Here's the deal. I was raised during the Disney renaissance. I saw Ariel's first steps, Simba lose his father, and Aladdin take Jasmine on the first magic carpet ride. When Tangled came out a few years ago, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It felt like an old school Disney musical all shiny and fresh, and with this year's Frozen, I feel like they replicate their success. If not improve on it.
Elsa has always had the power to turn things to ice with her touch. As a young girl, she would perform her magic for her sister Anna with a childish glee. After Elsa accidentally hits Anna with her magic as kids, her father encourages her to hide her powers, and Elsa and Anna become estranged. You know, even though they live in the same castle, but I am not complaining. After Elsa comes of age, she is crowned queen. Her party afterwards, however, turns dark when an argument breaks out between Elsa and Anna and Elsa's powers are revealed to everyone in Arendelle. Immediately branded a witch, Elsa flees to the mountains and isolates herself (or ICE-olates...no?) in order to prevent harm on anyone else.
Anna rides into the mountains to get her sister to thaw out Arendelle. She is met along the way with a studly, strapping ice seller named Kristoff (charmingly voiced by the yummy Jonathan Groff) and his humorous reindeer pal, Sven. He wants Anna to get Anna to melt everything, because he will be out of a job. Anna and Kristoff also meet Olaf, a summer-obsessed snowman voiced by Josh Gad.
As many people have may or may not have heard, I am obsessed with Olaf. He has a love of life and optimistic verve that charmed the pants off me. All the credit goes to Gad who provides hilarous voice work. I am seriously looking for an Olaf action figure, so I can put him on my desk at work. Sorry, I'm not sorry. All of the actors are fun to listen to in Frozen.
The music is also a high point. Robert Lopez and wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez create a strong anthem for Elsa with "Let it Go," and "In Summer" (sung my Olaf) had me laughing the entire way through. My only complaint with "Let It Go" is that it made me want to see Elsa get a music career. You don't hire Idina Menzel for nothing, and she definitely doesn't sound like any Disney princess I've ever heard.
Frozen overtakes Tangled for me, because while it remains true to the musical Disney roots of the 1990's, it defies the princess conventions. These sisters are strong role models for young girls who are not obsessed with men, and they aren't two dimensional characters. The whole movie warmed my heart.