Reviewed by Samantha Ho
Rated PG. Starring the voices of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff. Directed by Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee.
Let it go, let it go, can’t hold it back anymore – singing along to Frozen that is.
Months forward from the release of Frozen in cinemas, I still see videos, posts and blogs from people reminiscing the film’s musical glory. Even if you haven’t watched it (why wouldn’t you?), you’re probably in the same position as me – waiting for the film’s admiring fans to just, you know, quieten down and get back to the better things in life.
But people aren’t quietening down. How can a film be so popular after months of being a box office smash? It’s raked in over one billion dollars and is certified as the highest-grossing animated film of all time. The songs are catchy; the design enchanting; but I think there’s more than meets the eye than just a ‘winter wonderland’.
Frozen follows the story of two close sisters, Anna (Bell) and Elsa (Menzel), whose relationship turns ice-cold as Elsa’s magical ice powers injure Anna and thus isolates Elsa from living with her. However when a rare opportunity arises for the two to be reunited, a freak accident occurs, which leaves the city of Arendelle blanketed in ice. In order to find freedom from her lonely chambers, Elsa runs away from the town, leaving her sister distraught and saddened. So with the help of mountaineer Kristoff (Groff) and snowman Olaf (Josh Gad), Anna seeks to bring back summer to both her town Arendelle, and to Elsa’s cold heart.
But, doesn’t that sound like your typical fairytale? I mean, if you’ve got a damsel in distress, hunky prince (Hans, played by Santino Fontana) and talking mythical creatures, at best you might have ‘another movie that the kids will enjoy’.
I think Frozen, however, is a slightly daring challenge to what we’ve seen in animation films in years gone by. Anna has elements of courage and boldness yet is a klutz like most of us. Elsa, whilst amiable and noble, is not always gentle-natured nor considerate. Kristoff is resourceful and helpful, but he’s not the average knight-in-shining-armour.
Perhaps, the reason why people admire Frozen so much (apart from the soundtrack!), is because the characters are relatable.
But what’s more enticing is the characters’ struggle. Whilst Elsa thought she could take control of her ice magic, her powers sought to destroy her life, and her relationships. She was stuck with her mantra, ‘conceal, don’t feel’ – but to what avail?
Such a destructive force reminds me of the power of sin. Sin isolates people from their loved ones. Sin shows the evil within ourselves to destroy. And the more the power of sin is harnessed, the harder it is to control. What can help restore the frosty city?
Pabble: Only true love can thaw a frozen heart.
Anna: I don’t even know what love is.
Olaf: That’s okay. I do. Love is putting someone else’s needs before yours.
For a Disney film, my heart melted to the almost crystal-clear view of the gospel. How that happens in the film, well, you’ve gotta check it out for yourself.
What Frozen reminded me of, though, is how much we can see an act of true love in Jesus Christ – although He was God, sought to live a life of laying down his life for enemies – truly that is the most wonderful act of ‘true love’:
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)
Watching this film warmed me, knowing the possibilities for people to understand what true love looks like. The love that we know in Jesus is beyond what’s usually seen on the big screen; but Frozen is on the right path of showing us what that looks like in our relationships.
So is Frozen to be considered a Disney classic? For innovation and creativity, I’ve gotta give Frozen a 4.5 out of 5. I’m going to be watching it again and again on DVD, with the lyrics in hand.
Frozen is available on Blu-Ray, DVD and streaming on Quickflix.