Animation / The Snow Queen (2012)

The Snow Queen is a 2012 computer-animated adaptation of The Snow Queen, directed by Maxim Shveshnikov and Vladen Barbe. It was released in Russia in 2012, and the international version, dubbed into English, was released on January 3, 2013, nearly a year before the Disney animated film Frozen. It followed the original Hans Christian Andersen story to a point, but also added backstory for the Snow Queen, took out most of the evil mirror/devil aspects, and tried to be darker and edgier.

Wishing to create a world where clean lines replace emotions and the wind cools human souls, the Snow Queen has blanketed the world in ice and set out to destroy all art. According to the predictions of a magic mirror, the last threat to the Snow Queen comes from the master glass-maker Master Vegard, whose mirrors reveal one's true self. The Snow Queen's polar wind kills Vegard and his wife Una, but they hide their son Kai and daughter Gerda. When Kai grows of age, the Snow Queen realizes he poses a threat to her and captures him... and Gerda goes out to save him.

The film was followed by two sequels, The Snow Queen 2: The Snow King and The Snow Queen 3: Fire and Ice. The second film is set a year after the Snow Queen's defeat. Orm has thawed out the other trolls, but in an attempt to impress Princess Maribel and her uncle the King, he lies about defeating the Snow Queen. When the North Wind, working under a mysterious Snow King, abducts the princess, Gerda, Kai, and Orm must save her—provided they can work together long enough.

The third film deals with Gerda's wish to find her parents who were taken away by the North Wind. Along the way Gerda and her friends discover an ancient magical artifact of the trolls, the Stone of Fire and Ice. From that moment on, things don't go according to the initial plan... Will Gerda be able to tame the mighty forces of the magical elements and get her family back?

Not to be confused with The Snow Queen (1957), The Snow Queen (1977), The Snow Queen (1995), or The Snow Queen (2005) anime.


  • Adaptational Heroism: Oddly enough, done with an object, the mirror (mirrors in this movie). Magic mirrors were created by a wizard that reflect what's in a person's heart. These mirrors are the only thing that can defeat the Snow Queen. In the original story there was one magic mirror, unless the Mirror of Reason counts, and it was made specifically to turn everything it reflected ugly. Also, it was made by the Devil himself.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The Snow Queen was an ambiguous figure in the book; here she's an all-out villain.
    • The witch with the garden is a nice character in the book, even though she tries to keep Gerda with her forever. Here she's a villain who wants Gerta around to help her business.
  • After the End: The movie is set in a world of eternal winter.
  • Artifact Title: The second and third movies have little to do with the Snow Queen herself.
  • Big Fun: Mrs. Vanberry.
  • Bond One-Liner: The Snow Queen jokes about Vergard and Una's frozen bodies.
  • Butt Monkey: Orm. When he tries to reject his duty to the Snow Queen and save the heroine, she calls him a coward.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Surprising nobody, Orm's ability to turn into a polar bear plays a pivotal role in the climax.
  • Crapsack World: Takes place in a world conquered by a totalitarian Snow Queen, who has brought on a new Ice Age, and also banned art.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: The Snow Queen's backstory shows her as a girl whose natural sorcerous powers were so strong that she was rejected and mocked by her people.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Snow Queen rules the world and plans to cause eternal winter everywhere, the trolls were all wiped out, except for one, and several incidental characters try to kill Gerda.
  • A Darker Me: The villain of the sequel is Orm's reflection, born from his lies.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The sequel focuses around Orm, though Gerda is still around.
  • Dean Bitterman: The Housemaster.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: In the most literal sense. The Snow Queen defrosts to Irma at the climax of the film.
  • Downer Beginning: The story starts with Gerda and Kai's parents being frozen into ice, killing them.
  • The Dragon: The North Wind to the Snow Queen. In the sequel it serves under the Snow King, Orm's reflection.
  • Dragon Their Feet: The North Wind, being a titanic force of nature, is never directly fought in either of the first two films and escapes to cause more trouble. The third film seeks to rectify this by making it the main villain.
  • Endless Winter: This is the Snow Queen's goal, and Gerda must stop it in both films.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Vergard and Una embrace and say they love each other before the North Wind kills them.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: In the sequel, Orm claims that he personally defeated the Snow Queen and is destined to marry a princess and inherit great power and riches.
  • An Ice Person: The Snow Queen controls the North Wind, ice beasts, and can freeze anyone to the point of death.
  • Kick the Dog: The Housemaster burning Kai's paintings and paintbrushes. Orn uses this as a catalyst to trick Kai into leaving.
  • Kill It with Ice: The Snow Queen kills her victims this way.
  • Lovable Coward: Orm.
  • Magic Mirror: Gerda and Kai's father made these mirrors.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: Gerda and Kai's father made mirrors like this, and Gerda herself carries one. This is why the Snow Queen is afraid of mirrors; she can't bear to know what she has become.
  • The Mole: Orm is this initially.
  • Not Quite Dead: The third film is about Gerda finding her parents, who were apparently frozen to death at the beginning of the first film.
  • Outrun the Fireball: In the prologue, Gerda and Kai's father tries to outrun the North Wind's wave of ice. After a while, it catches up to him and kills him and his wife.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Gerda and Kai are long-lost siblings, while in the original story, they were friends who grew up together.
  • Scenery Gorn: There are beautiful shots of the town being destroyed by the North Wind in the opening.
  • Scenery Porn: The movie is very pretty, particularly in scenes with snow.
  • ShapeShifting: Orm can turn into a weasel, a troll, and a polar bear.
  • Team Pet: Luta, and Orn when he's a weasel.
  • There Is Another: Both Kai and Gerda are the last heirs to Master Vagard. The Snow Queen only captures the former.
  • Tongue on the Flagpole: Orm gets his tongue stuck on some ice.
  • Ultimate Evil: The Lake of Gow; looking at it draws you to your death, and it turned Irma into the Snow Queen.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: One is seen in the ending credits in the style of traditional animation.
  • You Are Not Alone: Gerda sees a vision of her parents that say this.