It's no secret that Disney princess films are formulaic, and the fact that Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee's Frozen is entertaining without being groundbreaking just confirms that the formula works.
If you thought there was only so much to be done with ice and snow as visual fields, think again along the lines of prismatic crystals, epic storms and fantastical structures built on water's gift for freezing itself into see-through art.
Extravagant care is taken with minutiae, and the directors, Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, whistle through the first twenty minutes of the plot with a controlled giddiness that would leave many live-action adventures staggering in their tracks.
Frozen establishes a strong, confident tone: Cool mythology, rich, vivid animation, and 3-D effects that are actually worth seeing, not just migraine-inducing distractions.
What's especially encouraging about it is how directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee take a classic tale - Anderson's "The Snow Queen" - and update it, without beating us over the head with references that draw attention to the modernization.
This always enjoyable tale of mysterious magic, imperiled princesses and square-jawed men of action proves longer on striking visuals than on truly engaging or memorable characters.