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dir Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
scr Jennifer Lee
prd Peter Del Vecho
voices Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk, Ciaran Hinds, Chris Williams, Stephen J Anderson, Maia Wilson, Edie McClurg, Robert Pine
release US 27.Nov.13, UK 6.Dec.13
13/US Disney 1h48
Let's have a singalong! Anna, Olaf and Kristoff
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|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Based on Hans Christian Andersen's story The Snow Queen, this animated adventure lifts the strong female perspective of Pixar's Brave to reinvent the usual orphaned Disney princesses. And while the formulaic elements get rather cloying, the strong characters and gorgeously icy animation win us over.
Princess Elsa (Menzel) has grown up with the ability to turn anything she touches to ice. But she has to hide this from everyone, including her younger sister Anna (Bell). When Anna meets her perfect man in Hans (Fontana), newly crowned Queen Elsa loses control of her powers, plunging the kingdom into an endless winter. When Elsa flees to hide in the mountains, Anna heads out to find her, getting help from delivery boy Kristoff (Groff) and his cheeky reindeer. They are also joined by Elsa's latest creation, the chatty snowman Olaf (Gad).
Aside from the need for a goofy snowman who makes dopey jokes and sings silly songs, the film feels fresh as it centres on two proactive women. Anna may long for a handsome prince, but she'll only accept him on her terms. And the plot has several startling twists and turns that inject unexpected darkness. There are also a number of Broadway-style musical numbers and spectacularly animated set-pieces that make us shiver at wondrously rendered snow and ice.
Cleverly, the story works on several levels, as it explores issues of bullying and teen responsibility, as well as the more obvious theme of putting the things that define you to use rather than hiding them away. Along with the empowered characters, this helps us overlook the girls' stereotypical Barbie-doll figures and the boys' leggy muscle-man physiques. Not to mention the wacky sidekicks, shadowy villains and other non-subtle touches.
It's the lack of these simplistic elements that sets Pixar above everyone else. But then, these Disney-style characters make nicer cuddly toys. And this story has depth as well as visual intensity to hold us in its grip. We can't help but sympathise with these beautifully drawn characters (and cringe from the ugly ones), so we are genuinely taken aback along the way as Anna and Elsa go through a range of complex emotions. And we might just find ourselves singing along with that snowman too.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2013 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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