The holiday movie season is officially on, and the first tasty family treat Frozen features Richland's own Santino Fontana as Hans, a prince of princes, duty bound to save the kingdom, the queen and the princess he loves.
That sounds oh-so-solemn, but the movie really isn't.
Packed with mostly forgettable music, Frozen is a superbly written ditty based on the Hans Christian Andersen fable The Snow Queen. Elsa is the kingdom's queen. She has a secret power that produces vast amounts of ice and snow. When Elsa was a child, that power almost killed her beloved sister Anna. So Elsa spends the rest of her childhood and teen years in isolation. Anna never knows why. When she becomes queen, Elsa's powers are unleashed and her entire kingdom is turned to ice. Furious and frightened at what she's done, Elsa flees to the mountains.
Determined to rescue her sister, Anna gives chase and connects with Kristof, his reindeer Sven and Olaf, a magical snowman.
Fontana and his castmates have a blast with this one. The always excellent Kristen Bell (TV's Veronica Mars, Gossip Girl) is the real standout. She is pitch-perfect as the bubbly, funny and very determined Anna.
The animation by writer/directors Chris Buck (Surf's Up and Jennifer Lee (Wreck-it Ralph) is good, but it's not close to original, and even in 3D, the effects aren't that eye-popping. Unlike many who do this type of film, Buck and Lee spend as much time on the story, the music and the acting as on the effects, and the results are a delightful story packed with laughs.
Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Stars: Richland's own Santino Fontana, Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Alan Tudyk, Ciaran Hines, Edie McClurg
Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars
Rated PG for mature themes. It's playing at the Carmike 12, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at the Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.