The fantasy genre is one that isn't often open to proactive female protagonists. While male characters get to be dashing knights and princes, or humble commoners who rise to greatness and glory, or pirates who sail the seas and battle magnificent beasts, female roles are often relegated to damsel-in-distress styled princess, or evil stepmother/witch. But the past few years have seen a shift in these standard roles. Formerly passive princesses like Snow White have been reclaimed and armed, and new princesses like Enchanted's Giselle, Tangled's Rapunzel, or Brave's Merida have been proved to be proactive and inspiring protagonists in their own right.
Next Disney—which has made many of the above—is continuing this trend with Frozen. Based on the classic children's tale The Snow Queen, the forthcoming 3D musical adventure centers on a brave and chipper young girl named Anna, who travels into the treacherous mountains with her cliff-climbing friend Kristoff and his reindeer sidekick Sven to find her sister Elsa, the snow queen damned by a terrible curse. In her quest to free her sister from the curse, Anna comes across a silly snowman called Olaf, mystical trolls and all forms of magic. In the concept art from EW, you can spot Anna and Kristof, surrounded by the treacherous world of ice and snow. Click over there to see it in full size.
Surf's Up co-helmer Chris Buck and Wreck-It Ralph screenwriter Jennifer Lee will direct a cast that includes Kristen Bell as Anna, Idina Menzel as Elsa and Josh Gad as Olaf. Disney has yet to announce who will lend his voice to Kristoff, though Glee's Jonathan Groff is rumored. As Menzel and Gad both come from the world of Broadway musicals (Menzel from Rent and Wicked, Gad from The Book of Mormon), we can safely assume both Elsa and Olaf will get songs in the feature. Though the titular queen isn't seen in the shot above, Buck and Lee said her work is there. See, Elsa has a sort of superpower that allows her to control the weather. And that intense ice you see, that's all Elsa.
"Elsa created this winter storm and ice formation,” says Buck explains, “We love the power of it, and yet there’s a magical quality to it also.”
Lee adds, “We wanted to push it to the extreme. The unnatural quality of the ice emphasizes this is not, you know, sky-made ice, but ice made by someone.”
The filmmakers went onto explain that they drew inspiration from the homeland of Snow Queen's Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. So, they've have given Frozen's a Scandinavian look, as you might gather from the costumes above. But the film's central focus will be on Anna, who feels a bit lost in the shadow of her powerful sister. As Lee, who co-wrote the screenplay with Shane Morris, puts it, " “Anna is a very relatable character to those of us who are not superheroes. She’s wonderfully flawed, but fearless. And wants to do the right thing. Those are the characters I love.”
We'll all have a chance to meet Anna, Elsa, and the whole winter wonderland crew when Frozen hits theaters on November 27th, 2013.