Top tribute to queen of coolness
Whenever I hear people going on about declining morals and the world going to hell I think about all the kids I know.
For the most part they seem to be nice people who know the difference between right and wrong.
They are certainly just as honest, friendly and kind as the children I grew up with. They also strike me as smarter.
Next I think about their influences. From what I can tell parents love children as much as they always have and, if our family's experience is anything to go by, schools have improved out-of-sight.
Then I think about the books and comics they read and the TV and movies they watch.
Generally speaking, these are full of positive messages about the importance of being a decent human being, sticking up for your mates, giving people a fair go and doing the right thing.
Kids also get extra encouragement these days when it comes to caring for the environment.
The conclusion I come to is that, on the whole, our young people are just as virtuous as previous generations and more likely to look after Mother Nature.
I also think they are more tolerant, accepting of diversity and brighter. I suspect they may also be more creative.
In other words, those people banging on about society's moral decline don't know what they're talking about and we actually have plenty of reasons to feel optimistic about young people and the directions in which they will take us.
For a brilliant example of the media doing the right thing by kids and society in general, check out Frozen.
A Disney animated movie loosely based on Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen, and featuring a lot of songs, Frozen is wonderfully entertaining and just as packed with positive messages as anything enjoyed by previous generations.
The story centres on two sisters: Princess Anna and her elder sister Princess Elsa. For reasons that are never explained Elsa was born with the power to make snow and ice just by thinking about them and waving her hands around.
Unfortunately these powers get the better of her at her coronation ball. Angry and humiliated, the new queen flees the palace and takes up residence in an ice castle in the mountains. So great are her powers the entire kingdom is pitched into permanent winter.
Not surprisingly Frozen looks sensational. In fact, snow and ice have arguably never looked so good.
Just as good as Frozen's sumptuous visuals are its vocal performances by Kristen Bell as Anna, Idina Menzel as Elsa, Jonathan Groff as a hunky ice seller, Santino Fontana as a handsome prince and, best of all, Josh Gad as a talking snowman named Olaf.
Gad, who played Steve Wozniak in Jobs, gives what must be one of the funniest and warmest vocal performances in recent times. His Olaf doesn't appear until well into the story but when he does he lifts the whole film from really good to great.
The screenplay boasts well-drawn characters, fabulous dialogue, plenty of laughs and the kind of twists you don't expect in a fairytale.
Unlike a lot of modern animated films it isn't loaded with jokes aimed at grown-ups that go over kids' heads.
Instead it's full of humour that will appeal to all ages. In Anna it also has a great role model for girls.
Frozen even has songs that you can't help enjoying. It's not strictly a musical but on several occasions the characters burst into song in very satisfying ways. Normally I can't stand singing in movies but in Frozen, just like everything else about the film, it works.
Wonderful. ★★★★★ (Out of five).
Also screening: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (M) Lots to enjoy if you're still into hobbits.