Francesca Rudkin

Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie review: Frozen

Anna, voiced by Kristen Bell, goes to the rescue in Frozen.
Anna, voiced by Kristen Bell, goes to the rescue in Frozen.

Verdict: Disney puts a modern twist on the princess fairy tale

Old-school musical numbers, feisty princesses, funny sidekicks and a mix of action, comedy and romance come together in Frozen, a Disney animation that works hard to keep everyone happy.

Loosely based on the Hans Christian Anderson fairytale The Snow Queen, Frozen is what you expect from a Disney film, with added twists for a contemporary feel.

Two big-eyed, long-haired princesses are at the centre of the story, with Elsa (Menzel) and her young sister Anna (Bell) - perhaps inspired last year's Brave - feistier and more empowered than your average Disney princess. They run the emotions from fury to despair and happiness to vulnerability, and, most importantly, they're the kind of girls who solve their own problems.

The story whips through Elsa and Anna's backstory up to Elsa's coronation day, where she reveals her hidden magical power - turning things into ice.

Terrified she will hurt people, especially her sister, she flees the kingdom to live in solitude in the mountains, unaware the kingdom is covered in ice.

Anna goes in search of her sister, determined to save her and the kingdom.

That the title doesn't reveal this is a film about princesses (like its predecessors Tangled and Brave) is intentional - there's plenty here for boys as well. There's the square-jawed good guy, ice merchant Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his reindeer Sven, who help Anna through the mountains, and adorable Olaf the Snowman (Glad), who is sweet, simple and hilarious.

There are also mountains to climb, a large snow monster (which looks remarkably like a Lego Rock Monster), and enormous storms to survive - all brought to life by beautiful animation that's sharp and detailed, with 3D used to make the most of the climatic conditions.

The musical numbers, by award-winning husband and wife team Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, carry the girls' emotions, starting with a number inspired by The Lion King.

Frozen makes a determined effort to entertain young and old, boys and girls, and it succeeds, with a touch of tragedy adding to the typical Disney messages. The result is a film with plenty of heart and a modern twist.

Cast: Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel
Director: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Running time: 108 mins
Rating: G


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