Hollywood lusts after my children. This is both creepy and true. Script gnomes have spent countless hours crafting narratives designed to bring them back to the multiplex. From the mines of glitter city, Disney now brings us Frozen, based on Hans Christian Andersen’s less depressing fairytale, The Snow Queen, written in 1845. Now that’s some staying power. My kids have already stopped talking about Frozen.
But I am Mr Bitterness. That much is true. My children are not, and both gave Frozen a thumbs up because they don’t know Hans nor do they care. Their generous reviews may or may not have been affected by the Mr. Pibb I let them share, but parents are allowed their own tricks.
If truth be told, even this bitter old man enjoyed Disney’s tale of icy whimsy. On the other hand, the first 20 minutes of the film sucked ass and I do not appreciate any ass sucking in children’s films. Ass sucking is clearly adult fare. The first act of Frozen drifted perilously close to Shrek territory, and so I kept bracing myself for a jive talking donkey quick with the fart jokes. Thankfully, instead of bathroom humor, Disney substituted the weird valley-girl-princess vernacular they’ve been perfecting on their TV network over the last 15 years.
Frozen isn’t a full-on dance musical but the main characters do burst out in song, apparently only to demonstrate that Kristen Bell has pitch control. The tracks are polished American Idol toe-tappers. They don’t get in the way of the story, but they don’t add much either. I prefer big chorus numbers that get all the townspeople involved. You know, like in Grease where they all take over the lunchroom and dance out into Manhattan traffic and get run down by illegal taxicabs. Now that’s entertainment.
The comic relief in Frozen comes in the form of a collapsible robot-snowman (Josh Gad), and his character is a wise fool. Essentially, the robot snowman lacks self-awareness. That’s the whole joke, and a very serviceable joke. Olaf the-Robot-Snowman does, however, know about love—much like Nemo’s big-hearted sidekick, Dori. You’ve seen this type before.
As a parent, going to these movies is an obligation. Most of them I could do without, but a few rise to the top. I love Iron Giant, The Incredibles, A Town Called Panic, Spielberg’s Tintin, and all eight installments of Spy Kids. I require only one of two things from kids’ fare: either camp or subversion. I will take either but a tidy combination of both is far preferable. That’s what creates staying power.
I get all warm and tingly just thinking about that.
But back to Frozen. In case you missed it, the message here is CLIMATE CHANGE IS BAD. In Disney-land this can be corrected through love (and cap & trade) and loyalty and strong female characters, like perhaps Hillary Clinton? The latter I am wholly in favor of, unless we’re actually talking about Hillary Clinton.
Watching Frozen beside my daughter, I hoped she would see something inspired and I sorta-kinda think she did. Maybe. The women in Frozen didn’t need men to solve their problems. That’s a good thing for Disney. Step in the right direction and all that. But in the end, Disney’s stab at a self-rescuing princesses is pretty half-baked if you ask me. Are you asking? Ok, but I’ll have to SPOIL THE MOVIE. So stop reading.
The girl will die in the end unless true love is found. (true love!) The twist is that NO MAN can save her this time. THE ACT of true love is SELF LOVE and it gets her killed. BUT because it was TRUE SELF LOVE, it works like a GIANT DO-OVER. Cue: Music : Lights : Credits Roll. No weddings in the end. DID YOU HEAR THAT FEMINAZIS?!?! NO WEDDINGS!
It works like all those times Captain Kirk got away with violating The Prime Directive because no one really gave a shit about The Prime Directive. My daughter didn’t give three shits about the missing wedding or THE KISS anyway. She was confused about the two male characters (Kristoff and Hans) looking too much like one another. Yeah, that was a problem.
But that computer animated snow looked fabulous.
Maybe I will have to see this film with Mr. Pibb?
I liked it. My four- and six-year-old daughters can’t get enough of it–the films and the soundtrack. (The Polish and English versions of both, actually). We’re all huge fans of “Let It Go.” My daughters also love “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?,” but that one doesn’t do so much for me. I like the snowman’s song, though. It’s a little thin on songs, as far as musicals go; but for Disney musicals, I think it’s about right. Also, it didn’t occur to me to read it as a commentary on climate change–maybe they’re drawing on fears of climate change a little, but I think it’s going too far to call it commentary. But as a feminist statement, yes, I think it is, and I think it works.
Spoiler: It’s not “self love”–it’s sisterly love. She sacrifices herself for her sister.
Also, it’s so different from The Snow Queen, I wouldn’t even call it an adaptation.
My biggest complaint about the movie is that it takes place in a white person’s world. Disney still doesn’t seem to know how to deal with multiculturalism.
I’ve yet to see it, but think I will eventually. I have to admit that I really like Tangled even if Disney’s vision of multiculturalism is adding an anthropomorphized horse.
Tangled was okay, but it bothered me for reasons I can’t remember. I think Frozen is much better. Brave is, too.
I found Brave dull and disappointing.
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There is nothing more tiresome anymore than bloggers over analyzing kids movies and in the process debauching and debasing them for the sake of sport. Give it a rest. It’s a movie. It was a humorous, fun, beautifully animated story about love and loyalty with catchy tunes and likable characters. I am a politically and culturally aware mother of 4. I watch films like this to be entertained. Not to seek out real or imagined psychological programming. I suggest you do the same. Stop trying to be so pithy and “observant”. Sometimes a story is just a story. And a movie is just a movie. Stop looking for demons and hidden messages around every corner.
Everyone’s a critic. That includes you, too, Kay.
As it turns out, I have a different idea of what qualifies as most tiresome. Would you care to guess what that is?
I finally watched Frozen. And I thought it was not bad. Josh Gad is funny, there are some nice bits of animation, and the ending is a welcome change from the tired handsome prince bit.
But I didn’t like it as much as Tangled. I didn’t like any of the songs and found most of them boring (as opposed to funny in Tangled).
It’s also operatic in its plot; meaning it doesn’t really make any sense on a character level. What are Elsa and her parents afraid of? Why is Anna locked away alone for her entire childhood? Isn’t that cruel?
Why did the trolls scare the pants off the royal family when — as it turns out — there was nothing at all to be afraid of?
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