Friday, 2 December 2016

Why Frozen is Not Groundbreaking

Now that it’s winter, I thought I’d harp on about a film that has terrorized the cinemas and plagued the airwaves. I’m of course talking about Disney’s biggest mistake, Frozen.
You know when someone says how amazing something is and you just don’t see it? That’s how I feel about Frozen. When Disney released The Princess and the Frog, I was ecstatic. The story was a riff on a fairy tale with a new exciting location set in 1920s, which was unusual for a so-called ‘princess’ movie. The prince of the story is not like others either, being self-absorbed, always wanting fun, he’s the one who ends up with the curse. With two unconventional leads in the Disney universe, this should have been a hit. But it wasn’t as big as Disney has hoped. Then they blamed the slow success on the title and that boys didn’t want to see the film. Parents pick the films the kids, so this is completely wrong.
Rapunzel was changed to Tangled to trick boys into watching the film and Flynn Ryder was introduced in place of a prince. The film is still a ‘princess’ film but with a slightly changed narrative and a better reason for the witch to keep Rapunzel locked away, there was hit.
It was such a success that Disney decided to repeat the animation again. Girls with big eyes that take up half their face was the new rule. This time The Snow Queen would get a makeover and became Frozen. But instead of a few changes, the entire fairy tale was in ruins. This time two sisters were at the forefront, one has mysterious magical powers (no explanation given) and they consult trolls for help when the other is injured (again, no explanation about the trolls). They lose their parents and become shut ins. How original.

 Before I launch into my points again, there are few aspects of the film that have proved to be good. Most notably, casting Broadway star and amazing singer, Indina Menzel and giving her the best song. She has the right voice to carry the film’s only good and memorable song (apart from Olaf’s). The song has also become a surprise anthem for the LGBT community and has even inspired the likely notion that Elsa is a lesbian. I think this would be a huge step for Disney to take and unfortunately seems unlikely that they will admit this about Elsa, which is a shame. The campaign to get Disney to give Elsa a girlfriend took to twitter but no word on Frozen 2 yet. 
Another admirable part of the film was that it was sisters and how a sister’s love broke a curse. This of course had never been seen before but the fact that the film still had a couple of love interests for Ana, meant that this big deal was not quite as big a deal as it could have been. The good thing about the upcoming film Moana is that we’ve been promised there is no love interest, which again is new. Brave did focus on this as that film was about a mother and daughter bond but no one seems to talk about Brave…maybe because it didn’t have an anthem….

 Going back to Frozen, let me start by saying how devastating it was that Disney didn’t stick to the original story. It is a perfect story for them to create on screen. Frozen is NOT an adaptation of the classic fairy tale, The Snow Queen. It stole one element from it and that is it! The Snow Queen would have been one of the greatest villains, on par with Maleficent and Ursula. She made a deal with the devil for a mirror that shatters (can imagine how amazing this scene would be?) and one of the shards ends up in Kai/Kay’s eye. He disappears, kidnapped by the queen and makes him build the mirror again, the piece in his eye being the final part. His sister, has to race to find and rescue him before the queen murders him. It’s all there, siblings fighting to save each other, a brilliant villain and all wrapped up in a snow scape kingdom. So why the hell didn’t they go with this?  They could have still called it Frozen. 
What was created instead was a mediocre film with a half arsed story with plot holes galore. The first major plot hole that is so wide the entire kingdom could fall through it, is where did Elsa get her powers? Why is it only her and not Ana who has these abilities? You’re meant to take it for granted that no one cares but it annoys me throughout the film. Yet another reason why the original story made sense, the original snow queen made a pact with the devil. It’s not like Disney hasn’t used the devil in past films either. The Black Cauldron toyed with it, Fantasia used music to illustrate it and I’m pretty sure voodoo isn’t far off.
Another plot hole are those trolls. Who are they? Why are they are chummy with the King and Queen? How and when and why did they adopt Kristoff? Why are they even in the film?? They have a pointless song and give people bad new and do nothing.
Why does Prince Hans think he just win over the kingdom with a few blankets? Also Ana and Hans ‘love’ story is not believable in the slightest. Hans is a weak villain, especially as he is only revealed 10 minutes before the end practically. His bitterness that his older brothers outshine him and that he won’t king is silly. He’s a prince! Also only his older brother will be king, why aren’t the in between brothers kicking up a fuss?
Why didn’t Elsa confront the kingdom earlier, so what if they’re scared, she has powers! She could have fixed everything much sooner and quicker if she just talked to her sister all those years.
Disney is known for having songs right? They changed things by having Broadway like songs and casting mostly Broadway stars, which was a good idea, BUT the songs weren’t memorable. Apart from Let It Go and Summertime, the others drift away like snow melting next to a heater. Once they’re over, they’re over. But no one clocked this. Everyone just sings the same song over and over.
I still can’t understand why the film became such a hit. Was it because Disney put more money into marketing than it was possible? Was that there not one but two princesses, so double the toys? On the surface its looks like a phenomenon but underneath it’s a cheap knockoff from the strain of brilliance. All it really is a film with a couple of good songs, the truth that a family’s love can break a spell (which people should have known already!) and the hope for the future that Disney will include everyone on film but we know they won’t.


  1. I love this post. I don't hate Frozen but I think it's vastly overrated. (Especially after my kid made me watch it so many times)

    You bring up too great points, and one of them I always use myself - Brave. One of the biggest things I kept hearing when this film was out about how it was so empowering for girls because the sisters saved themselves and didn't need a prince, but Brave did that too. I'd argue they did it better because Merida has no love interest throughout the entire film and Anna does. I bought into that hype too because I didn't see Brave until after Frozen, but now I prefer Brave. (I'd argue "Chase the wind" is a very catchy song that could've been marketed more too)

    The other is Disney never would've used the devil again. They pretend The Black Cauldron doesn't even exist and Fantasia gets the "doesn't count" title.

    1. Thanks Brittani :) I feel for you having to watch it repeatedly.

      I think Brave on a whole was let down by Disney and Pixar on the marketing front, there was a big deal then nothing.

      Its a shame about the devil thing. They could have come up with another entity, but in Frozen its just yeeeeeh she has powers and consults trolls... cool. It's upsetting to think how great a Snow Queen movie would have been.

  2. "Girls with big eyes that take up half their face was the new rule." Love this!
    I didn't quite understand the Frozen phenomenon either except for Let It Go, Olaf, and a perhaps a few similarities my sister and I saw in Elsa/Anna. The plot is a bit all over to me and definitely not one of Disney's better or even good ones.

    1. The eye things is contiuning in Moana too but I'm really excited to see it. The sisters I liked but could have been characters in another story, its just a shame they are trapped in FRozen now.