Frozen

Man I have like 18 drafts and every time I decide that now I’ll go and finish one of them I end up creating a new draft on a completely different subject. I’ve had to move this text from post to post and increase the number by one far too many times…

This post has been pretty difficult to write, since it’s been sitting in my drafts since December, and during that time my opinions have wildly varied from “BEST MOVIE EVER!” to “this thing actually has a ton of flaws“, and now I should write a somewhat coherent result out of that. Plus everything has probably been said on other blogs already, but there’s not much I can do about that.

But anyway, Frozen, which should be called Snow Queen, tells the story of princesses Anna and Elsa. The older sister Elsa has had ice powers ever since she was a child, and the sisters enjoyed the snowy games the powers made possible. One day Anna was accidentally hit with ice, and to heal it her memories of Elsa’s powers had to be taken away. The accident made Elsa fear her powers and withdraw to solitude to avoid hurting anyone, while Anna was confused about why her sister closed her off from her life. Then the parents die, and Elsa must become the queen when she reaches majority. The coronation doesn’t go as planned, because the conflict about Anna wanting to marry a guy she just met causes Elsa to reveal her powers, run away and accidentally freeze the whole town. Anna decides to go after her to convince her to unfreeze everything.

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Review contains spoilers. Picture from Disney Screencaps.

The movie opens with a Mickey Mouse short where Mickey and company break out of the story and run around in the stage. The fourth wall breaking was fun I guess, but I’ve never liked Mickey and I still don’t, so I was very glad to see the short end.

Then to Frozen itself. All the time I watched the movie I had this uncomfortable feeling that Disney was all self-important about how the film was very much not what people usually complain about a Disney Princess film. “Ha! We bet you thought it’d be a love story, but we’re keeping the focus on the sisters! And you surely thought the girl would have to be saved by the guy, but she can totally take care of herself and no men were needed in the finale! And most importantly, the ‘true love’ we speak of was not romantic love, ha ha ha, we bet we got you there!

This is obviously a dumb complaint and I’m and unpleasable whiner; for once we get a film that doesn’t have some of my least favourite tropes, and I’m complaining that… it doesn’t have them? I don’t know, it wasn’t even that big a problem, and if Disney is (hopefully) going to make more movies like this you have to start somewhere (okay, that wasn’t fair to movies like Mulan and Lilo&Stitch. Moving on.) But I still think the ending could have been less blatant about this though; a lot of my uncomfortable feelings about Disney’s self-importance surely were only in my own head, but with the final solution pushing two different guys in our faces as the ‘true love’ (and I even predicted the frigging snowman to sacrifice himself… Stop laughing now! He even said he loves Anna, and the trailers showed him melting for Anna! I thought that would be the surprise twist!) the final ‘surprise’ that love towards a family member is just as true as romantic love was a bit in-your-face.

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This wasn’t only a bad thing though; I was legitimately surprised at both twists, which is obviously a good thing provided that they made sense as well. So I guess it’s a time to look in the mirror, because I didn’t consider the possibility of sisterly love and only concentrated on the dudes, so I can’t really fault the movie for presenting that as the surprising solution either. And while time may have tainted Frozen’s glory a bit, I still stand by the opinion that the ending is good on many levels. It was a  good surprise twist, it lets the female characters be cool without being too obnoxiously GIRL POWERy, it’s something I have’t seen done before, and it has a great message about love.

I’d say that pacing and random plot points that were introduced but which didn’t amount to much were Frozen’s biggest problem. The troll song for starters. We have a cursed girl who can die any minute, and then we suddenly completely stop and are forced to listen how the trolls sing how they ship the Anna/Kristoff pairing. That felt really uncomfortable and out of place and bothered me even on my first FROZEN IS THE BEST MOVIE EVER viewing when everything else was awesome. The trolls themselves felt pretty crammed in as well, they only exist in two scenes to do some magic and spout wisdom, and outside that nobody seems to care that there are magic living rocks out there.

The movie was full of introduced plot points like the trolls that didn’t go anywhere. Nobody bats an eye on Elsa being able create life with her ice powers, and both snowmen she creates don’t really do much. And Elsa sings a massive song how she will change, but her behaviour after it is the exact same fear and uncertainty it was before the song. And then there was that visiting noble who wanted to exploit the kingdom by discovering the queen’s secret or something, I thought that plot thread was unnecessary and I would much rather have spent more time on Elsa’s inner crisis than a weak villain like that. And the dashing prince turning into a villain at the last minute convoluted things even more. The plot feels like a patchwork of tons of different ideas from the production that took decades because someone wanted to keep that in even if the story was going to a completely different direction (especially the trolls and the bigger snowman felt like a leftover from an earlier part of the production).

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I’ll write Character reviews on the two heroines later so I won’t waste too many words on them here. A lot of my criticism or praise on the movie goes there too, because this is already getting pretty long, and in many parts it is linked to the characters anyway. But to put it shortly, Elsa had a ton of wasted potential, but I still place her at the top end of my Disney Princess list. And Anna wasn’t nearly as bad as I had feared, but still somewhat boring or annoying, or just overshadowed by Elsa’s incredibly more interesting story arc. But she wasn’t exactly bad either, and currently resides in the upper middle of my princess list. Both male leads were alright even if I would have preferred Prince Hans’s sudden turn to villainy to be better executed. The transition from an okay guy to MWA HA HA I KILL U NOW was kind of random.

With Olaf the snowman I agree with pretty much everyone, he wasn’t nearly as bad as expected, and some of the stuff around him even got a chuckle out of me. But like I said, he was a bit unnecessary since neither the idea that Elsa can make living snowmen or the fact that he was embodiment of the sisters’ love didn’t amount to much. But as far as obligatory Disney sidekicks go, I’d say he’s one of my favourites (i.e. least annoying).

“Let It Go” has become one of my favourite Disney songs, but its glory is slightly diminished by the fact that… it doesn’t lead much anywhere. But I think I’ll write more about that in Elsa’s character review, so I’ll just leave this here. It is still an awesome song and easily my favourite part of the movie.

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The film being set in magical Scandinavia has angered a lot of people, since that means a white cast. As for myself, I really felt home with the snowy Scandinavian setting. Sure, Finland is not a part of Scandinavia, but I don’t remember any big animated film set in Finland and I find it unlikely that one will be made anytime in the near future, so I’ll have to take what I get (the Scandinavian setting is close enough).

Despite all my complaints, final verdict is still “Top tier”. The problems are pretty bad and the more I think about them the sadder it is how the film could be so much better, but there was still so much stuff that was great that I can manage just not think about it and enjoy the good stuff, and I’ve sure had awesome time with this film. And since my judging criteria are about how much I enjoy watching the movie anyway rather than if I think if something is actually ‘good’ on some objective standards I can rank everything however I please.

Oh, right. the Robber Girl was not in the movie. Since my initial response to the movie was BEST MOVIE EVERRR her absence didn’t bother me that much, but now that Frozen isn’t the best movie ever any more I’m starting to long for her more. But begrudgingly I have to admit that even if I would very much have liked it if the person helping Anna had been a rugged girl instead, it was kind of a plot point that we were supposed to believe that Anna needed her magic kiss from the man number two (and the movie was already crowded enough so there really was no time for her discovering something new about her sexuality).

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…Yes! I finally managed to finish a post! Hopefully this will help the blog to awaken from its slumber now.

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2 Responses to “Frozen”

  1. Olivia Says:

    Glad to see that I’m not the only one who was bothered by the troll’s singing scene. It felt so out of place, I was just about ready to scream.

  2. Emma Says:

    I would have liked the troll song more if it was before the ‘Elsa freezing Anna’s heart’-thing. It kinda felt out of place in a dark situation.

    Oh, and I agree with you that it could have been nice if it was a girl who escorted Anna to Elsa’s castle, but yeah… we still need some more years before we get a non-straight Disney Princess.

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