In which Disney's marketing department was struck by the revelation: If we have two
female leads, we can sell twice as many dolls!
This began its long production history as an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen
, but in the 10+ year journey to the screen, which included a total shelving of the project at one point, all the remains is the basic idea of a woman with ice powers (as well as three characters named Hans, Kristoff, and Anna, which seems like a nod to Andersen). What they've replaced it with is very different, and rather more traditional in a number of respects, but it's a lot of fun, and another strong piece of work from Disney. The animation is beautiful, and the characterization is some of Disney's best.
My main reservation is the music, which has been one of the weaker points of the 00s revival of animated musicals. This, Tangled
and The Princess and the Frog
generally have one or two really strong numbers, and the remainder being mainly functional. But then, there's a lot of people who really love this soundtrack, so there's room for disagreement there.
Also, casting Jonathan Groff and not giving him any real songs is bizarre. It's like when they cast Idina Menzel in Enchanted
and yet she didn't sing anything -- here, obviously, she gets a few (and brings some strong Wicked
overtones to the proceedings). Kristen Bell also gets to sing on film, after various Broadway/Off-Broadway roles, and as a Veronica Mars
fan it's nice to see her in something I'm interested in seeing.