There is much more to “Frozen” than Disney would have you believe. Based on the two United States teaser trailers Walt Disney Animation Studio has revealed so far, it’s easy for anyone to confuse the upcoming 3D animated film with a slapstick comedy. But that couldn’t be any further from the truth.
I recently attended a special 30-minute sneak preview of “Frozen.” Though I was initially disappointed I wasn’t going to be seeing the entire film, upon looking over the day’s event itinerary, that disappointment was quickly replaced with excitement as I was scheduled for an entire day at Walt Disney Animation Studios filled with opportunities to not only see a portion of the film but also talk with the talented artists and filmmakers who worked on it.
The day started with a screening of the short film that will be accompanying “Frozen” in theaters, called “Get a Horse!” starring Mickey Mouse. I’ll write more about the making of this short in a future article, but for now I’ll just include this note: If “Frozen” turned out to be complete garbage (it’s not!), audiences would easily want to pay the premium to see this short ahead of the film in 3D. Seriously. It’s that good.
The main attraction of the day was around 30 minutes of “Frozen,” several scenes from throughout the film with interstitial cards between to help tell the story. I went in not knowing too much about the film, only having seen the characters and preview short with the snowman (Olaf) and the reindeer (Sven), otherwise totally unaware of what the story was about.
Worry not. All impressions that follow are spoiler-free.
“Frozen” is absolutely gorgeous. The art design is fantastic throughout. Everything from the tiniest details on the costumes and buildings to vast mountain vistas is beautifully rendered. “Frozen” is a visual treat.
Usually I’d say a movie review that starts with praising the visuals is trying to find something positive to say, to make up for a story that doesn’t work. But in this case, this is not a review, as I only saw a handful of scenes. It wasn’t enough to know how well the story works, but what I did see had much to be praised.
While I didn’t quite grasp the full complexity of all the characters and their relationships and motivations, they seemed well developed and unique. This isn’t just a re-skin of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider of “Tangled” – despite the obvious similar character design.