Today is the day that the much anticipated Disney film “Frozen” opens to the public. There is so much more to Frozen than meets the eye, a bigger back story if you will. For many years, numerous people from Walt Disney Animation Studios — including Walt himself — have tried to make a film out of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. Although it’s not exactly the same story, the studio finally recreated the fairy tale with Frozen, which captures its “essence.” Even Walt Disney took some liberties with source material when he made classics like Pinocchio, this is the same concept.
The movie was pitched to Disney Studios 5 years ago, and has taken a great deal of effort to make. The synopsis is this: In Frozen, fear paralyzes Princess Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) and her Norwegian kingdom of Arendelle. Elsa was born with the power to control ice and snow, but she’s never been able to harness this power. The fear of losing control has caused her to distance herself from everyone, even her sister. And when she does lose that control, her magic dooms her realm to a wintry eternity, and it falls to Elsa’s sister, Anna (Kristen Bell), to save her sister and the kingdom. Like any good Disney princess, the film’s protagonist, Anna, is filled with optimism and love — traits also found in the original text’s Greta from The Snow Queen. But the challenge that kept the filmmakers busy was developing Elsa, who started as an all-out villain and evolved into a far more complex character.
Production for Frozen…..
To create Frozen’s world, members of the production team made research trips to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and to Norway during the summer of 2012. Art director Michael Giaimo says that some of the key design takeaways from Norway included fjords, or “rock formations that seem to shoot up into the heavens”; stave churches, specifically their textured wood roofing; and rosemaling, a decorative Norwegian painting style.Armed with these inspirations, Anna and Elsa’s fictional kingdom of Arendelle took shape, tucked away between snow-capped mountains and fjords.
The research trips also allowed the team to study a key “character” — the snow — as it needed to create a magical snowman named Olaf, as well as all of the ice and snow that blankets Arendelle when Elsa loses control. In Jackson Hole, some of the character animators even wore heavy full-length dresses to learn how they would react in deep snow. Says Buck: “Getting the snow to look just right was extremely important to us. We animated our characters in a believable fashion, and we needed them to fit in a believable, snowy environment. We never wanted to take the audience out of the story because of technical issues.”
Not only is Disney’s Frozen a beautiful visual sight to see, it is also a musical! The film’s music is compared to the likes of a Broadway production. There is already buzz surrounding Frozen, in regards to a nomination for an Oscar early next year. As surprising as this might sound, should Frozen prevail at the Oscars, it will be the first Academy Award for best animated feature for Walt Disney Animation Studios. Since the category was first created in 2001, the studio has earned plenty of nominations — for such films as Lilo & Stitch, The Princess and the Frog and Wreck-It Ralph — but has never made it to the podium.
All things considered, Frozen seems to be just what Disney Fans have been waiting for. The sights, the music, the characters, the story line… it’s all part of the magical experience that only Disney can create. Frozen is now in theaters across the country. Be sure to let us know what you think once you see the film, we welcome your comments! Enjoy!
*Quotes courtesy of the HR.