Sometimes one princess just isn't enough.
"Frozen" breaks the mold from all previous 52 animated Disney fairy-tale features by having not one but two intrepid, singing princesses. What's more, they're sisters, and their sibling relationship tends to run hot and cold. Literally. One has the magical power to create snow, and the other must stop her from turning their usually sunny kingdom into an icy wasteland.
Watch the exclusive trailer premiere for Disney's 'Frozen':
The younger sister is Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell). She's spirited, funny, and adventurous, but she doesn't have any magical abilities. Her older sister, Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel), on the other hand, has the extraordinary power to create ice and snow. Frightened by her own gifts, Elsa has made herself an outcast, staying far from her adoring sister. But then Elsa loses control and plunges their kingdom of Arendelle into winter, and it's up to Anna to venture off into the cold and face her sis if she's going to bring back the summer.
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A few earlier Disney princesses did have siblings. Ariel from "The Little Mermaid" had six undersea sisters, and of course Cinderella had her meddlesome, big-footed stepsisters. Most recently, Merida from Pixar's "Brave" had her rambunctious little triplet brothers. But there have not been two princesses who were so integral to the story: both for good and for bad.
The story is inspired by the fairy tale "The Snow Queen," by Hans Christian Andersen (who also wrote the original story of "The Little Mermaid"). While Andersen's dark tale, rife with religious symbolism, was about a young girl who must rescue her friend who was taken by the evil queen, this new take makes it more of a family drama. That means this Snow Queen, Elsa, is not your standard baddie. Producer Peter Del Vecho told BleedingCool.com, "There are times when Elsa does villainous things but because you understand where it comes from, from this desire to defend herself, you can always relate to her."
Co-writer and director Jennifer Lee told Yahoo Movies, "It's very much a film about the ordinary hero who can do extraordinary things, and that’s Anna." She may lack supernatural powers, but she does possess a can-do spirit and offbeat sense of humor that was directly influenced by the actress who portrays her, Kristen Bell. "Kristen really came in and pushed it and made it even funnier and even sweeter, I think, and more believable as a three-dimensional character," director Chris Buck added.
Bell also gets to finally return to her Broadway roots, appearing in a musical for the first time in eight years. She's joined by Tony winner Idina Menzel, who knows something about being a powerful, misunderstood outcast having originated the role of the green witch Elphaba in the musical "Wicked." Menzel's "Glee" costar Jonathan Groff provides the voice of Kristoff, the rugged outdoorsman who helps Anna on her quest. And "Book of Mormon" star Josh Gad cleans up his act to play the adorable, bumbling snowman Olaf ("Mormon" songwriter Robert Lopez also penned the tunes for the movie).
Naturally, the other advantage to having two princesses in a Disney movie is that there will be twice as many dolls, costumes, and other tie-in merchandise to choose from. Disney has even already started looking for "cast members" to portray Anna and Elsa in theme parks this fall. You'll get to decide which royal sister you warm up to when "Frozen" hits theaters on November 27.