Disney’s canon films are almost always very good, and even the misses have their high points. Frozen is Disney’s first film since Wreck-It Ralph and it continues the trend of using computer animation, rather than the traditional 2D hand-drawn animation that Disney was once known for. Billed as a musical – it certainly delivers on that promise with numerous songs and routines throughout the entire movie.

While you may have come for the top-billed movie, there’s a magical animated Disney short that runs during the previews that’s well worth the price of admission alone. Entitled Get a Horse!, the short features Mickey Mouse and is the first original animated theatrical Mickey short to feature since the mid-1990s. Mickey and Minnie share a leisurely musical wagon ride until Peg-Leg Pete shows up and raises havoc.

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The black & white animated 2D short then becomes a strange amalgamation between 3D and 2D, with characters flipping back and forth between the two animated dimensions throughout the short. The animation is superbly done and I can only imagine if you were watching the 3D version of the print with 3D glasses that the mixture of 3D and 2D effects would look even better. The storyline of the short is concluded satisfactorily, and then the interlude to Frozen begins.

Frozen is at its essence, a love story about two sisters. One sister was born with the gift to control ice/snow, to create it out of thin air and both are the royal princesses of their kingdom. An accident occurs and the eldest sister becomes a recluse in an attempt to control her powers. The King and Queen soon succumb in a sailing tragedy, forcing the princesses to inherit the throne faster than expected. A royal ball is then thrown for the coronation of the eldest.

Despite lacking more plot elements than most animated Disney films, Frozen manages to move its plot along with all the musical numbers stuffed in throughout the narrative. We’re able to experience the traditional Disney roller-coaster ride with elements from previous movies sprinkled throughout the story. The animation is superb and while it was prepared in 3D, the 2D version (as was the version I viewed) is still excellent. I do wish that there was more of a narrative and less of the musical numbers, but the film was designed as a musical and it remains so.

Recommended, even if you’re unable to fully enjoy the musical numbers. Frozen is a more than acceptable entry into the Disney canon, but it doesn’t reach the upper pantheon of films for me. It manages to blend the trademark lightheartedness of the supporting characters to the storyline with the Bambi-esque tragedy that permeates the entire film. Probably one of the most unrealistic and realistic portrayals of a familial relationship in the Disney canon. Your heart almost breaks for the younger sister striving to reconnect with her beloved older sister, despite being rebuffed and pushed away at every turn.

MPAA Rating: PG
Rating: (***)
Directors: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Studio: Disney

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