Frozen turns the princess ideal on its head
Forget what you think you know about Frozen. From its misleading trailer to the story its adapted from Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, Frozen is Disney’s attempt to tell a princess story while also not being afraid to make fun of its previous princesses.
Elsa and Anna are sisters and princesses in the kingdom of Arendelle. As children we see that they are extremely close and Elsa (Idina Menzel) uses her snow magic to entertain Anna (Kristen Bell). An accident forces them to stop being close and for Elsa to spend the rest of her years hiding her snow magic. Disney has a formula and this stays try to a point. Tragedy happens, parents die, secrets are kept and this is a musical so there’s a lot of singing. But there’s something different here and its wonderful.
Elsa and Anna are very different. Elsa is typical first born, she’s calm, concerned, responsible she’s not looking forward to when she came of age and will become queen but its her duty and she understands that. She does things for the good of the people. Anna on the other hand is flighty, giggling, and has the typical princess dream to have a big party and meet a man. Which she does. When she tells her sister Elsa has the reaction that any sane person not in a Disney film would have. I was so happy to have not just Elsa but it became a running theme for others to acknowledge how the love at first site marriage dream that princess stories fuel is flat out crazy.
Elsa accidentally covers Arendelle in winter and Anna goes after her in an attempt to get her to fix it. Frozen acknowledges that Anna is naïve and in over her head. She does things that are to be expected, and has various levels of success while doing it. Along the way she meets Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his moose Sven. Kristoff is the rational one even if he hates people. He sees how ludicrous it is that Anna is engaged to Hans (Santino Fontana) and he helps her find her Elsa because the winter is messing with his ability to earn a living. The also run into Olaf a walking talking snowman who provides almost all the comic relief.
There’s a lot of music in Frozen so if you weren’t ready for full on singing, you’ve been warned. Elsa, Kristoff, Anna and Olaf all have at least 1 solo. Frozen also does a little bad guy redirection in the film. The trailer paints Elsa as the villain the film shows it differently. For parents worrying about princess culture I will be very clear, this is probably the best in terms of breaking princess cliches ever. While Brave has Merida who was not remotely interested in finding a prince, Anna falls into all the trappings and the film focuses on how wrong that is. The two male characters Hans and Kristoff are background to be honest. Neither of them saves the day, there’s no kiss to make it all better, no prince who creates the happily ever after. They both serve a purpose but that’s not one of them. The sisters create their own destiny and ending while not on purpose for either of them its exactly how it plays out. The film is absolutely beautiful, and the 3D is well done. The film has a brand new Mickey Mouse short which is great in 3D and quite entertaining. For those with small children there’s a short scary bit when the Snow giant appears but otherwise there’s no real scary bits. The video below is a clip where you can see the snow giant. This scene plays exactly like this in the film so feel free to watch it with your children to gauge the scare factor.
My Rating: Full Price
Worth the 3D upcharge: Yes
Directors: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Studio: Walt Disney Animation Studios
Release Date: November 27, 2013
Run time: 108 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG