A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Snow Queen is a Russian animated adventure that was dubbed in English to reach a broader audience. Like the Disney film Frozen, The Snow Queen is based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale about a world blanketed by ice thanks to the titular villain who hates just about everything. The protagonists are an orphaned brother and sister, and there are several close calls and potentially frightening sequences where they're in danger of being captured, shot at or killed, but in the end, all is well.
What's the story?
Based on the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, THE SNOW QUEEN tells the story of an evil Snow Queen (Cindy Robinson) who blanketed the world in ice and froze a master glassmaker and his wife. Their young son Kay (Marianne Miller) and daughter Gerda (Jessica Straus) are left orphaned and separated. The Snow Queen captures Kay and dispatches her hench troll (Doug Erholtz) to kidnap Gerda as well. But Gerda ends up befriending the troll, and together they evade witches and pirates to try and save Kay.
Is it any good?
The movie's animation (from a Russian studio) is reminiscent of a direct-to-DVD production -- little attention to background details, crudely rendered animals, and uninspired landscapes. There are plenty of beautiful, entertaining foreign animated films released each year (and in some cases dubbed for English-speaking audiences), like A Cat in Paris, The Secret of Kells, and all of the Studio Ghibli releases from Japan, but The Snow Queen is not one of those memorable imports.
As for the story's plotline, it's a bit muddled and confusing, but at least Gerda the protagonist is sweet -- if not very confident. Gerda's desire to save her brother Kay is the movie's biggest redeeming factor. The troll, the witch, the pirates, they're all obstacles she has to overcome to confront the Snow Queen and rescue the only family she has left.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes a film scary. Are you more or less frightened by events in animated films or live-action films?
Why are fairy tales still so popular to remake as movies and TV shows?
Does this movie make you want to see Frozen, Disney's take on the same story? Are you interested in reading Hans Christian Andersen's actual story?
- In theaters: October 11, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: January 28, 2014
- Cast: Christopher Smith, Cindy Robinson, Jessica Straus
- Directors: Maksim Sveshnikov, Vladlen Barbe
- Studio: Vertical Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Book Characters, Brothers and Sisters, Fairy Tales
- Run time: 80 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild action, rude humor and brief language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.