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Six years after the fact, I finally managed to watch Disney’s Frozen, loosely based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson. And, this should surprise nobody, I loved it. The story is set in the kingdom of Arendelle and follows the two princesses Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna. Elsa (for reasons never explained) is born with ice powers that she fights to control as she grows up. It’s very sad to watch Elsa go from loving her powers as a young child to being terrified of them as she gets older, refusing to let anyone in to help her.
Another part of what makes Frozen so great is the way it completely subverts the traditional Disney princess story. Anna, at the start of the film, is in so many ways the traditional princess we’ve grown up with: she believes in love at first sight, she’s perpetually optimistic, and she’s incredibly naive. Enter Prince Hans and after Elsa is crowned queen we have the typical courting/romantic song between Hans and Anna that quickly leads to a marriage proposal (that Anna immediately accepts). It feels perfect…until Elsa actually reminds her sister that “you can’t marry someone you just met.” It feels like a slap in the face but Elsa is absolutely right. That’s been the critical flaw in the classic Disney films (and even in the Disney Renaissance; think about how long Ariel knew Eric, or how long Belle actually stayed with the Beast). And I love that Disney finally put this out there in one of their films, the truth that real love doesn’t work that way!
Another interesting part of Frozen is how Elsa is unintentionally setting herself up as the villain (at first). For example, when her ice powers are revealed at the party after the coronation, everyone’s reacting as if she’s doing it on purpose. People are screaming and running as if Elsa is trying to hurt people but she’s not. We can see that she’s actually just scared and acting on instinct. And speaking of villains, I love how transparent the Duke of Weselton (“Weaseltown”) is about wanting to take over and/or exploit Arendelle. It’s perfect for keeping us distracted from the true villain of the film…Hans!! Seriously, the revelation that Hans has been using Anna all this time is one of the best villain reveals that Disney has ever done. It genuinely made me gasp because I did not see it coming.
Now that I’ve finally seen Frozen, I’m very excited to see Frozen 2 later this year. I’m still hoping that we’ll get an explanation as to where Elsa’s ice powers come from, since the film’s only explanation is that Elsa was born with them. But there has to be more to it than that, ice powers don’t just arrive out of the blue.
Frozen is definitely one of the best Disney films to be released in the past decade and I’m glad I finally watched it. Let me know what you think about Frozen in the comments below and have a great day!
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