A feature-length film sequel to Frozen – Disney Animation’s billion dollar-grossing animated fairy tale/princess musical sensation – might well be in development (or so Elsa voice actor Idina Menzel has indicated), but for now the only confirmed Frozen-related big screen project is the short, Frozen Fever. The official logo for the Frozen short, pictured above, has been unveiled along with the (expected) news that it will be attached to prints of Walt Disney Pictures’ live-action Cinderella movie next year.
Frozen Fever takes place after Frozen, as Anna’s (Kristen Bell) birthday party ends up in trouble when Elsa’s magic ice powers inadvertently cause problems again… and then some. The short will feature an original tune by Frozen songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and has Frozen co-directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee back at the helm. So, all things considered, it should make for a pleasant little reunion with the characters from the respective ‘toon that inspired it (a la Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story shorts released in recent years).
Cinderella got its first trailer last month; and while most everyone agrees it looks beautiful, by and large, feelings towards this live-action rendition of the centuries-old story as a whole are more mixed for now. Oscar-nominated director Kenneth Branagh (Thor, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Chris Weitz (About a Boy, The Golden Compass) appear to have created a pretty traditional – and, in turn, less interesting – Cinderella retelling, complete with the usual roles for Ella (Lily James), her prince (Richard Madden), her evil stepmother (Cate Blanchett), and her fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) alike.
That doesn’t mean Cinderella won’t prove to be a decent movie on its own terms; but in the current princess fairy tale film landscape, it comes off a bit outdated – at first glance, anyway. Disney’s been tapping into the demand for feminist princess fairy tale stories of late, and enjoyed critical as well as financial success with such animated films as The Princess and the Frog, Tangled, and Frozen – but the critical response has been far more lukewarm for its live-action helpings (Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent), even as they’ve cleaned up at the box office.
Which is to say, Branagh’s Cinderella doesn’t look to buck that trend… but still, we might as well hope for the best. If nothing else, it will set up a fun debate for princess fairy tale fans, regarding which Cinderella has the better dress: James’, as designed by three-time Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell (Hugo), or Anna Kendrick’s from the Mouse House’s upcoming Into the Woods adaptation, as designed by fellow three-time Oscar-winner, Colleen Atwood (Snow White and the Huntsman).
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Cinderella (with Frozen Fever attached) opens in U.S. theaters on March 13th, 2015.