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With just a couple of weeks to go before the release of Cinderella (March 13, 2015), Walt Disney Animation Studios has provided us with a wealth of information and details for the short that precedes it, Frozen Fever. In Frozen Fever, it’s Anna’s birthday (which falls on the summer solstice as Elsa’s is the winter solstice) and Elsa and Kristoff are determined to give her the best celebration ever, but Elsa’s icy powers may put more than just the party at risk. And if you’re one of everyone who saw the trailer for the seven minute short that was released yesterday, you know there’s a lot more to Elsa’s simple plans.
According to co-director Jennifer Lee, Elsa is ‘determined to give Anna the big birthday celebration that just wasn’t possible when they were little and lived in their isolated world. Elsa enlisted the help of Kristoff, Sven and Olaf—everyone who cares about Anna.’ So what could possibly go wrong?
‘Elsa is catching a cold,’ adds fellow co-director Chris Buck. ‘But it’s not just any cold. There’s magic in Elsa’s sneezes.’
That’s right, Elsa, mostly in control of her own magic, has a fever. For Elsa, it’s just some uncontrollable sneezes, but what she doesn’t know is every time she sneezes, the magic within her makes super cute little snowmen called Snowgies — adorable, but very mischievous. ‘They wreak havoc on the party,’ Buck explains. ‘Like Olaf, they have their eyes on Anna’s cake.’
The creative team also updates us on how Anna, Elsa and the rest of the beloved Frozen crew have adapted to their new lives since the original film took place and the events that lead up to Frozen Fever. According to Lee, ‘we felt the same nervousness — maybe even more — because we knew that people really care about these characters and they’ve taken them to their own places now. They’ve imagined their futures. But we had to put those feelings aside and make a story that felt true to these characters — just as we did with the feature.’
If you’ve been paying attention to the trailer and other images from the film, you might have noticed that Anna has her arms full with a ton of miscellaneous objects, the least of which being a very large sandwich. Why? They’re gifts from Elsa. ‘Anna is given these lovely gifts by her sister and she doesn’t want to put any of them down,’ explains Lee. ‘Her efforts to hold onto everything leads to some awkward, completely Anna moments.’ Anna collects the gifts after she is awoken by and sent on a scavenger hunt by Elsa by following a string throughout the palace and grounds, which means we will get to see much more of Arendelle’s castle this time around.
As for Elsa, she’s as regal, elegant and poised as ever — or at least she would be if it weren’t for that pesky cold. Nonetheless, the events from the film have taught her that love is the key to controlling her powers, so she is determined to show off her love in any way she can, especially when it comes to throwing the best birthday party ever for her little sister. But unfortunately her cold (or perhaps more precisely her cold medicine) is having an effect on her that leaves her ‘a little delirious.’ According to head of animation Wayne Unten Jr., Elsa’s ‘movement gets a little sloppy — she even wipes her nose on her sleeve. She wouldn’t normally act like that, but we get to see her in a whole new way.’ In fact, Unten says that Elsa always had a bit of mischievous side to her (as evidenced by tricking Anna into dancing with the Duke of
Weasletown Weselton) and that we’ll see plenty more of that aspect in Frozen Fever. As for Elsa’s new dress, it’s embellished with a little bit of magic — as is Anna’s: a vase of fuchsia star flowers in the room not only become inspiration for her dress, but Elsa actually pulls them over her dress and cape and they magically become integrated into the design.
And, of course, with the new short comes a new song: ‘Making Today A Perfect Day,’ written by the Oscar-winning husband and wife team of Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. According to the Lopezes, the piano offers an ‘intense drive’ to the song as an indicator that Elsa knows she should probably be sick in bed instead of embarking on the quest for a perfect birthday party for her sister, but her desire to show her love overcomes the rational thought. Kristen notes ‘we wanted it to be that perfect sunny-afternoon song so that it fought against the situation that she’s getting sick; that adds to the comedy.’
Lee says the song itself is very sincere — ‘it’s the most emotional part of the storytelling. So we wanted to balance that visually with the chaos and silliness that’s happening along the way as the little frozen Snowgies appear with each sneeze and wreak havoc. It was like writing two shorts and putting them together.’
And Kristoff fans take notice: according to the notes provided to us, the song does in fact feature Jonathan Groff performing as well as Josh Gad, Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell.
Frozen composer Christophe Beck also returns for Frozen Fever adding a new composition that also pays homage to the original film. ‘I made a conscious effort to have the score for Frozen Fever evoke the spirit of the feature film. In fact the first few bars reprise one of the themes from Frozen. From then on, though, I introduce new material, but it never strays far from its musical ancestor,’ he says. Beck also created a instrumental reprise for the Lopezes’ song for the short’s end titles which is described as ‘fun and quirky.’
As we previously reported, the new song will be available exclusively via a download code included with the physical CD release of the Cinderella original motion picture soundtrack, available March 10, 2015. The song itself will be available for download on March 12, the day prior to the short’s theatrical release.