Directors: Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck
Quality: ★★★½ (out of four)
Stars: Voices of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk
Rating: PG for some action, mild rude humor
Running time: 1 hour, 48 minutes
Theaters: Aksarben, Oakview, Village Pointe, Majestic, Westroads, Regal, Midtown, Bluffs 17, Twin Creek
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World-Herald staff writer
Dazzling animation, lively action sequences, handsome hunks and beautiful princesses, romance, adventure, treachery. And some great new, singable tunes.
“Frozen,” based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen,” has all that and more, returning Disney animation to top form. You can feel the influence of Pixar since the two cartoon juggernauts became associates under the same corporate roof.
Kids will love the story. Grownups will feast on stunning computer-generated animation. Boys will get into the scary snow monster, attacking wolves and Olaf (voice of Josh Gad), the goofy snowman whose pieces are forever getting scrambled. Girls will sing along to the romantic tunes and identify with the main characters, two very different princess sisters.
Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel) was born with magical powers to generate snow and ice. She and her little sister, Anna (voice of Kristen Bell), were close playmates until Elsa accidentally harmed Anna with a frigid zap. Anna has no idea why her sister has suddenly shut her out, but it’s to protect her from powers Elsa doesn’t know how to control.
Anna is full of adventure. Elsa lives in fear, and fear amplifies her powers.
On Elsa’s coronation day, Anna impulsively falls head over heels for Hans, a visiting prince (voice of Santino Fontana). Elsa wisely denies them permission to marry, and the sisters quarrel. Elsa’s fears mount, and she flees the kingdom of Arendelle after accidentally triggering a permanent winter.
Anna goes after her sister over rugged, craggy mountains, sure she can reconcile and talk Elsa into ending winter. Along the way, she gets help from handsome woodsman Kristoff (voice of Jonathan Groff), his reindeer and that wisecracking snowman, Olaf. Kristoff’s adopted family, scores of jolly trolls, also offer a key assist.
Meanwhile, there are forces afoot back at the palace who might benefit from the cold, or from keeping the sisters divided, or fanning public fear of Elsa.
The eye candy is everywhere, from gorgeously detailed and colorful palace interiors to howling blizzards and snowscapes, to the twirling movement of a full-length skirt. A sequence in which Elsa creates an ice palace while belting out the ballad “Let It Go” is a stunner, one of several in this blockbuster waiting to happen.
It’s hard to miss when you double up on fairytale palaces, shapely princesses and square-jawed boyfriends. And the theme is also a winner that skates past triteness with its own little twist: Only an act of love can thaw a frozen heart.
Look for “Frozen” to snag an Academy Award nomination for best animated feature, and for one or two songs to get nominations as well.