Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, Frozen is the latest Disney movie that’s taken the world by (snow) storm. It took the award for the Best Animated Feature Film at the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards, granted it was robbed of the award for Best Original Song. It’s also been nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 86th Academy Awards and ‘Let It Go’ has been nominated for Best Song. Considering it’s been a month or two, need I say ‘Spoilers?’
It has all the makings of a classic Disney tale, a princess or two, excellent musical numbers, a prince, a broody rogue, weird sidekicks and initial tragedy. However directors, Jennifer Lee (who also penned the screenplay) and Chris Buck gave us so much more than a ‘classic Disney tale’. They gave us a wittily-written, visually-stunning and excellently-voiced film about true, unconditional, love and sacrifice. Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Santino Fontana, Jonathan Groff and Josh Grad lend their wonderful voices to some excellent, (mostly) well-developed, characters. Kristen Bell’s Anna is a fearless optimist who misses hanging out with her broody older sister, Elsa, voiced by Menzel. Elsa has the power to create and ice and snow, and while it is a thing of beauty it could also be rather dangerous. As is a lot of things, to be fair. However when she nearly kills Anna, their parents are advised by wise trolls (what’s that? The sound of the internet laughing) that it’s best for Anna to forget about Elsa’s powers and for Elsa to keep it hidden from the world. ‘Conceal, don’t feel’ is exactly what Elsa didn’t need, and while her parents meant well it ultimately wound up doing more damage than good, before they up and drowned at sea. An argument between the two sisters, at Elsa’s coronation, set off by Anna wanting to get married to Hans who she just met, culminates in Elsa’s powers being exposed to everyone and Elsa bolting. But not before unknowingly setting off an ‘eternal Winter’.
I like the development of Anna and Kristoff’s friendship of convenience into actual friendship, before it turned into romantic affection as realised by neither until near the end. Sven, a reindeer, and Olaf, a magically animated snowman, were more perceptive. I love that there’s an obvious ‘red herring’ villain in the form of the Duke of Weselton (WEASEL-town), voiced by Alan Tudyk. I thought I would hate Olaf, but he was actually hilarious.
However, the most important aspects of Frozen were the sibling relationship between Anna and Elsa and the subversion of traditional Disney norms like ‘true love’ and ‘happily ever afters’ only realised once you find ‘the one’. Anna puts her sister before herself, choosing to save Elsa’s life rather than her own. In doing so we discover that her sacrifice in and of itself was an ‘act of true love’ strong enough to thaw the ice in her heart. It then dawns on Elsa that it was ‘love’ she needed, in order to stop herself from losing control of her powers, not isolation.
The score (Christophe Beck) and songs (Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez) were great, Beck makes great use of the orchestra and the Robert and Kristen provide some top notch songs. ‘Let It Go’ was reminiscent of ‘Defying Gravity’ from Wicked, both in terms of theme and tone, but this is by no means a criticism. It helps that Menzel’s voice is perfection. ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman?’ is adorable but utterly devastating, and ‘For The First Time In Forever’ is a great duet and I knew Bell could sing, but wow! ‘In Summer’ is hilarious in all of its oxymoronic folly, and the Trolls’ ‘Fixer Upper’ is catchy, albeit a bit pointless; but the shipping though!
And yes, random tumblrer, tumblrin, tumblrite, I do agree; what the heck was with Kristoff’s background?
Now ‘Love Is An Open Door’ was catchy and certainly funny, especially for the way it parodies previous Disney princesses’ romantic ideals as outlandish and obviously strange. (Further emphasised by the reactions of other characters to the sudden engagement.) However the full impact of the song hits you at the end when you discover that Prince Hans was a gold-digging douche-bag. (And in actuality a few things become apparent- he wasn’t about to say sandwiches, why you gotta lie Hans? Why so desperate? And when they go in search of Anna and find Elsa and he pushes the crossbow up to ‘stop the guards from hitting Elsa’; upon closer inspection you’ll find that he glances up at the ceiling before taking action. He was aiming the crossbow so that it would hit the ice crystal chandelier so that it’d come crashing down on Elsa. He was hoping to kill her right then and there ya bastard! Ahem, this parenthesis has become insanely long.)
Fun fact: the Lopez’s are Arrested Development fans and the references were all inserted ‘subconsciously’. It almost makes up for the fact that Jonathan Groff (Kristoff) didn’t have a significant song for his killer voice. Almost. (‘Reindeers Are Better Than People’ was far too short, far too short.)
The movie managed to be heartwarming but not overly sentimental and there were a few sly jokes in there that adults could smirk at while innocently going right over a child’s head. Kristoff questioning Anna about how much she knew about Hans comes to mind. “Shoe size?” “Shoe size doesn’t matter!” The end result is a great film that’s fun for the whole family with a message we can all get behind. It leaves quite an impact, much like Anna’s sucker punch.
– There might be a sequel. There might be a sequel!
– While I’m not surprised by how much I liked Frozen, I am surprised by the amount of likes this particular photo has gotten.
Frozen isn’t the first Disney movie to teach girls that you don’t need a man to save you, and whoever made this photo has a very short memory. Belle, in Beauty in the Beast, gave up her freedom to save her father. Mulan disguised herself as a man, at the risk of being discovered and executed, in order to take her father’s place in the Imperial Army and although Repunzel needed Flynn act as her guide to the floating lanterns, in the end it was her ingenuity and resourcefulness that helped her the most. However the most recent princess film, Brave, comes to mind. Merida subverts the ideal that in order to find oneself, one must find ‘the one’.
– I’m going to leave you with this nightmare I discovered on tumblr.
– Now I feel responsible for the nightmares you’ll all be having. So quick, listen to this one!