8 Things Parents Should Know About Disney’s Frozen

frozen523797d0f0bb91. Will my kids like it?

Yes! The odds are your kids will be able to relate to Anna, the chief protagonist, in her struggle to save the two things she loves most in the world — her home of Arendelle and her sister Elsa — from each other. That she’s quirky and a bit awkward will no doubt help. Kids can’t fail to enjoy Kristoff (the chief male character) in his interactions with Sven, his trusty reindeer companion, as they’re among the funniest parts of the film. The snowman character Olaf, whom I’m sure you and your kids have seen in the unavoidable merchandising for the film, doesn’t really appear (he sort of does, but he doesn’t really — you’ll understand when you see it) until well into the story, which might frustrate some kids if they were particularly looking forward to seeing him, but there’s enough entertainment until that point that I doubt many will care much.

2. Will I like it?

I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t. The characters all have some depth to them — even Olaf the snowman, who could easily have just been goofy comic relief. You will actually care about what happens to them, and likely be pleasantly surprised by an ending that feels more like an actual resolution than that of most Disney animated films. You’ll probably see the major plot twist coming, while your kids probably won’t, but that won’t detract from your appreciation of the way it’s handled.

3. It’s rated PG, not G. Anything I should be concerned about?

There are perhaps a few more moments of peril in Frozen than in many Disney films, but nothing beyond what most kids can handle. And the classic Disney formula of killing off at least one parent of the protagonist rears its head again as Anna and Elsa’s loving parents — the king and queen of Arendelle — die pretty early in the film (which is why this doesn’t count as a spoiler). Some kids may be frightened (or may possibly identify with, or both) Elsa’s inability to keep a hold on her freezing powers, but since I very much doubt any of them will turn into Snow Queens themselves, you’re probably all right.

4. Is it worth paying more for 3D?

I haven’t seen it in 2D for comparison, but I’d have to say “Yes.” The rendering of the ice palace was just breathtaking in 3D, and it definitely added useful depth to other scenery. There’s also a fair bit of humor involving Olaf that would probably not be as funny in 2D. More significantly, the new (and truly excellent) Mickey Mouse short that precedes the film would pretty much completely fail to work at all in 2D.

"FROZEN" Elsa's ice palace. ©2013 Disney. All Rights Reserved.5. When’s the best time for a bathroom break?

It’s not a terribly long film — 108 minutes — but if your kids (or you) simply can’t wait, I’d suggest that going when the folks back in Arendelle decide to try to rescue Anna would be a good plan, as you’ll be able to pick up the action quickly when you get back.

6. How’s the voice talent?

In a word, terrific. Idina Menzel is amazing as Elsa, which seems all the more appropriate as the relationship between Elsa and Anna bears more than a little resemblance to that between Elphaba and Glinda in Wicked. Kristen Bell makes Anna seem very friendly and very capable, and does an excellent job considering that she’s in virtually every scene in the film. Jonathan Groff makes a fine Kristoff, and Josh Gad of Book of Mormon does a terrific job as Olaf — who could easily have been really annoying to adults, but honestly isn’t at all. The only other really standout voice is that of the Duke, done by the awesome Alan Tudyk, who seems to be able to do wonderful voices that are different enough from his normal one that you’d never know it was him without the credits.

7. Do I need to sit through the credits for a bonus scene at the end?

Yes, there’s a very funny quick scene at the end that you should definitely stay for. Also, pay attention to the disclaimers towards the end of the credits — trust me.

8. Will I want to see it again?

Very likely, yes. It was funny, touching, and beautiful, with several excellent songs. I have every confidence that it will, as it deserves to, join the list of classic Disney animated films for years to come. The addition of Anna to the list of official Disney Princesses should help with that. (It’s a curious coincidence that Disney is getting its twelfth Princess just as Doctor Who gets its twelfth Doctor… or is it a coincidence?)

Disclosure: I received free tickets to a preview screening of Frozen. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Images: The Walt Disney Co.

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