Frozen-great children's movie


Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk

Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee

Runtime: 108 min.

COLLEGE SQUARE MALL SHOWTIMES: 9:10, 9:45, 12:20, 2:50, 5:20, 8 and 10:35 p.m.

Your first pimple; an unbecoming birthmark; a stutter in your voice; a limp in your step. Perhaps these are problems that plague many children, alienate them and make them feel like outsiders.

In Frozen, Elsa is self-conscious of her ability to conjure ice. She can build a snowman on demand, construct a snow fortress or drastically drop the temperature of a room.

She can also inflict harm on those she loves.

And that is how Frozen begins: Elsa accidentally strikes her sister Anna in the head with a stream of ice while innocently playing around. Their parents cure Anna by visiting some magical trolls who remove the ice from her brain.

Anna and Elsa only have each other — they are locked away in a castle because Elsa must learn to control her ever-growing, potentially dangerous powers. Elsa and Anna used to play with each other everyday, but now Elsa hides herself from Anna, fearful she’ll harm her sister once again.

This selfless act reinterprets the pressures children face regarding their socially abnormal quirks. Frozen takes very familiar angst among children and deconstructs it on an unfamiliar level.

For Elsa, her personal oddity not only distances her from most people, but also exacts damage on loved ones. Any child can recognize how easy it is to push away those who don’t understand their problems, and that’s why children will connect with Frozen.

The great thing about Frozen is that the filmmakers reinterpret this fear on magical, adventurous, romantic and hilarious levels. Children can stare in awe as Elsa runs away from home and builds an ice fortress around herself—an extreme expression of solitude and isolation. But children can also root for Anna to race through the forest and break through Elsa’s icy walls and prove that love conquers all fears.

Frozen also features a romance between Anna and Kristoff, who joins Anna on her journey of retrieving her sister. Once again, the film never abandons the core family values at hand, as Elsa’s emotional blockade sends Anna into depression, fearful she cannot rekindle their past friendship. Thus, her inability to be friends with Anna’s impedes her ability to truly love Kristoff.

Along this journey of learning to accept oneself, Anna and Kristoff encounter Olaf, a short, goofy snowman Anna and Elsa built as children who has now come to life. Olaf is a constant reminder of the friendship Anna desperately seeks to reignite, but he’s also the funniest character in the film.

Olaf reminds me of why Disney animated films will always put Dreamworks films to shame. Films like “Despicable Me” and “Megamind” rely on abuse and physically hurting others for laughs. “Frozen” completely relies upon dialogue, comedic timing, and character quirks for its humor.

The minions in Despicable Me rely on a hurting each other to remain relevant. Olaf, on the other hand, practically speaks directly to the children, trying to make them laugh, but also reminding them why Anna and Elsa’s love can cure all evil.

Frozen also features many breathtaking musical numbers. Just like other recent Disney animated features, such as Tangled and The Princess and the Frog, Frozen employs two actresses with singing chops: the talented Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel, who starred in the Broadway musical Rent and a number of episodes of Glee.

Josh Gad is also notable as Olaf. Gad starred in the Tony award winning musical The Book of Mormon, and he brings his knack for mixing comedy and music to “Frozen.”

For whatever drawbacks Frozen owns, such as the lame use of 3-D, the film remains absolutely recommendable for its focus on the children in the audience. It’s honest, heartfelt and funny, and adults will undoubtedly recognize the deeper emotional resonance a film like this serves.

Travis Bean lives in Cedar Falls and enjoys writing about films.