Tag Archives: Idina Menzel

My Thoughts on: Frozen (2013)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

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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!

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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.

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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!

See also:

Animated Film Reviews

Frozen “Let it Go” (2013)

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Frozen “Let it Go” (2013)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

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I have a confession to make: I have never seen Frozen in its entirety. At the time the film came out, I was buried head over heels in graduate studies and barely had time to notice the film’s release, let alone go see it in the theater. Two years after this hit film became a phenomenon, I finally decided to check out clips of the film online, which is how I (finally) discovered “Let it Go.”

Frozen “Let it Go” (2013)

“Let it Go” is also known as the Disney song that little girls and boys have been obsessed with for nearly three years and counting. It’s true that “Let it Go” is one of those songs that can easily get stuck inside your head, but it remains a beautiful song regardless.

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To set up the context, “Let it Go” takes place after Queen Elsa has accidentally revealed her ice powers to the people of Arendelle (her kingdom, or queendom I supposed I should say). Embarrassed and humiliated, Elsa flees the city, causing a deep winter to fall as she does so. Now wandering alone in the mountains, Elsa decides that she is sick and tired of hiding who she truly is and lets her powers loose.

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation,
and it looks like I’m the Queen
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, Heaven knows I tried

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know!

Let it go! Let it go!
Can’t hold it back anymore!
Let it go! Let it go!
Turn away and slam the door!
I don’t care what they’re going to say!
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway

Before this song was created, Elsa was going to be the villain of this story. I believe it was going to be along the lines of Anna was the good sister and Elsa became evil, or always was evil, something like that. However, after songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez created the song and brought it to Disney, the writers looked at each other and said “We can’t make Elsa a villain now, not with a song like this!” So the story was changed.

It’s funny how some distance
makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
can’t get to me at all!

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free!

Let it go! Let it go!
I’m one with the wind and sky
Let it go! Let it go!
You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand, and here I stay!
Let the storm rage on

It’s fascinating to watch how quickly Elsa’s powers expand in scope. She goes from creating whisps of snow and ice, to creating a snowman (Olaf), to a stairway of ice, and finally, the ice castle. With each successful creation, you can see confidence (and joy) growing in Elsa’s face. At last she is free to use her powers without anyone to tell her she can’t. And really, the song is only “sad” for the first verse, starting with verse two “It’s funny how some distance…” the background music becomes happy, and almost playful, matching Elsa’s rising spirits.

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My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around!
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast!
I’m never going back, the past is in the past!

Let it go! Let it go!
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go! Let it go!
That perfect girl is gone!
Here I stand in the light of day!
Let the storm rage on!!!
The cold never bothered me anyway

Once the stairway is created, the tempo really begins to pick up and the scene quickly changes to the creation of the castle, beginning with that giant snowflake rapidly spreading over the ground below Elsa. And then, as Elsa raises her arms, the camera cuts back to show this HUGE ice palace rising from the ground; that moment is pure Disney magic!! Watching the palace complete itself, I felt like a little kid again after watching Cinderella’s gown appear for the first time. Disney doesn’t always succeed in creating these moments, but when they do, they really do! After her palace is finished, Elsa has one last change to make: she manipulates her powers to create a brand new dress after literally letting her hair down and proclaims an eternal winter from the completed stronghold of ice.

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I am a huge fan of Idina Menzel by the way (I’ve listened to RENT and Wicked hundreds of times each), and she absolutely slays this song with her awesome voice. She actually auditioned for the role of Rapunzel in Tangled (2010) and while she didn’t get it, Disney remembered her and looked Idina up when Frozen was in pre-production.

It’s not surprising that Frozen is receiving a sequel  and this time I will make sure to watch it in the theater.

That’s all I have for “Let it Go,” the song is so amazing that it really speaks for itself as to how brilliant it is. I hope you enjoy listening to it!

See also:

Frozen “Frozen Heart” (2013)

Frozen “For the First Time in Forever” (2013)

My Thoughts on: Frozen (2013)

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Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

*All images are the property of Walt Disney Studios

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For more great Disney songs, check out the main page here: Disney Films & Soundtracks A-Z