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.


  1. Thanks for the review Heidi. It's pretty much what I expected, although I will admit a twinge of sadness that nary a hint of original fairy tale poked through. I was surprised to read Disney was claiming they'd be including "references to the original tale" in the final movie at all. I kind of thought perhaps they might have added something in the credit sequence or something but it seems not. -sigh- I've yet to see it, though my son has requested we do (note: this is a big deal - he rarely requests going to the movies so the "boy humor marketing" is definitely working), so, if it's sooner rather than later, I'll let you all know what I thought too.

    I will admit I am most bothered by reporting in the US that announces Disney "updated Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale", even though Disney aren't exactly saying that themselves, but I'm bothered further still by the fact that in other countries they're still using "The Snow Queen" as the title, rather than Frozen as it doesn't translate well and the familiarity in European countries in particular with the tale title helps, rather than hinders, marketing there. (Grr!) No matter what, I think fairy tale folk are going to be saddled with this film being considered as part of the "fairy tale film vault" in the future.

    It's a little early to see public responses to the new princess/new Disney fairy tale push but we should know for sure in a month... It would be a good time, however, for snow tale pantos and Winter tale collections to get published. ;)

  2. Spoilers ahead...

    I had let go entirely of any hopes that it would be like the fairy tale-- I knew I'd be furiously disappointed, so I made a point of approaching it like Brave. It succeeded much more as a generic fantasy film.

    I liked it; it won't go down as one of my all time favorites, but I enjoyed it enough to contemplate making costumes for Halloween, which says a lot!

    I was torn on the "true love" issue-- it's a little ridiculous of Disney to try to change their mythology at this point, especially since Anna hardly knew Kristoff longer than she did Hans. And speaking of poor Hans, I was pretty disappointed in how that turned out, since that addition was unnecessary to me. As for Elsa not getting a guy... while it worked that the sisters both got what they wanted (Anna got someone to love her, and Elsa got control and the ability to be around people), I will admit that the romantic in me did hope she'd get someone too. (Actually, I thought they were headed that way with Hans-- that Anna would spend enough time with Kristoff to fall for him, and Hans would do likewise with Elsa and break her out of prison. Shows what I know!)

    I did love the scenery, which was gorgeous, and all the Norwegian bits thrilled me to pieces. (At least if it had to be more blondes they were interesting ones... Would still appreciate some more diversity in the future though, Disney! You can do better!) The music was good, and Olaf wasn't nearly as annoying as I'd feared.

    Overall enjoyable, but my standards for Disney movies get higher the older I get, so not the adoration I would have felt as a kid, that's for sure.


  3. I loved the movie Frozen!!!
    It's so cute!!!