Ever since she was a girl, Elsa (Idina Menzel), princess of Arendelle, has had literally chilling powers. With a wave of her hand she can cover everything around her in ice and snow. However, when her frosty abilities nearly kill her sister, Anna (Kristen Bell), Elsa is confined to a room in her castle, not to emerge until she comes of age for her queenly coronation. On that day, unsurprisingly, things go very awry: Arendelle is covered in a seemingly permanent frost, Elsa runs off into the mountainous hinterlands, and Anna—with the assistance of overly friendly royal Hans (Santino Fontana), überhandsome ice vendor Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and sentient snowman Olaf (Josh Gad)—sets out to find her estranged sister and put things right.
This colorful yet labored Walt Disney musical production (a loose adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story "The Snow Queen") is likewise attempting a kind of course-correct. Plasticine CG animation aside, Frozen might have been produced during the Mouse House’s early-to-mid-'90s heyday, when the studio breathed new life into its fantastical tales of lovelorn sovereigns, ethereal beauties and misunderstood beasts and, with composers like Alan Menken and Elton John on staff, gave Broadway superproductions a run for their money. Sad to say, the magic is missing here: The songs by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez are admittedly catchy, notably Menzel’s showstopping, self-actualizing ballad "Let It Go," but the story—aside from a climax that plays like a too-knowing rebuke to Disney formula—goes tediously through the motions. It isn’t only Papa Walt’s head that’s been put on ice.
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