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Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” Anna, the Princess of Arendelle, sets out to find her sister Elsa who inadvertently set off an eternal winter on Arendelle and went to live in isolation. Anna teams up Kristoff, an ice salesman and mountain man, his reindeer Sven, and a naively optimistic snowman Olaf. The three of them set off to find Elsa and bring her back to Arendelle and hope that she can end the eternal winter that she had caused.
Frozen released in 2013. After its release, the movie was a phenomenon worldwide and stayed in the public’s eye for quite some time. I rewatched this film, and I’m surprised how well this film can still hold up today, and I can see why. The characters are memorable and developed well throughout the film. The story, while it follows a typical Disney fairy tale story, it doesn’t at the same time. The songs are great and made Let it Go one of Disney’s most memorable songs and musical numbers. The weakness of the film to me is the lack of a villain or antagonist plot, it doesn’t hurt the film’s overall presentation, and this is one of Disney’s best animated musical films that they had released.
The following article contains spoilers from this point on.
There hasn’t been a Walt Disney animated film in recent times that has been as impactful as Frozen. Not since the release of the 1994 film The Lion King, at least. I’m not talking about the Pixar movies or Disney Live action films, just Walt Disney Animation Studios animated movies. Frozen has countless merchandise, a broadway play, spinoff shorts, and a sequel in the works. To have a Disney Sequel is shocking because not many Disney theatrically released animated films get a sequel. If they did, they would get straight to home video release. Only The Rescuers and Wreck-It Ralph had gotten sequels that I can remember. There are many theories about Frozen. From the characters and where the story is going to lead for the sequel. For now, I’m just going to Focus on Frozen itself. I believe that there was no sequel planned for the movie at the time and was supposed to be a stand-alone film.
The story starts as a standard Disney story; Anna is the regular eager girl, and Elsa has magical ice powers. They are sisters who have a close sisterly bond, but after Elsa hits Anna in the head inadvertently with an ice blast, their parents have Anna’s to get healed and have her memory erased by Rock Trolls. Elsa and Anna stay apart after the incident, and the King and Queen close off the castle to protect Elsa and try to help her control her abilities. There is no explanation of how Elsa got her powers. The only thing we know is that she was born with this and not cursed, as told by her father to Grand Pabbie, the troll king. After that, nothing else was mention of how her powers had come to be. Elsa’s parents seemed quite normal and showed no magical abilities. I wanted to know how she would up with them in the first place. There could have been a quick mention like Rapunzel in Tangled who her girl powers from a magical flower used to heal her mother. That took about several minutes of explanation, but it didn’t take away from the movie.
One thing that doesn’t seem to get talked much about is this movie not only had a Disney Princess, but a Disney Queen. No matter what, the Walt Disney company always seemed to keep their princess character’s a princess. Despite having a story wrap up and living Happy Ever After. Don’t think so, Do you know Jasmine from Aladdin as queen Jasmine or princess Jasmine? How about Belle from Beauty and the Beast is she Queen Belle or just Belle? And I don’t think that anyone else calls Aurora from Sleeping Beauty Queen Aurora. It a pretty big step to have not only a queen, as well as a protagonist queen role in Elsa.
Elsa wasn’t ebad or an antagonist at all but a very misunderstood girl with powers that she couldn’t control. She never uses her skills in offense but as a defense. She, along with her parents chose to stay away from the town and hide this fact. She wasn’t locked away against her will and told that she was an awful person. They were trying and control something that they had no idea how to manage. I felt that whenever she was on camera, the further the camera was from her, the more open and free she felt. As the camera or a character got closer to her, you saw her get stressed and bothered and wanted to keep others away from her. She would either try to walk or get away from anyone getting close to her whenever she is on camera. To protect everyone around her from what she would and could do.
Anna felt like a standard princess typical of her Disney Films. She is very enthusiastic and determined and stubborn. Inadvertently couped up in the castle with Elsa, Anna dreamed of meeting someone and falling in love. I did like all the attacks she received how she couldn’t fall in love with someone she just met. This concept always seemed to happen in almost all Disney Princess movies, she the princess would fall in love with the Prince that they just met and marry them with ever really knowing them. It’s a strange move that Disney even allowed this to be in the movie, but I’m glad they put this in as this allowed to “poke fun” at their tropes they established in previous films.
The rest of the major characters were great. Kristoff and Sven were great, and Kristoff and Anna had well-developed chemistry. There was not force a relationship, but a mutual understanding of a task that needed from Kristoff and Anna. Anna wanted to get to her sister, and Kristoff agreed because an eternal winter would be bad for his Ice Business. There growing love wasn’t forced but felt natural. They conversed with each other and even had natural, and some forced moments that felt believable when they were trying to be pushed together, like when they go and see Grand Pabbie again. I didn’t feel any bitterness when he had to go and bring Anna back to Hans to help Anna. He understood that she was a princess who was engaged to another. Of course, Sven helps him come around and goes to Anna to save her, but it didn’t matter since a different kind of love had saved her.
Olaf was the sentient snowman that was brought to life by Elsa. He served as the comic relief used in a lot of these kinds of Disney animated movies. But I didn’t find him annoying at all. His naive optimism brought a refreshing hilarity to the story. I also think that his sense of wonder is what made him even funnier and likable as well, especially in his musical number. Olaf wanted to see summer but doesn’t seem to realize that he will melt rather quickly.
The closest thing we had to a villain was Hans, who at first showed that he was caring and another protagonist. The youngest of twelve brothers, he seemed to have a genuine care for Elsa. He looked after Arendelle after Anna went into find Elsa and asked him to. He talked Elsa after going find Anna to not killing the Duke of Weselton guards. His plot was a bit weak, as Hans just wanted a kingdom for himself and was going to kill Anna and Elsa, but the movie needs some antagonist, as the rest of the characters didn’t seem to have any evil intent. Its told well that Hans could have been a good guy that I didn’t have any idea he was going to be the bad guy as well. The clues are evident with multiple viewings, though.
If there is anything that this film seemed to have impacted on us, is the song “Let it go.” Disney Music appears to have a way to earworm its way into our heads. This song seemed to be in I always considered this song to be the quintessential song for this movie. That’s not to say that the other songs are bad. I did like, “Do you want to build a snowman”? “For the First time in Forever” and “Love is an Open door,” but “Let it Go” is just so powerful. Elsa does since this song by herself, but she does do to show that alone, she is at a free and powerful point in her life, I thought. Idina Menzel did the singing and speaking voice of Elsa. It reminded of when Jody Benson, who did the singing voice for Ariel in The Little Mermaid. I always appreciate it when the voice actor can do the speaking and singing role for a character. It gives more authenticity to the character.
The end was probably one of the better, almost less predictable ending that has happened for a while. Anna froze herself to death to save Elsa from Hans’s blade. As much as I would have loved to seem Anna frozen forever, I know it is Disney, and its target audience is mostly for kids, so Anna is saved and returned to her usual self. But it’s the way it happened that kind of breaks the convention Disney mold that I like. There were many mentions of true love that would break the affliction that Elsa implemented on Anna after hitting her in the heart with her ice powers. Anna had the chance to go to Kristoff the “true love,” but instead chose to save and protect her sister. It’s a twist that true love doesn’t have to be from a kiss, but a different kind of love. Although I feel that Brave sort of beat Frozen to this with this concept, Frozen still implemented it well. It was snuck in about “True love’s first kiss”, a constant Disney trope, but words saying just “True love” as well. Great to see that family love saved Anna and didn’t need love from Kristoff, although it appeared that Kristoff and Anna had gotten together in the end.