There’s more than a touch of CalArts in Disney’s latest animated film, Frozen. Directed by alumnus Chris Buck (Film/Video 78) and art directed by Michael Giaimo (Film/Video 78), the musical film is set in the Scandinavian kingdom of Arendelle, its entire look inspired by some of the creative team’s visit to Norway.
Frozen follows the clumsy, headstrong princess Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) as she attempts to bring home her older sister Elsa (voiced by Tony Award winner Idina Menzel), who has exiled herself after accidentally freezing the entire kingdom.
Critics have called the movie a return to the heartwarming tales that had made Disney an animation powerhouse in the ’80s and ’90s, with classics such as The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. The Daily Beast calls it “the best Disney film since The Lion King.”
The San Francisco Chronicle says that “the writing in particular is smart, with nuanced characters and a premium on clever wordplay over cheap laughs and deprecating humor.” It also goes on to praise the movie’s art direction:
The 3D computer animation is technically very sharp… and is shot in wide-frame CinemaScope—a subtle nod to some of the greater Disney classics. The queen’s ice castle, built high on a mountain, is one of several set pieces that retains a hand-drawn richness.
Above, we posted the official trailer for Frozen. The animated feature opens today in theaters everywhere.