A Tale of Two Sisters Will Melt Your Hearts in Frozen
In Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen,” fearless optimist Anna sets off on an epic journey—teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven—to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom.
“Frozen” features the voices of Kristen Bell as Anna, Idina Menzel as Elsa, Jonathan Groff as mountain man Kristoff, and Josh Gad as the lovable snowman Olaf.
The voice cast also includes Santino Fontana as Hans, a handsome royal who catches Anna’s eye, Alan Tudyk as the Duke of Weselton, Chris Williams as Oaken, and Ciarán Hinds as Pabbie.
“We wanted the movie to be both timely and timeless,” says director Jennifer Lee. “We were going for something contemporary that everyone would understand and we realized that fear is so often the very thing that gives us a negative outlook, that threatens our relationships. Every single scene, in its own way, supports our themes of family and love, and real love versus fear. And it’s fear that drives Elsa.”
Elsa’s inability to handle her power to create snow and ice is revealed when she and Anna are playing as children. Elsa’s magic delights young Anna—the girls build a snowman they name Olaf and play amidst wild slopes of snow inside their home. But the magic gets out of Elsa’s control and injures Anna. Elsa lives each day thereafter in fear she’ll hurt Anna again, and as a result, avoids the one person she loves most. “Anna, who has no memory of the event, grows up trying to reach out to Elsa,” says director Chris Buck.
Kristen Anderson-Lopez and husband and writing partner Robert Lopez, who worked hand-in-hand with the directors and story team, were struck by the image of Anna getting shut out by her sister. “What could get you more on that girl’s side than seeing doors slam in her face all throughout her childhood?” asks Anderson-Lopez.
“We needed to tap into Anna’s emotions,” continues Anderson-Lopez. “We needed to understand her and show what’s missing from the world of this goofy, optimistic young woman. That moment in the film when we see the two sisters on either side of the closed door is one of the most revealing moments in the movie.”
The filmmakers realized that the morning of Elsa’s coronation would represent a new beginning for Anna. The story team wanted to introduce the now-grown-up Anna with a song, but it proved to be a tall order. “This particular song was a tough nut to crack, because it had to do a lot of things,” says Anderson-Lopez. “It had to introduce Anna as an optimistic, active person, but also as someone with a need to be filled over the course of the movie.”
The solution—and title of the song, “For the First Time in Forever”—came from a story-room conversation when someone said the words ‘for the first time in forever’ as part of a story point, catching the ear of president of Walt Disney Music Chris Montan. “I said, ‘That’s it! That’s Anna’s song!’” says Montan. “It was just one of those moments. ‘For the first time in forever, I’m going to be free. I might meet somebody. I might live my life.’ It was really exciting.”
The song ultimately illustrates Anna’s desire for connection, while showcasing just how far apart she is from big sister Elsa. The story of broken family bonds takes a turn when Anna confronts Elsa, inadvertently setting free her sister’s stifled emotions and sparking a wintry outburst that reveals to everyone Elsa’s long-kept secret. Elsa flees Arendelle, leaving a cold and icy kingdom in her wake—and finding the freedom she’s craved.
The realization of Elsa’s long-kept secret inspires Anna to take drastic measures to make things right. Her journey to find Elsa leads her to seek assistance from Kristoff, a rugged mountain man who’d rather not join the adventure. Kristoff and Anna face fierce weather, wolves—and a strangely familiar snowman named Olaf, who takes them—and the audience—by surprise. “When Elsa flees Arendelle,” says Lee, “she starts playing with the very magic she’s been hiding for so long. The snowman she creates comes from memories of the happy times she shared with Anna when they were young. Olaf represents that pure innocence and childhood joy. The minute we imbued him with that, he just took off. He’s funny in a way that children are funny. He’s completely unaffected by the world. He’s the one character who isn’t struggling with fear versus love. He is love.”
According to producer Peter Del Vecho, Olaf exemplifies the real beauty of “Frozen.” “It’s chock full of left turns. Though it has everything that audiences will expect from a Disney film—it’s fun and full of heart—it also takes you in unexpected directions. That’s what I love about this movie.”
Opening across the Philippines in 3D and 2D on Nov. 27, “Frozen” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.