Frozen impressions so far

The 53rd entry to Disney Animated Canon, Frozen, is based on the story Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen. It will be released on November 27 and I really can’t wait to see it (actually I’ll have to wait even longer since it always takes a few months for Disney movies to get to Finland). While we know next to nothing about the film many people still feel that they must have an opinion on it, and I’m of course one of those.

I like the Snow Queen story; when I was young I used to watch the old Russian 1957 film so much that the video tape is nowadays in horrible shape. When I first heard about a Disney adaptation I was pretty excited. Some good things about the old film include:

  1. For once the princess is not in another castle, this time it’s the girl who sets out to rescue the boy.
  2. While the girl gets a lot of help from others they only help her forward for a part of the journey, she doesn’t have the same baby sitter or bodyguard from start to finish.
  3. While love is ultimately the solution for the frozen heart problem, the film starts with the main couple swearing eternal love to each other so we don’t get the “character development and plot climax = falling in love” thing for the nth time.

Snow Queen

The thing is, it appears that Frozen will have changed these. The one with the frozen heart will be the heroine herself, and she sets out for a quest to find a cure. She is apparently accompanied by the male lead, who apparently will turn out to be her love interest. My first impressions of the news about Frozen weren’t exactly positive.

Um, okay. Just because a movie doesn’t have the girl set out alone to a quest to save the boy doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie, I can think of tons of movies whose plot has nothing to do with that and which are a lot better than the 1957 Snow Queen. It’s just that… when you first tell me that you’re going to tell this awesome story of a girl rescuing the boy, and then reveal that that’s not what you’ll do at all, well, it is a disappointment. I don’t know, I’m just being stupid for complaining that the first pieces of information about the movie aren’t exactly what I want. The movie can have a completely different plot and in the end be a lot better than the original (like Rapunzel). And actually, hopefully it will be different, if I want to watch the 1957 Snow Queen I can… watch the 1957 Snow Queen, no need to tell the same story a million times?

As for the love thing, the track record of the Disney Princess movies kind of speaks against Frozen, they almost always have “falling in love” be the ultimate solution to happiness. Frozen could be about Anna and Elsa’s sister relationship and have the romance be just a side thing, buuuut I’m a bit sceptical. But huge compliments if “curing a frozen heart curse” and “falling in love” will be completely separate events.

I’ve partly ruined Anna’s character design myself for looking at the concept art. There are always tons of different concept designs and usually the final design doesn’t resemble them at all, so I really shouldn’t have gotten attached to Anna’s concept design in the first place. And at least for me the design I see first is almost always the one I like the best so I’m biased. But seriously, I find the concept design so much better that it hurts.

anna

Concept design on the left, somewhat final design (?) on the right.

The concept design gives me the impression of a quirky and even snarky character who knows what she wants, while the final (?) design gives me almost exactly same boring vibes as the Sofia the First one; nice, kind, cheerful, friendly yadda yadda yadda. The sole girl in a children’s cartoon where all the other characters are boys; the boys get all kinds of quirks and flaws while the girl is mostly just “the girl”, nice and cute and that’s that. Anna’s character description containing phrases like “fun-loving younger sister“, “a young dreamer” and “wonderfully warm and optimistic” doesn’t exactly help. “Anna messing up at Elsa’s coronation” makes me think of one of my least favourite tropes, “tee-hee, I’m so clumsy!!!”, but on the other hand “messing up” can mean a lot of things. If she actively tries to, like, sabotage the coronation out of spite or something like that I’m totally in, I like to see characters make wrong decisions for selfish reasons (and learn from them). However, if it’s going to be the HYPER-ENERGETIC and a bit KLUTZY little sister ACCIDENTALLY knocking down someone while she was trying to be totally helpful and nice and thus setting up a HILARIOUS chain reaction that destroys the whole hall (whoops!) I’ll probably be less impressed.

And while we know pretty much nothing about what the character’s personality will be like in the movie and all my complaints are based on pure speculation, I still find the concept design visually a lot more interesting. I love the wide mouth and very prominent freckles, they give the character a distinct and memorable look, while the newer design looks like a generic cuteface. And I very much prefer the old outfit, the a lot more feminine new one was a disappointment after getting used to the shorter skirt and darker colour scheme. Plus a pink cape! It feels like every other Disney female wears pink at some point. And even if there was no pink, the new outfit… it’s just somehow boring. To me it looks like a compilation of random different ideas rather than a proper and complete design.

At least newer pictures show that her face appears to be quite different from the above Barbie-face image, which is a great improvement. But she still keeps the outfit, and even the improved face isn’t as interesting as the one in the concept art. Bawwww…

anna2

The moment I heard mentions of the movie having a love triangle my mind went “deeeeeeerp” faster than a speeding bullet, but after thinking about it a bit it might even be a nice and fresh thing. The character Hans is described to be “a nobleman who is Anna’s boyfriend“, while the character Kristoff is said to be “eventually [Anna’s] love interest“. Because in Disney films (other than the Pocahontas sequel) it seems that it is always your ~first love~who will be ~the One~ with whom you’ll ride into the sunset and live happily ever after, and falling in love with this first love is the biggest thing ever. But! 1) Apparently Anna is already in a relationship with this Hans dude, so we might not have to sit through the falling in love montage between them (but we’ll have to sit through the falling in love montage between Anna and the new guy instead…?) and 2) If there is a new love interest, the old couple has to break up. A Disney princess breaking up with her first love!? Now that sounds interesting. Or what do I know, they might get back together or something else, and since it’s a Disney Princess movie I predict it’ll turn out super mushy anyway. But still, I had no idea I could be excited to hear that a movie will have a love triangle, but here we are.

The snowy setting helps a lot, it even helped me to sit through Kanon (2006), and I seriously doubt this film could possibly be worse than that.

However, despite all the whining, we haven’t even seen a trailer of the movie so it’s definitely too early to decide it’s going to inevitably suck. I used to think Wreck-it-Ralph would be a complete waste of time yet it turned out to be one of my Disney favourites. So there should be no reason to think Frozen couldn’t be amazing either and I’m definitely going to see it myself.

(Lastly. I just realised that since Disney has pretty much completely changed the plot, the robber girl might not be in Frozen. Now THAT would totally be a legitimate reason to complain!)

robberGirl

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7 Responses to “Frozen impressions so far”

  1. mimii Says:

    toi lumikuningatar on kyllä niin mahtava leffa! ja niin kauniskin :3 samoin meillä vhs (nauhotettu telkkarista) on menny aika paskaan kuntoon :’D ootko nähny ivan ja taikaponi? se on yks mun lemppareista

    • Hapuriainen Says:

      Juu olen, ja joitakin muita samaan sarjaan kuuluvia piirrettyjä (nyt tulee mieleen 12 kuukautta ja jonkinlainen Kaunotar ja Hirviö -versio).

  2. Emma Says:

    I have heard that Kristoff is loosely based on the robber girl. So the robber girl is in and you will have no reason to complain about the robber girl not being there.

  3. Frozen | Hapuriainen's Animation Blog Says:

    […] right. the Robber Girl was not in the movie. Since my initial response to the movie was BEST MOVIE EVERRR her absence […]

  4. Jenny Says:

    To your comparison with the original fairy tale and of both endings.
    It´s true, that the children in the tale promise each other eternal love, but there´s also told that they often visit the grandmother of one of them. And this one teachs them a song with the phrase “we have seen the holy child (or the child of christmas)”. And this phrase they also repeat at the end after they returned from their adventures. In my opinion this is a variation of the “All you need is (true) love”, a kind of spiritual lesson that get experienced. When the children first sing the “holy child” song with the grandmother they didn´t got the true meaning of it, they only repeated it. In the end, they got wise and live together until they are aged, but they still get force from this knowledge.

    I guess it´s also important or interesting that the children have more a brother-sister-relationship, also if they grew older together and spend still their life together, they are never really described as lovers. Maybe the reason for this is that Hans-Christian Anderson couldn´t live his homosexuality. I guess that influenced his melancolic fairy tales and it could explain why his “happy” endings aren´t marriage but spiritual developement . Also in the original “Little Mermaid” the end leaves a little glimpse of hope when the protagonist kills herself instead of the prince and she finds a new family in the air beings. These tell her that she could earn an eternal soul by helping humans.

    Well, I was a bit surprised, that Disney kept this message from the story, also if modified and a bit flawed and cliched.

  5. Jenny Says:

    ( I wonder if the “The moon´s awake, so I´m awake” scene is influenced by one with the robber girl ( Anna as a child climbs into her sister´s bed to ask for entertain her with magic). I mean this one, where the robber girl and Gerda sleep together in her bed after she has convinced her mother that she could keep Gerda for her own – and she keeps the whole night a knife to Gerda´s throat so that she can´t run away. I don´t think so, but it´s amusing to think about.)

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