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'Frozen' will warm your heart

An animated movie from Walt Disney Animation Studios, "Frozen" is exactly what you would hope it to be -- it's not perfect, but it is very good.

"Frozen" was advertised (by Disney) as "the greatest animated Disney event since "The Lion King." While there are certainly Disney films after "The Lion King" that exceed "Frozen," there aren't very many. Interestingly, "Frozen" is the biggest opening weekend (adjusted for inflation) for any Disney film since "The Lion King."

The easiest and truest praise I can give is this: The "Disney magic" that I remember from the films of my childhood is present in "Frozen." I would say "Frozen" is the first computer animated film by Disney to have this spark. To be clear, the Walt Disney Corp. owns Pixar, which churns out this level of animated film with sure-footed regularity. Walt Disney Animation Studios, however, is a separate animation studio with its own production staff and its own culture.

For me, Disney films always have been measured on the number of moments that, if you'll forgive the hopeless romantic in me, surpass what I normally would call "art" and resonate on a level that only can be described as "truth." That feeling is very rare, but it's the feeling that makes art and, by extension, life worthwhile. For me, that feeling exists at the intersection of intellectual resonance and emotional upheaval -- when you almost want to cry because something connects so powerfully. "Frozen" has a few of those moments.

I would expect "Frozen" to continue breaking records. It's virtually unopposed in the family film category throughout the rest of the holiday season. Clear ice between here and the net notwithstanding, "Frozen" has all of the right players in the right positions. Not least of which is an absolutely triumphant score. "Let It Go," performed by Broadway veteran Idina Menzel, will find a home among such Disney legends as "Hakuna Matata," "A Whole New World," and "Colors of the Wind."

I purchased it while writing this review and my iTunes play counter is in double digits already. That good.

5 of 6 stars

James Gerstner works at Fort Hays State University Foundation.