John Hanlon Reviews

Film Reviews


Genre: Action and Adventure, Comedy, Family

Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

Cast: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk, Ciarán Hinds

MPAA-Rating: PG

Release Date: November 27th, 2013

The new animated comedy Frozen proves that Disney still has the filmmaking magic that previously inspired classics like Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. The new film combines witty comedy, sildenafil catchy musical numbers and a unique story that will keep families entertained. It’s one of the best animated films of the year and easily one of Disney’s best animated films in years.

The story focuses on the relationship between two royal sisters who live with their parents in a massive castle. As children, future Queen Elsa (Eva Bella) spends most of the time with her mischievous sister Anna (Livvy Stubenrauch). The two are nearly inseparable but during a day of playful fun, Elsa— who has the ability to freeze anything at a moment’s notice— accidentally hurts her sister, knocking the innocent Anna unconscious.

Worried about Elsa’s mysterious power, the sibling’s parents ask Elsa to stay away from Anna so Elsa— unselfishly looking out for her sister— locks herself away, hiding her powers from Anna (who can’t remember the incident) and keeping her safe.

For several heartbreaking years, Elsa avoids her sister (who simply wants to build a snowman with her) and the castle is locked down to prevent people from knowing about Elsa’s strange powers but eventually, the gates are opened up for Elsa’s coronation to the throne. An argument breaks out during the party and Elsa accidentally freezes the kingdom and runs away from the uncaring townspeople who believe she’s a freak. It’s then left to Anna (now voiced by Kristen Bell) to find her sister (Idina Menzel) to end the long winter.

The plot revolves around Anna’s search to find her sister. Despite becoming engaged to the charming Prince Hans (Santino Fontana) at the coronation, Anna quickly befriends a jovial goofball named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), who sells ice for a living (poor occupation to have during a long winter). The two bicker and laugh as they travel through the woods encountering strange creatures– including Kristoff’s own family–along the way. A wonderfully naïve snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad) joins the entourage, stealing nearly every scene he’s in.

The comedy here is wonderful, wrapping audiences in a warm blanket of cute jokes and hilarious bits (a segment featuring Olaf dreaming about a life during the summer is particularly memorable). The songs are likewise enchanting and could easily remind audiences of some of Disney’s best musical moments. Some of the original music here arrived courtesy of Tony winner Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who both do incredible jobs creating musical numbers that are easy to enjoy and engaging enough to get audiences tapping their feet to them.

In a wide variety of ways, Frozen stands out in the animated category. Its focus on siblings—rather than one woman pursuing a prince— gives the plot an unlikely newness while its impressive songs fill it with an exuberance that captures the spirit of the story. Musical films are often restricted by the numbers that seem to be forced in. Here, they are part of the story’s essential plot. For that and more, Frozen is a wonderful family film and should be celebrated as such. It’s one of the year’s best films and a great family one to check out this holiday season.


Review by: John Hanlon