Cinderella is going to get a lot of extra business on March 13 simply because everyone wants to see the sequel to Frozen. The short Frozen Fever precedes screenings of the live-action Cinderella. While there is precedent for shorts spun off the major franchises like Toy Story and Monsters University, it is the next step in Frozen. You didn’t even need to know that much. “More Frozen” is the selling point.
To give a synopsis of a short is pretty much spoiling the whole thing, so in broad strokes, it’s Anna (Kristen Bell)’s birthday and Elsa (Idina Menzel) has a cold. Get it? Fever, because Elsa has a cold. That’s medically inaccurate. Fever is more symptomatic of the flu than a cold, but this is a world where parents take sick children to trolls, so they’re not even up to primitive The Knick medicine yet.
It is nice to see Elsa confident with her powers now. The short mainly consists of her using them to decorate for the party. It’s also nice to see the sisters together, since most of the feature Frozen separated them, by necessity. Frozen Fever is what Frozen was building to all along. Frozen ends when Elsa finally reconciles her powers and opens up to her sister. Frozen Fever is the first time they get to enjoy Elsa’s powers and their relationship, and we get to enjoy them too, at least until a full movie sequel makes bad stuff happen again.
The problem that arises in Frozen Fever is an adorable problem, a la The Sorcerer’s Apprentice short from Fantasia. It also creates an all new toy line opportunity, like the aliens from Toy Story. It’s a good thing. It’s adapting more Disney tropes to the feminist fairy tale world.
Anna and Elsa do sing a song and it is a peppy song. I wonder if it was something cut out of the first Frozen and adapted. There are a few tracks from the outtake disc on the Frozen soundtrack that may have been candidates, but I’d have to compare them side by side to be sure. I’m glad Elsa already has a catch phrase. They didn’t even wait for the full sequel to drop that.
It is nice that we get to see feature quality animation in a short. There is some complex action executed in Frozen Fever. It’s just as much as they could get done in the year and a half since Frozen became a hit, so I’ll take it.
While Frozen Fever doesn’t have the depth of Frozen, it’s not supposed to. Frozen was a revelation and it took a plot beginning with “stay in the closet” metaphors and ending with “love is more powerful than fear” to do it. Frozen Fever is having more fun in that world. It’s all happy but it’s still touching. Franchise Fred approves Frozen Fever.