For this year’s Christmas movie outing we saw Frozen (2013), a beautifully animated musical from Disney. In the kingdom of Arendelle, the elder daughter of the king and queen, Elsa (Idina Menzel), secretly possesses the power to create and control ice and snow. When her powers accidentally injure her little sister Anna (Kristen Bell), Elsa is sequestered from everyone to and keep her magic a secret from the world. Years later this strategy backfires when tragedy forces Elsa’s ascension to the throne — and an emotional encounter with Anna causes her to lose control of her powers in a very public way. In the middle of summer, she casts Arendelle into a deep freeze and runs away. Anna, determined to regain her sister’s love and save the kingdom, sets off after her.
I wasn’t particularly enamored of the musical numbers, but overall Frozen is pretty great, particularly in its gorgeous visuals: the world is beautifully rendered, with sweeping vistas and memorable setpieces. There’s a great mix of humor and heart, the characters are nicely defined and likeable, and there’s a refreshing message from its female heroes. There are also some surprising and structurally satisfying plot twists late in the story. This type of film isn’t generally in my wheelhouse, but I quite enjoyed it — an entertaining and well executed film.