoying but otherwise thought the movie was “energetic, humorous and not too cloying” and calls it “a pleasure.”

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.