An adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson story “The Snow Queen,”Frozen” is the newest film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, and it may be the studio’s best since “Beauty and the Beast.”

(Related: 2014 Oscar Predictions: Best Animated Feature Preview)

 

The 86th Academy Award Winner for Best Animated Feature, “Frozen”, revolves around two orphaned princesses, Elsa and Anna. Elsa, the elder of the two, was born with a unique, strange, and powerful gift: she has the innate ability to create and manipulate ice.

(Related: BAFTA 2014 Awards Recap And Oscar Predictions)

 

The two are best friends as children, but after an accident caused by Elsa’s magic, Anna’s memory is erased, and she loses all knowledge of her sister’s power. Elsa goes into hiding in order to keep the magic a secret. After the death of her parents, she is the only one with knowledge of her ability.

(Related: 2014 Oscar Predictions: Who Will Win On Sunday Night)

 

On the day of her coronation as queen, Elsa is pushed to the edge, and her powers are revealed to the entirety of the kingdom. She is immediately shunned as a villain and chased off by the crowd. This outburst leads Elsa to accidentally throw the kingdom into a permanent winter, and it is up to Elsa to find her sister and bring summer back to the people of Arandelle.

 

“Frozen” is a beautiful film. Disney has made digital animations before, but this one stands head and shoulders above the rest. Every shot, every moment contains some element of visual wonder that you can’t help but sit back and marvel at. From the snow, to the characters, to this world, “Frozen” is an absolutely stunning piece of filmmaking.

(Related: The 86th Academy Awards Biggest Winners)

 

As a musical, “Frozen” succeeds on solid songwriting and incredible voice talent, particularly from Idina Menzel. A broadway actress and singer, Menzel won a Tony back in 2005 for her portrayal of Elphaba in the musical “Wicked.” It is no wonder why she was cast here, as she is playing an wicked witch-like character, and her voice works perfectly for Elsa.

 

Both in terms of narrative and theme, “Frozen” is one of the best and most satisfying films Disney has made. The story moves along at a solid pace, and it isn’t afraid to go places you wouldn’t expect. Often, Disney films can be predictable, even formulaic. That is not at all the case with “Frozen,” and co-director/screenwriter Jennifer Lee deserves major applause for what she did with this script.

(Related: Film Director Profile: Jennifer Lee)

 

This might also be Disney’s most powerfully feminist animation yet. While in most of the Disney princess films it is necessary for a man to save the damsel in distress, in “Frozen” it is all up to the ladies to save the day. They are the strongest characters in the film, and they are who you end up rooting for.

 

The message shouldn’t drive a film, and it doesn’t here, but teaching young girls to be strong and independent is a good thing. This is something that “Frozen” does quite well.

 

All in all, “Frozen” is an excellent animation. Far better than their previous princess film, “Tangled.” There are a few moments of dullness and some of the humor is rather bland, but it doesn’t keep “Frozen” from being one of the better Disney princess films to date. –3.5/4

 

Do you have a favorite Disney film? What is it? Let me know in the comments below.