Frozen: Disney Lets Its Princess Conventions Go


When you watch the trailer for Disney’s Frozen you might think: “here comes another “princess” film/franchise”. And I am happy to announce that yes, it is indeed. But it’s also a whole lot more.

Walt Disney Animation Studios comes back, in a glorious manner, to a film format we haven’t seen from them in quite a while: the animated musical. A staple from the studios back in the 90’s with 2D classics like The Little Mermaid and Beauty and The Beast, it has evolved not only into a new media (CGI), but also in its depiction of female characters in family films.

Written and directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, we follow the story of two sisters, Anna and Elsa, who despite being royalty in a beautiful kingdom have far from perfect lives. Anna has grown stranded from Elsa, and longs a connection not only with her but with others as well. Elsa has a reason for secluding herself: she has the power to create ice and snow, and keeping this a secret has represented living a life of solitude and repression. But one day Elsa’s secret comes out, and both sisters get into a journey  that affects the future of their entire kingdom.

Probably what I appreciate the most about this story is the fact that the female characters had far from the typical “problems” usually leads have in “princesses” films: it’s never about getting the prince, (even though there’s one), achieving looks or wealth, or battling an evil step-mom/aunt/sister/you-name-it. It’s about self discovery, the meaning of family, and about discarding selfishness for those we love,  situations young audiences can certainly identify with. And even some adults can learn a thing about or two as well.

The soundtrack works extraordinarily here conveying the story bits. With music and lyrics by Robert Lopez (The Book of Mormon)  and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, and stunning voice performances by Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell (who I want to be in more musicals after this project), don’t be surprised if you find yourself humming a tune or two from the film on your way home. The musical number “Let it Go” not only displays the powerhouse talent of Menzel’s voice, but establishes the epic scale of the production.

The visuals are also an accomplishment of their own. For a film that takes place in a snow covered kingdom, the color array could not be more breathtaking. Mike Giaimo, Lisa Keene  and Brittney Lee, in charge of the Art Direction, traveled to Norway for inspiration, and not only translated its natural beauty to the mountain escapes and scenarios, but also studied how ice reacts to colored light. The result is nothing short of spectacular: it certainly becomes another welcomed character in the final product.

The rest of the cast is worth mentioning as well: Josh Gad as the charming and funny snowman “Olaf”, Jonathan Groff as the flawed yet brave “Kristoff”, and Santino Fontana as Anna’s love interest “Hans”, all of which contribute to a very well cast ensemble.

Frozen is the type of film that reminds us what succesful family features are made of: stunning and imaginatively visuals, gorgeous soundtrack, lots of humor, with beautifully written and performed main characters, who carry a story about values and the empowerment we can find through those who care about us, and ultimately, ourselves. I can’t think of nothing cooler than that.