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Review: Frozen

There are plenty of delicious morsels to savor in Frozen, Disney’s latest animated offering: the heartwarming central theme, which argues that the bond between siblings (sisters Anna and Elsa, in this particular case) is ultimately unbreakable, no matter how far apart they may drift; the genuinely clever deconstruction of key components of Disney’s patented Princess Formula (Love at First Sight, True Love’s First Kiss… everything to do with love, really); even the short that precedes the feature presentation, which blends a nostalgic look back at Mickey Mouse’s mischievous past with an imaginative peek at the “future”—the true artistic/creative potential of 3D computer animation.

In my personal opinion, however, the tastiest slice of the whole Frozen pie is “Let It Go,” the film’s most memorable musical number (yes, Frozen is, in fact, a musical, a minor detail that the entire marketing campaign neglected to mention). The song begins with the newly crowned Queen Elsa fleeing deep into the frigid northern mountains, having inadvertently revealed her long-repressed ice powers following a heated argument with Anna. What starts as a mournful lamentation of her self-imposed exile quickly transitions into a celebration of her newfound freedom. After all, for her, isolation means liberation: far from the prying eyes of civilization, she can finally cut loose, test the limits of her abilities, and have fun for the first time since she was a little girl, filling the castle’s ballroom with snow and frolicking through the fresh powder with her beloved baby sister.

It’s the sort of transcendent emotional experience that can only be expressed through song, the foundation that all classic musicals are built upon. Yes, there’s plenty to savor in Frozen, but “Let It Go” is the reason it will linger in my memory as one of the year’s best animated features.

[Originally written November 27, 2013.]

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