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.”