3 Stars — Wholesome
The morality play of the animated film Frozen is surprisingly sophisticated. The danger comes not because of evil but because of a sister's attempt to protect her sibling, and the evil that is present is that of a murderous ambition for power or wealth.
The creation of this tale began with the inspiration of Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen, but it is worked into its modern form by the writing trio of Chris Buck (Pocahontas), Jennifer Lee (Wreck-It Ralph) and Shane Morris. The decision to have Buck and Lee co-direct the film provides an obvious coherence in the vision and the tale.
The central characters of this story revolve around two princesses whose royal family hides a terrifying secret: The oldest, Elsa (voice by Kristen Bell), can create ice and snow. When a childhood accident caused by Elsa's power almost costs her sister Anna (Idina Menzel) her life, the king and queen decide to hide Elsa from both her sister and the world, closing the gates of the castle.
When the girls are still young, the King and Queen are killed and now Elsa must come out of seclusion and be the queen of the land. But at the coronation, her power becomes known and she flees into the mountains to live in self-imposed isolation in an ice-palace of her own creation. However, Anna will not let her stay isolated but ventures alone into the cold to find her. It is this sisterly devotion that drives the tale.
Other characters involved are the charming Prince Hans (Santino Fontana) and the daring Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) with his reindeer steed, as well as the terrifying though comical Olaf (Josh Gad). Together they weave a tale of love, betrayal, courage and sacrifice that communicates the moral message that only self-sacrificing love can heal the frozen heart. This message is a worthy one and makes Frozen a film worth seeing.
» What did you expect the act of true love to be? Did you think it would be true-love's kiss? Why or why not?
» The analogy of an eternal winter with no summer is a frequent one in literature. Why do you think that reference resonates with us?
» The love that Anna has for her sister almost costs her life. Do you believe the film created enough background for the depth of this love or do we assume that sisters would be willing to die for one another? Why do you answer as you do?
— Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is a former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church, 1435 Cliff Drive. For more reviews, visit www.cinemainfocus.com, or follow them on Twitter: @CinemaInFocus. The opinions expressed are their own.