Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 2013. Walt Disney Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures. Story by Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Shane Morris, additional story by Dean Wellins, Screenplay by Jennifer Lee, inspired by the story The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen. Produced by Peter Del Vecho. Music by Christophe Beck. Production Design by David Womersley. Film Editing by Jeff Draheim. Academy Awards 2013. Golden Globe Awards 2013. New York Film Critics Awards 2013. Washington Film Critics Awards 2013.
Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen is given a thorough working over in this uneven but fully enjoyable Disney tale. Two sisters are raised separately in the palace of their kingdom, elder sister Elsa (Idina Menzel) locked away in her room to hide her strange powers to turn everything into ice, while younger sister Anna (Kristen Bell) wonders why she never gets to see her beloved sibling. When their parents die in a disaster at sea, the girls are reunited at the coronation ceremony of Elsa, who accidentally reveals her strange abilities and runs away into the snowy wilds of the surrounding countryside, suspected of witchcraft by her people and completely unaware that she has left her kingdom covered in perpetual winter. Now it is up to Anna to find her in her remote ice castle atop a mountain (I get that they don’t want to show that there are no toilets, but there’s not even furniture at this place) and restore things to rights. Her adventure gains her the companionship of a hilarious Josh Gad as the airheaded magical snowman who wants to know what summer is like, and a loveable lunk of an ice man (Jonathan Groff) whose business has gone south with the weather; Anna is already engaged to a handsome prince she met that very day, so she is quite capable of enjoying this young man’s company without letting it get mushy. There isn’t enough conflict in this story as the villainy is kept to a minimum and the excitement is barely there, but the film’s biggest flaw is a painful collection of dull songs that make for the worst score of an animated film since Quest For Camelot. That said, there are pleasures to it, particularly its bouncy pace and stultifying animation, which will genuinely convince you that ice is forming on the screen.