Thursday, December 29, 2011

Disney Defrosts, Thaws Out "The Snow Queen"

Remember a year ago when many people were upset when the media blitzed that Disney was foregoing fairy tale films for the foreseeable future--I discussed it some in my Thoughts on Tangled post. Yes, only a year later and we have Princess Sofia announced and even bigger news, Snow Queen is being defrosted.

Now, I have a long history with Snow Queen and have mentioned it before. Back in 2000 when my husband worked for ABC Online, he rode the train to Burbank and became friends with a few of the Disney animators. A few dinners and conversations later, I had some backdoor insights and peeks at Snow Queen which were fascinating. To sum up: It was nothing like the fairy tale, at all. There was a Snow Queen. That's it. If the plot had been described to me without any preface I wouldn't have ever placed it as the HCA tale.

Then Disney needed to layoff employees to make its year end numbers--which included those animators and my husband--and Snow Queen was tabled yet again. ABC was in the state that NBC is in today and Disney itself wasn't doing much better. VSPs (voluntary severance packages) were the topic of conversations, not The Snow Queen. I've lost count how many times the project has been tabled. And, fortunately, my husband was kept on a few extra months to finish some major projects so we walked away with the package and a new job the following Monday, a blessing since we had moved across the country for the job, far away from family and a much lower cost of living standard. Our rent then was hundreds more than our mortgage now that we live back in Nashville.

But now, with headlines about defrosting, thawing, etc. the media is announcing that the film has been resurrected yet again. Just one article is here but a news search will produce more. There's not much beyond the title and confusion over whether it will be handdrawn or CGI but the consensus is that it will be 3D. I still don't understand Hollywood's misconception that 3D sells seats and DVDs. They might consider offering women viewers some strong female roles and some non-gross romance. (See Movie crowds dip to 16-year low as apathy lingers By DAVID GERMAIN.)

Now the movie will be one word-titled "Frozen." Yes, those onscreen TV guides have oversimplified our lives. And we wouldn't want to disenfranchise male viewers with a girlie title either.

I enjoyed Tangled. I'm not a Disney fan, but I am not a big detractor either. Honestly, more of my own distaste comes from those days dealing with Disney in Burbank when my husband was employed there and I worked down the street at a branch of the Burbank Library. But that's neither here nor there for this post.

As always, I am happy about any big media project that brings more focus on fairy tales, and, let's face it, Disney is hard to surpass for visibility. So let's hope "Frozen" finally gets defrosted, cooked and served at our tables!


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this post on a number of levels: 1st and foremost, I love The Snow Queen. It's my favourite fairy tale, so a film adaptation is great news, even if it is a Disney Film. I agree with your sentiments. They're not my favourite, but they do an OK job and remind people that Fairy Tales are still interesting (even if they butcher the story in the process). Then, your comment on 3D movies is perfect. I made pretty much the same comment on my blog a month or so ago when I reviewed Immortals.

    Thanks for another great post, and once again keeping me informed of goings-ons in the fairy tale world.


  2. That is the worst title ever. When I hear "Frozen" I think frozen fish.

  3. Yay, another Disney fairy tale film! Honestly, I hated the trailers for Tangled so much I almost didn't see it, but then it ended up being one of my favorites (after Beauty and the Beast!) so I'll reserve judgement til the day comes. I seem to recall that Batb also got tabled and reworked, and it turned out wonderful.


  4. The bit about the movie not being remotely like the tale is interesting, and not something I've heard before (although if it were never off the ground I don't guess it would be). That' Well. Yeah.

    As far as the title change, with Tangled, I was FURIOUS when I found out about the name change. Now I think it's kind of cute, but that's after having seen the movie and finding Rapunzel to be an improvement (in my opinion) on how Disney have portrayed their female protagonists in the past. Frozen obviously has the same problem with "de-girlying" or however you want to phrase it, but I'm willing to give it a shot as a new era in naming the titles until we get a male centric tale that uses the original title and not some twist on it (the first tale that's come to mind whenever I've posted about this movie so far has been Godfather Death, and the only thing I could think that would be in line with Tangled and Frozen would be Candles, but you see where I'm going with this).

    Of course, Disney's kind of already proving they WON'T be going that route with male centered tales in the future given how they're handling this whole John Carter thing (here, by way of Oh No They Didn't!). Basically this guy said that girls won't see a movie with the word Mars in the title (oh, well someone should have explained to my 7 year old self that I didn't really like space and sci-fi then) and boys won't see a movie with the word princess in the title. So...yeah, I don't know. I want to withhold judgment on the title for now, but given those statements, I'm not sure I can.

  5. press releases I read for this movie when it was still in the planning stage, it seemed as though they were sticking somewhat close to the original story (aside from aging Gerda and Kay up to make it more of a romance. Which I don't mind).

    I'd love to see them take on Snow Queen, in any form of animation, and I actually like the idea of 3D. Tangled was one movie that 3D actually added to, rather than seeming like a gimmick, and Snow Queen would be visually rich enough to do the same.

    I hope they stick somewhat close to the original story. I mean, it's got tons of characters, talking wouldn't even need that much alteration to have classic Disney elements!

    I do hope they find a new composer. Enchanted was terrific, but I'm sorry, after Tangled it officially seems to me as if Alan Menken has run out of steam.

    More power to them!