Monday, December 2, 2013
What Did You Think of Frozen? Some Thoughts and Links
When you have a three year old niece and lots of doting women in her life, you make a sojourn to the movie theatre over a long holiday weekend and see Frozen. At least you do if you're me and also want to see if there are any of the Snow Queen references promised by Disney; Gypsy said they said so in her post.
And other than perhaps some wintry visuals, no, the story doesn't resemble The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen. I missed those references. Did you, too? Deathly ice in the heart is about all I can come up with from a simple analysis. And an ice castle. Yes, there's a reindeer, too, but that is a brittle rubberband stretch to call that a reference to Snow Queen. It will snap and bite you if you really try to use it.
That is not a criticism. Disney is what Disney is and I'm not going there today. As always, I have an admitted love/hate relationship with them which I state honestly and then move on.
But this is a fairy tale blog that espouses the original tales and their modern reinterpretations. Frozen barely qualifies a mention here under those circumstances.
Visually, the film is beautiful. I've claimed my strong Norwegian heritage before and the film definitely channels that environment. The ice is gorgeous. One of my favorite scenes is actually the opening with the ice cutters working and singing. One of the grandmothers who attended the film with me didn't like it because it was too dark. I thought it was one of Disney's lighter films--there is nothing overly menacing with the villain barely a villain, very ineffectual--and an abominable snow monster is the biggest "scare" in the film visually. Maleficient would disperse him in .2 seconds. My own mother (another grandmother, but, shhh, she's Nana) enjoyed the blues and ice imagery throughout. She also is Norwegian--half making my quarter, so she appreciated that artistry.
As for the story, it was fine, but there are weak points if you think too hard--such as how Elsa can't control her powers for her entire life and is suddenly doing wonderful things with them as soon as she runs away, including turning into Dolly Parton (as one lost Twitter commenter said). Never mind the need for secrets and such way past their usefulness. But the ending is definitely about girl power and there aren't romantic resolutions for everyone involved which may comfort some parents who care about those things. In fact, they will probably appreciate the diss on "love at first site" the film offers. But one in our little group was disappointed that Elsa didn't get a man, too. And how her kingdom adores her so quickly after being afraid of her--witchcraft!--is another avenue to avoid exploring in the plot analysis if you want to be generous.
Maria Tatar also has offered up a fine collection of links about the film on Breezes in Wonderland at Fire and Ice at the Box Office.
And my niece? She loved Elsa and spent days after the film throwing imaginary ice magic around her. Anna, the film's primary heroine, didn't even phase her. Forget saving the day, she wants to build an ice castle with a wave of her hand.
Overall, it's entertaining and I anticipate a big hit here for Disney. Which may mean more fairy tale films despite previous promises otherwise. I was entertained. I will watch it again someday.
And, my only really big complaint, despite whatever tone this post may have, is that there was a FULL HALF HOUR of previews in front of the movie. Our advertised start time was 2:50. The film actually started at 3:20. AARGHHH! With some scary trailers, including for Maleficient with a theatre full of many, many kids under the age of six. My niece, who is currently a PRINCESS and loves Disney and their movies, was restless and ready to go before it ended. She wanted to get up and play and come back and finish it later. Because she was forced to sit way too long by the marketing machine. The film itself would not have been too long. She wasn't fussy and was enjoying it, but it wasn't engrossing quite enough to sit for well over two hours. Our time in our seats was about 2.5 hours, long for even most adults. I remember the same problem when we saw Tangled at its release.