The Illuminerdi reviews Myth: A Frozen Tale.
Frozen is without a doubt one of Disney’s biggest franchises ever. What started out as a loose adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” has spawned two feature films, a Broadway musical adaptation, multiple theme park attractions, and three short films under its belt.
One of those short films is Myth: A Frozen Tale. Originally released on June 11, 2020 and exclusively available through the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, a “flat” version of the Jeff Gipson-directed short will soon hit Disney+.
Myth: A Frozen Tale is set within the universe of the Frozen franchise, but unlike the other shorts, it doesn’t focus on characters from the movies. Rather, it seeks to deepen the lore of the five spirits first presented in Frozen II. Fans going into this expecting a direct continuation of the story they’ve been following over the years may be disappointed at first, but there are several nods to other Frozen projects that they may find interesting.
On the upside, the lack of “homework” required in order to understand the story makes Myth very accessible to pretty much anyone who might want to check it out. This is worth the watch for fans of animation in general, as plenty of different techniques are blended throughout the ten-minute runtime to create something that feels both classic and modern. Hand-drawn effects are integrated into the short’s CGI world which adds to the fantastical setting of its fairytale universe.
The one aspect of Myth that is perhaps unnecessary is its opening scene, featuring a family gathering around to hear the story of the spirits. This is likely present to forge the connection with Frozen as much as possible (the family members are designed to look similar to the characters in the films), but the story itself has enough connections to the franchise that the opener isn’t really all that justified. Except to explain why the animation of the spirit story looks different from that of the other projects in the franchise.
At its core, Myth: A Frozen Tale‘s story about how nature operates is told via animation and music. The focus on the five spirits serves as a continuation of the legend introduced in Frozen II and provides a lens with which we can view our own world. The structure and presentation of Myth is not unlike some of the shorts seen in past Disney movies such as Fantasia.
Myth: A Frozen Tale provides a nice taste of how new methods and combinations of animation styles are working together, and is a nice quick watch for animation buffs.
Myth: A Frozen Tale Synopsis
Inspired by the exciting environments, themes and elemental characters from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Frozen 2, acclaimed director Jeff Gipson (Cycles) brings to life this imaginative and vibrant tale set in an enchanted forest outside of Arendelle.
A family gathering for an evening of bedtime stories sets the stage for a magnificent adventure to a colorful and mythical world, which includes close encounters with the Nokk (a water spirit in the form of a mighty stallion), Gale (the playful wind spirit who can manifest as a light breeze or a raging tornado-like force), the Earth Giants (the massive creatures that form the rocky riverbanks and are capable of intense destruction when awakened), and the Fire Spirit (a fast-moving and mercurial salamander named Bruni). As the story unfolds, these spirits come to life and the myth of their past and future is revealed.
Production designer Brittney Lee drew upon the Studios’ legacy of great artists (Eyvind Earle, Mary Blair, and Frozen’s own production designer Michael Giaimo) along with her own instincts to create a visual landscape that was unique in its colors, shapes and style. Just as Disney’s musical milestone, Fantasia, combined the power of music with striking visuals, producer Nicholas Russell and director Gipson, enlisted composer Joseph Trapanese (Tron: Legacy) to help them enhance the experience for Myth: A Frozen Tale.
Evan Rachel Wood (the voice of Queen Iduna in Frozen 2) lends her voice as the narrator of the film. Finally, Myth is a tip of the hat to Gipson’s own family tradition of telling bedtime stories, including a particular story passed down from his great-great-great grandfather about a brush with the outlaw Jesse James when he was a young farm boy growing up near Kansas City.
Myth: A Frozen Tale starts streaming on Disney+ February 26. What did you think of the new short? Let us know in the comment section below or over on our social media!