Director: Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee
Frozen bears all the Disney hallmarks, except in this case, rather than having one princess, there are two, which means there could also be two hunky heroes as well. There's the comedy sidekick, the trusty steed who behaves (but doesn't speak) like a human and villagers aplenty. What the film lacks, and I think it really sags for it, is a villain. While we are given the whole psychology of the elder princess, who serves the function of villain without really becoming it, we are without that binary presentation of evil that most fairy stories thrive upon. And because there is no clear presentation of good vs. evil, we are presented with a bit more of an adult story, but without it actually feeling adult. Take Jafar out of Aladdin and have him only tempted by his inner demons of greed, and you lose that real sense of urgency, don't you?
The film is a musical, sticking to the fairytale Disney formula, but while the songs are perfectly adequate, they are little more than that. I didn't come away humming any of the songs, there are none that I now want to hear again; gone are the days when the music in a Disney film was treated like a Broadway musical, with as much emphasis on the orchestration and arrangement as there was to the animation itself. The songs feel separate to the plot, surplus to any real need for either character or storyline, and they serve as just distractions... Which is exactly what the songs in a Disney film shouldn't be.
However, saying all of this, I found Frozen an eminently watchable and entertaining film. Unlike a lot of animated films nowadays that almost seem insulting to the intelligence of those poor parents accompanying their children to the cinema, this was a film with adult themes that contained moments aimed at us too. This is where Pixar and, in their day, Disney excel and set themselves apart from other animation studios. Yes, this is a very niche children's film (ie. girls who like pink and tiaras), but it's a perfect family and festive film. If I ignore the snowman, forgive the songs and forget the ice palace that looks like a glistening purple chasm from Final Fantasy, I liked it. However, there is indeed a talking snowman, some really dull songs and a stupid glacial CGI setpiece that looks like a very cold game of Tomb Raider. It's fine, but I expect more from this once giant studio who, in my lifetime, were the absolute masters at the art of animation. Now, they are still but mere also-rans, tailing glumly behind Pixar.