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Film Review Frozen

From left, Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell), Olaf (Josh Gad) and Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) are featured in "Frozen."

“Frozen” is one of the most solid family films of 2013. And here it is, just in time for the holiday season — perfect timing on Disney’s part.

It’s darned near as good as “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Little Mermaid.” It’s a true musical, with production numbers almost as dazzling as the gorgeous animation. (Incidentally, it will be wise to see this in 3-D because the experience is well worth it.)

You may have been led to believe that Olaf (the voice of Josh Gad, Broadway’s “Book of Mormon”), the goofy, motor-mouthed snowman, is the star of the show. He’s comic relief, however, to the tale of two estranged sisters based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen.” 

The first scene is simply breathtaking as workers cut cubes from the ice to a haunting Frode Fjellheim choir/chant tune, "Eatnemen Vuelie," by the Cantus Choir. It's the perfect imagery to introduce a little boy, an adorable baby reindeer and two loving sisters who are born into royalty.

Anna (voice of Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel, Broadway’s “Wicked”) spend happy times together during their younger years. But after an accident that is caused by Elsa’s often-uncontrollable magical power, the two girls grow up separately, although they live in the same castle. How the separation finally tears them apart and affects the entire village involves Kristoff (Jonathan Groff, “The Conspirator”), a handsome ice-cutter; Elsa’s betrothed, Hans (Santino Fontana); a smart reindeer named Sven and yes, Olaf.

Disney is at its best when it’s working with classic stories and/or fairy tales (think “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Snow White” and “Cinderella”). The husband-and-wife team of Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez worked on the songs for about two years, and it’s evident that they studied the classic tunes penned by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman for previous Disney films.

Directors Chris Buck (“Surf’s Up” and “Tarzan”) and Jennifer Lee of “Wreck-It Ralph” renown are a great team who have wrought a heart-tugging, emotional story with a memorable look. The songs include Demi Lovato’s rendition of “Let It Go” through the end credits (which, incidentally, are worth sitting through for a brief but enjoyable seconds-long final scene).

This reminded me of so many Disney movies from the 1990s. It’s so much fun to watch, let alone hear. Look at the texture of the characters’ hair and the reindeer’s fur, as well as the incredible renderings of its landscapes, to see the highest quality in the art of animation.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, or the age of the people you plan to accompany. Just see it and treat yourself to a sparkling treasure of a film.

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Film critic/reporter since 1985 at Quad-City Times. Society of Professional Journalists, Broadcast Film Critics Association and Alliance of Women Film Journalists member. Member of St. Mark Lutheran Church.