Disney has been trying to recapture the magic of their early ‘90s Golden Age for so long now that it didn’t seem like they had it in them. “Tangled” and its classic princess fairy tale has its ardent supporters, as does the hand-drawn animation and musical charm of “The Princess and the Frog.”
But now “Frozen” has done it. It’s not just big; it really is the biggest sensation to come out of the studio in near 20 years. And they’ve made it work because for once they’ve made a movie for the 21st Century. They made a movie not for the ‘90s kids but for the grown up ‘90s kids and the kids of the coming generation.
Yes, “Frozen” is big, beautiful, funny and cute, but it’s also quirky, awkward, progressive and dark. It’s everything a millennial kids classic should be.
Its character Anna isn’t a perfect and powerful “I am woman; hear me roar” princess but a perky screwball of a girl’s girl falling over herself in front of the cute guy and his horse but really just more interested in sisters, snowmen and saunas. While all the princesses feel relatable in their own way, Anna feels the closest to the 20 something just figuring her life out.
Its sidekick Olaf isn’t just quirky but is downright meme ready, clucking through lines like “Oh look, I’ve been impaled” with dumbfounded glee. He delivers each line with a big, blank smiley face just waiting to be filled and reattributed with randomness.
“Frozen”’s most progressive statement isn’t even taking sisters over love but in how it rightly celebrates imperfections. Stubby trolls sing about being a “fix-er-upper” and “Frozen”’s truly incredible signature song “Let it Go” belts “that perfect girl is gone”.
And yet “Frozen” best of all asks more of its kids than sunshine and happiness. Beginning with an accident, a parent’s death and a broken friendship, “Frozen” goes to some dark, frigid places and shrugs them off along the way as a part of growing up and developing into who you are. “The cold never bothered me anyway.”
“Frozen” is the best Disney movie in two decades because it’s the first film that could’ve only been made this decade. It helps that the animation is beautiful and glistening, that the comedy is silly and quotable and that the songs are Broadway gold. It may not even match the level of “Beauty and the Beast” or “The Little Mermaid,” but its imperfections are what make it so modern and so groundbreaking.
3 ½ stars