Why is Frozen so popular?

Rachel MacGregor
Why is Frozen so popular?
Olaf was a huge hit with audiences.

It's no secret that Disney's 'Frozen' has become somewhat of a phenomenon since its release last year. The film won two Oscars - Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song - and many critics consider it to be the best Disney animation since the studio's renaissance era.

Not accounting for inflation, 'Frozen' was recently named the highest-grossing animated film of all time. Even if you were to contend that it doesn't deserve the label when considering price increases at the box office and differing production budgets, it is still undoubtedly the most popular animation to emerge in recent years.

Naturally, once the film was heavily lauded, some began to say that it was overrated. While it's fair that, with high expectations, people may feel let down following the hype around the film, there are still a number of reasons why 'Frozen' can easily stand alongside some of the most popular Disney classics.

The love of a family

'True love' has been at the heart of almost every Disney film, but 'Frozen' added a twist to the frequently seen concept. In this case, the love that ran the deepest in the film (despite an engagement rather early on) was between sisters Anna and Elsa.

Elsa isolated herself through fear of hurting her younger sister, while Anna couldn't understand why the person she used to be closest to was now so disinterested. The plot revolved around the pair learning to embrace their differences and to reunite in traumatic circumstances.

Similarly, this form of family love was also at the heart of the character Kristoff, who unreservedly cared for his adoptive family of trolls. He also treated his reindeer, Sven, like a sibling, singing to him that 'reindeers are better than people'.

The love of the family resonated far more than any of the romantic relationships in the film.


Comic sidekicks run the risk of verging on irritating in animated movies, but Olaf was one of the main appeals of 'Frozen' to many viewers. The snowman's love of warm hugs and naivety about what happens to snow in heat was a great, if somewhat uninventive, plot point. His loyalty to Anna was an endearing trait that coined one of the best lines in the movie - "some people are worth melting for". The character's humour appealed to adults and children alike.

Who's the real villain?

'Frozen's' villain doesn't become overtly apparent until a fair way into the film, which makes you wonder whether the real antagonist of the tale is the everyday tribulations we face in life. Many of the film's themes resonate with the viewer - from Elsa's concealment of her true self, and subsequent isolation from the rest of the world, to Anna's desperation for love and companionship, a lot of the feelings seen in the movie are universal.

Being able to empathise with characters has long been an appeal to older viewers and the themes explored in the film are certainly ones that would provide life lessons to children.

Timing is everything

Released in the UK in December, 'Frozen' was the perfect movie to get people into the festive spirit. It capitalised from both the adult and children's market and was the 'go to' movie to get people into the spirit of winter, with the season perfectly captured in the frosty Arundel.

The film's successful reign at the box-office, possibly due to seasonal influences, lasted a lot longer than expected and the movie's popularity was again boosted by sing-a-long re-releases.

Award-winning soundtrack

'Frozen's' soundtrack wouldn't be out of place in a Broadway show. The musical numbers are strong, theatrical, and tell more than meets the eye.

Oscar winning 'Let It Go' perfectly captures Elsa's transition from a concealed, scared princess, to a young lady who embraces her abilities. It shows the moment when she decides to release her fears and to move forward with her own life, where she doesn't need to hide.

Likewise, 'Do You Want to Build a Snowman?' and 'Love is an Open Door' are ridiculously catchy, while 'In Summer' fits Josh Gad's voice perfectly. The songs provide a great mix of comedy and strong vocals, only made better by the accompaniment of a number of Easter eggs and in-jokes during the performances.

Rachel MacGregor is obsessed with film, especially adaptations, and loves seeing her favourite fictional characters come to life on-screen. Follow Rachel MacGregor on Twitter.

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