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November 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Perhaps Disney, which had been taken to task for tossing out one vulnerable princess story after another, was reluctant to use “Queen” in the title of its latest animated feature and therefore decided to call this film, the retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, Frozen instead. Whatever. Critics are applauding the movie for its entertaining depiction of female empowerment. As Rafer Guzmán writes in Newsday, “Disney has released several recent features whose heroines get to leave their cloisters and seek adventure, but Frozen is the first to achieve genuine girl power.” Stephen Holden in the New York Times calls the movie a departure “from tradition in a film that shakes up the hyper-romantic ‘princess’ formula that has stood Disney in good stead for decades and that has grown stale.” Peter Hartlaub in the San Francisco Chronicle comments that “there’s enough material in here to keep feminist bloggers writing at least until the next ice age.” Stephanie Merry in the Washington Post remarks that the movie “subverts so many fairy-tale stereotypes.” Part of the reason may be the fact that it is co-directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee — with Lee becoming the first woman to direct a Disney animated film. The applause she is getting from critics for Frozen sounds much like the applause a sure-fire hit on Broadway gets on opening night, and indeed many critics are predicting that a Broadway version is inevitable. “Frozen‘s songs soar,” writes Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times, while remarking that the movie “is filled with heart and heart-stopping action.” And Kyle Smith in the New York Post praises the musical numbers “that climb off the screen and wrap their arms around you.” But several critics are clearly unwilling to stand as they applaud. Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News notes, “What’s crucially missing, however, is a hissable villain. Nor are there any memorable tunes. … And despite the 3-D animation, the overall visual effect warms the heart more than it dazzles the senses.”