Nobody does old-fashioned like Disney; decades after Snow White and Cinderella made their debuts, its princesses were still swooning over stuffed shirts and getting mice to tie their laces. It took more than 60 years for Walt’s girls to start fighting their own battles, but no sooner had Tangled made the damsel a little less distressed than Frozen comes along, with a glittery, spectacular and oh-so-wide-eyed musical extravaganza that puts the princess right back in the tower.
Fair enough, this one has two princesses instead of one. Anna (Kristen Bell), a ditsy cutie-pie who loves to sing, and big sister Elsa (Idina Menzel), who is cursed with the power to turn anything she touches to ice.
The girls inherit the throne when their parents get swept out to sea, just before Elsa accidentally freezes the whole kingdom, gets banished to the top of a mountain and transforms herself into an evil, vajazzled ice-queen. So, enlisting the help of lumberjack Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), talking snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) and a mute reindeer, Anna skips off to talk Elsa down.
Frozen is Disney’s highest-grossing animation of all time, and it’s easy to see why. Box-ticking, technically brilliant and boasting one of the most annoyingly catchy songs ever (‘Let It Go’), the film works hard to perfect the fairytale formula.
Bell’s quick-fire quirk beams through Anna’s dimpled cheeks, Gad’s hilarious, madca(m)p snowman steals every line, and there’s enough fairy dust heaped over the musical set-pieces to keep even the most inattentive tots glued to the screen.
With the boys tripping over their feet and the girls giggling in the corner, it’s hard to work out who the hero is; a neat twist in the final act offers a glimmer of hope regarding the overthrown feminism, but it’s still more sparkly slush than diamond ice.
Racing onto DVD before it’s barely finished its Christmas run in multiplexes, Frozen comes with all the usual trimmings on disc – but it’s the retro-themed Mickey Mouse short Get A Horse that reminds us what Disney is really capable of when it’s not trying so hard to drive a snowplough through the box office.
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