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Snow Queen: Film Review

The Bottom Line

Unfortunately, none of the characters,--whether human, fantastical, or anthropomorphically animal—prove remotely engaging.


Vlad Barbe, Vadim Sveshnikov


Jessica Straus, Doug Erholtz, Cindy Robinson, Marianne Miller, Wendee Lee

This Russian animated import is loosely based on the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairytale.

The bar for animated releases has been set so high by Pixar and the like that it comes as something of a shock to encounter Snow Queen on American theater screens. This crudely animated and narratively muddled Russian import seems to have little reason for being here, except possibly for the fact that one of its producers is the recently transplanted Russian director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and that it serves as a sort of warm-up for Disney’s upcoming Frozen, also loosely based on the same classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.

This effort from Russia’s Wizart Animation, written and directed by Vlad Barbe and Vadim Sveshnikov, relates the story of the titular evil character’s plan to turn the world into a frozen wasteland. But first she must get rid of a magical glassmaker who has created a mirror that reflects the true nature of anyone who gazes into it.

After dispatching the mirror maker, the Snow Queen takes prisoner his young son Kai so that he will not be able to follow in his father’s footsteps. She also sends her troll minion Orm to similarly get rid of his sister Gerda. But they form an unlikely bond, experiencing a series of adventures involving pirates, witches and other colorful characters as they attempt to rescue Kai from the Snow Queen’s clutches.

Dubbed with American voices sporting a variety of jarring accents, the film features the sort of broad, vulgar humor—it’s not long before the first fart joke—presumably intended to amuse undiscriminating small fry.

Unfortunately, none of the characters,--whether human, fantastical, or anthropomorphically animal—prove remotely engaging. And the cheap animation, the sort of low-grade CGI endemic to endless direct-to-video efforts, proves visually unappealing. Destined to make a quick exit from American theater screens—the film did reasonably well in Russia in a 3D version—Snow Queen will soon find its way to video stores’ bargain basement bins.

Opened Oct. 11 (Vertical Entertainment)

Production: Wizart Animation

Cast: Jessica Straus, Doug Erholtz, Cindy Robinson, Marianne Miller, Wendee Lee

Directors/screenwriters: Vlad Barbe, Vadim Sveshnikov

Producers: Yuri Moskin, Vlad Nikolaev, Olga Sinelshchikova, Sergey Rapoport, Alexander Ligay, Timur Beckmambetov

Composer: Mark Willott

Not rated, 80 min.