Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

January 3, 2014

'Frozen' is predicable, magical, kid-centered fun

By Rob Cox
Daily News

---- — FROM A TEXAS MULTIPLEX — With “Frozen” being a Disney fairytale (loosely based on “The Snow Queen”), there’s never any doubt how things will end. That said, this film is everything one expects from a family-oriented, animated Disney epic. It’s funny, uplifting, reasonably well written and visually stunning.

The film’s musical numbers are energetic and well done, too, and never become overly long, making for a tolerable balance between narrative and musical storytelling.

The story revolves around two princesses, one of whom – Elsa (Idina Menzel) – is cursed with the ability to manipulate and create ice and snow. Early on, Elsa’s younger sister – Anna (Kristen Bell) – is accidentally injured by Elsa’s powers when the two are children and is saved through the intervention of a tribe of magic trolls. The tribe’s leader (Ciarán Hinds) decrees that Anna’s memory of Elsa’s powers must be magically erased; her magic is too dangerous and must remain secret.

Thus begins a life of painful isolation for Arendelle’s royal heir, with a great wedge developing between the sisters as they grow into early adulthood. Things turn tragic when the pair’s parents are accidentally killed, making Elsa queen. At the celebration of her ascendency, a spat between the sisters leaves Elsa’s powers exposed to all. She’s branded a monster and flees to a mountaintop, where she creates a castle of ice and isolation.

In the process of escaping, however, Elsa inadvertently plunges Arendelle into never-ending winter. Anna still believes in her sister, though, so she departs into the wintery wilds, hoping to reconnect with Elsa, end eternal winter and bring Elsa back to Arendelle, where one and all will see she’s no monster.

“Frozen” has issues with character development that bugged me; worse, about three-fourths through, one of the primary characters exhibits a major, unexpected, inconsistent shift in motivation.

I’m tempted to discuss those weaknesses at length, but, in the final analysis, they don’t matter. “Frozen’s” target audience won’t care one iota about character inconsistencies or a general lack of development.

This film is loaded with princes and princesses, trolls, castles, royal intrigue, romantic snowy landscapes, and magic (both visually and narratively). There’s also an enchanted, heroic snowman (Josh Gad) who’s funny enough to “melt” Frosty’s heart out.

At its core, the story is about the magic of family and about how those ties can bind us closer than any enchantment. In its own limited way, the film also explores the universal concern of finding true love, with a strong suggestion that, in the end, even that pursuit is secondary to the importance of family.

Here’s what really matters: Children will adore this film and adults will find it charming enough and sufficiently sophisticated to enjoy. It’s certainly not a date-night movie or a movie most adults will want to see without kids. If you have kids, though – or nieces or nephews – you certainly won’t be sorry for taking them to this film.

Rating: Howl

Score: 85/100

Runtime: 102 minutes

Rated PG for no discernable reason

Rating System Explained: Rabies = 0; Yip = *; Bark = **; Howl = ***; Lone-wolf howl = ****; Leader of the pack = *****

Contact: Rob Cox 812-663-3111 x7011; robert.cox@greensburgdailynews.com