Voices of: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk, Josh Gad
AS a child Princess Elsa (Idina Menzel) discovers she has the supernatural power of being able to make snow just by waving her hand, and accidentally injures her sister, Anna (Kristen Bell).
She tries to control her power but when it is revealed for all to see at her coronation she runs away in a blind panic, at the same time plunging her kingdom into an eternal icy winter.
Like many Disney animations this story is based on a traditional fairy tale, The Snow Queen, but also like a lot of Disney adaptations the link is rather tenuous. Apart from the princess’ magical power, the story doesn’t bear much resemblance to Hans Christian Andersen’s original.
Not that this matters much, because critics are claiming this is one of the funniest, most charming and original animations to come out of the studio for a long time. The sweet and fearless Anna goes on an odyssey to find her missing sister. However the comedy comes mainly from the banter between the guys in her back-up team — ice-harvester Kristoff, reindeer Sven and the talking, breathing, cheerful snowman, Olaf.
Director Chris Buck has impeccable credentials, having previously been at the helm of The Little Mermaid and Pocahontas, and the animation depicting an arctic Tundra is said to be fabulous, backed up with a funny script and a number of joyful ditties.
For those with bigger kids — or for those adults who admit to never quite growing up — the other blockbuster Christmas movie to hit the Regal screen this weekend is the second instalment of the Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation Of Smaug.
Martin Freeman, back as Bilbo Baggins, must honour his promise to the dwarves to find the secret door in the Lonely Mountain that will lead to Smaug the dragon, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Cate Blanchett and Sir Ian McKellen are back as Galadriel and Gandalf, and Orlando Bloom makes an appearance as Legolas.
It was always going to be a slow-burn number as a thin novel has been stretched out to eight hours of film, but Tolkien anoraks will love it.