(An edited version of this was first published in The New Indian Express)
Olaf the snowman is possibly one of the finest and funniest animated characters from Hollywood in a long time. He’s such a charming presence in an ensemble that overflows with charisma. He wastes no time with his wisecracks as he shows up in front of Princess Anna and Kristoff out of nowhere and looks at the ice trader and his reindeer and goes, “Who’s the donkey?…..And who’s the reindeer?“
Loosely based on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, Frozen is the latest animated feature from Walt Disney Animation Studios. It follows the story of the ice queen, Elsa, who’s on a self imposed exile thanks to her hapless attempts at controlling her ice powers. Young Anna takes it upon herself to save her sister on a journey consisting of snowmen, snow monsters, snow fractal images, trolls, dukes and reindeer.
Anna is voiced by Kristen Bell, the original Gossip Girl and brings in a similar feisty and audacious quality to a superbly written character. While displaying some traditional qualities of a Disney princess in matters of prettiness, royalty and love, Princess Anna of Arendelle is an otherwise dissident voice. And what a voice! The film segues into musicals at regular intervals and most of it is delightful. The main theme of For The First Time in Forever is wonderfully done and Reindeer Are Better Than People brings in the assured laughs. One of the hallmarks of this film is the fact that its male leads take the backstage and every important act in the film is performed by either of the female leads. The denouement reeks of predictability when we are first made aware of what’s coming but the film – along with Anna and Elsa – has something completely different in store for us. The women of Frozen are pure skookum.
Frozen has that lovely quality of surprising you at every step. It’s a regular Disney movie and suddenly it is not that Disney movie. It is a regular love story and suddenly it is not that love story. It is a regular fairy tale and suddenly it is not that fairy tale. It has its heart in the right place and its ambitions at a very high level. To paraphrase Princess Anna, “Go ahead and fall in love. I won’t judge.”