Frozen and its nom­i­na­tions a re­turn to form for Dis­ney

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - OSCAR SPECIAL - By Re­Becca Kee­gan

Frozen, the Walt Dis­ney An­i­ma­tion Stu­dios mu­si­cal that col­lected two os­car nom­i­na­tions, is about a king­dom trapped in an end­less win­ter. For the 90-yearold Bur­bank com­pany, which has of­ten suf­fered from a cre­ative chill in re­cent decades, the movie rep­re­sents a ma­jor thaw.

Frozen has grossed rM2.3 bil (US$713mil) world­wide since it opened in novem­ber, mak­ing it the stu­dio’s big­gest hit since 1994’s The Lion King.

The film has also yielded a Bill­board chart-top­ping sound­track on the strength of pop friendly tunes such as the os­car-nom­i­nated orig­i­nal song Let It Go. And Dis­ney has an­nounced that a Broad­way adap­ta­tion is in the works.

“ev­ery day it gets more overwhelming,” said Jennifer Lee, who shares di­rect­ing credit on the movie with Chris Buck, and who is the first woman to helm a Walt Dis­ney An­i­ma­tion fea­ture. “The re­sponse to the movie, the fans and the crowd. People keep go­ing back, and they have brought Frozen into their lives.”

A love story of sorts be­tween two sis­ters, the down-to-earth Anna (voiced by Kris­ten Bell) and tor­mented elsa (Id­ina Men­zel), Frozen is a re­turn to a for­mat Dis­ney was built on but which has re­cently gone out of fash­ion – the mu­si­cal fairy tale.

Much of Frozen’s out­sized suc­cess is at­trib­ut­able to its mu­sic. In ad­di­tion to beat­ing Bey­once on the Bill­board charts, the sound­track has in­spired a YouTube mini-genre of fan-made videos of girls belt­ing out Let It Go in their liv­ing rooms.

“I’ve been trained as a mu­si­cal theatre com­poser never to ex­pect this, so it’s against my pro­gram­ming,” said com­poser robert Lopez ( The Book of Mor­mon), who wrote the mu­sic and lyrics to the movie’s nine orig­i­nal songs with his wife, Kris­ten An­der­son-Lopez. “We’re both re­ally grate­ful.”

Crit­ics praised the beauty of the nordicin­spired scenery and the sur­pris­ing subtlety of a por­trait of fe­male loy­alty in the film.

Many in the an­i­ma­tion field feel Frozen is a re­turn to form for the stu­dio, the cul­mi­na­tion of a pe­riod of cre­ative growth that ex­ec­u­tives ed Cat­mull and John Las­seter helped fos­ter af­ter ar­riv­ing from cor­po­rate sib­ling Pixar An­i­ma­tion in 2006.

Af­ter Dis­ney’s suc­cesses with 2010’s Tan­gled and 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen re­flects the stu­dio hit­ting its stride, said Tom Sito, a pro­fes­sor at USC’s School of Cin­e­matic Arts and an an­i­ma­tor who worked at Dis­ney dur­ing its last re­nais­sance in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Dis­ney An­i­ma­tion’s short film, a Mickey Mouse re­vival di­rected by Lauren MacMul­lan called Get A Horse!, was also nom­i­nated.

It’s sig­nif­i­cant that Frozen col­lected its os­car nom­i­na­tion for an­i­mated fea­ture in a cat­e­gory that was ab­sent a peren­nial con­tender – Pixar.

Dis­ney’s sis­ter stu­dio – and, for much of the last two decades, the more suc­cess­ful of the two – was shut out of the nom­i­na­tions this year both for its pre­quel Mon­sters Univer­sity and for its short film The Blue Um­brella.

“Dis­ney went through a pe­riod of de­cline,” Sito said. “now it’s like, ‘oK, we’re back on top.’” – Los Angeles Times/McClatchy-Tri­bune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

Song­writ­ers Kris­ten An­der­son-Lopez and Robert Lopez are re­spon­si­ble for the megahit LetItGo, fea­tured in Frozen.

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