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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Snow Queen: Mirrorlands is the entertaining fourth movie in the animated The Snow Queen franchise based on a Hans Christian Andersen story. It contains strong female role models and plenty of positive messages. Key themes include learning the value of trust and forgiveness, working as a team, inclusion, and bravery. Strong female characters include the main protagonist Gerda (voiced by Laurie Hymes) who is kind, selfless, and capable. Pirate Alfida (Devin Bailey Griffin) is spirited and gallant, while even the once-evil Snow Queen (Samia Mounts) shows empathy and solidarity. The cunning King Harald (Marc Thompson) and a few scenes featuring mild cartoon violence -- including use of weapons -- don't stop this from being suitable for all the family.
What's the story?
THE SNOW QUEEN: MIRRORLANDS continues the story of Gerda (Laurie Hymes) now a teenager growing up in the kingdom where she once helped to defeat the evil Snow Queen (Samia Mounts). When King Harald (Marc Thompson) -- who's fearful of magic -- discovers a portal into the exiled Snow Queen's realm, he tricks anyone with magical powers into entering, banishing them forever to the Mirrorlands. Gerda soon discovers that her parents and brother are among those trapped, and embarks on an adventure to free them. Gathering an unlikely group of allies -- including the Snow Queen herself -- Gerda travels to the Troll Lands, the Flying Pirate City, and the sacred Lake Gao in her quest to rescue her family and show the King the error of his ways.
Is it any good?
This fourth outing in The Snow Queen series is the best so far -- Russian animation studio Wizart have finally got into their stride. The artwork is rich and detailed, with intricate city scenes and sweeping landscapes. Characters are well-rounded and appealing -- perhaps because they've had four films to develop -- while the story is solid and compelling. Granted, the script doesn't always flow smoothly, and there are a few implausible plotline moments -- but anything can be explained away by magic, right?
Thanks to good-hearted hero Gerda, feisty pirate Alfida, and the emotionally-thawing Snow Queen, the girl power message is strong. But it's also subtle and never corny, allowing the characters to work together and show empathy and solidarity. It's inevitable that this series will be compared to the Frozen franchise, given that they're both based on the same original story by Hans Christian Andersen. But The Snow Queen: Mirrorlands is definitely no carbon copy. And with plenty of drama, anticipation, and comedy it manages to hold its own as a quality animated adventure that the whole family can enjoy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the themes of trust and forgiveness in The Snow Queen: Mirrorlands. Which characters display these traits and how do they affect the story? What other positive character strengths do they display?
Talk about movie franchises -- when a series of films share the same fictional universe. Which franchises can you think of that have been successful, and why? Would you like to see another movie in The Snow Queen series? What could the story be?
The character Gerda shows us that a person can be strong and determined but also kind and selfless. Can you think of other animated movie characters with this combination of qualities?
The Snow Queen series is based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen -- the same original fairytale that inspired Frozen. How do you think the movies compare? Which do you prefer and why?
- On DVD or streaming: December 18, 2020
- Cast: Laurie Hymes, Samia Mounts, Marc Thompson
- Directors: Robert Lence, Aleksey Tsitsilin
- Studio: Wizart Animation
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Fairy Tales, Great Girl Role Models
- Character strengths: Empathy, Teamwork
- Run time: 84 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: January 5, 2021
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