03.31.14 // Frozen – With Spoilers
Written by Adrienne M. Roehrich, Manager of Editorial Services
When the DVD/Blue-Ray release of Frozen occurred, my social media timelines filled with parents posting that they were watching the movie that night with their kids. When it was premiered in theaters on Thanksgiving, I heard mostly positive reviews from so many sources, parents and non-parents alike, I thought I’d see it if I could. So, within a weekend or so of the DVD release, we had a family movie night and watched the Blue-Ray of Frozen. Mostly my fourteen-year-old daughter, who was the only one of all her friends to not have seen it yet, and I were the ones interested in watching. However, my husband and thirteen-year-old son were happy to do family movie night with a Disney movie.
I am someone who really dislikes spoilers. If I don’t think I’m ever going to see or read or consume a thing, I don’t worry about them. Initially, Frozen was one of those things. However, what I had read caused me to want to see Frozen, and I had some spoilers. While I normally try to write spoiler-free reviews, I’m going to assume that since the movie was in theaters Thanksgiving 2013 and released for home video March 18, 2014, if you are interested in the movie, you’ve seen it already.
Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, the story focuses on a pair of sisters. I felt like it was really the younger sister’s story more than the Snow Queen sister, but it was definitely their story together. The opening scenes introduce us to the culture and Kristoff and Sven, which is sort of too bad because it had me wondering who this character (Kristoff) was in the grand scheme of things pretty far into the movie.
The initial scene that sets the premise for the story of Anna getting Elsa to play with her Snow Queen powers, leading to the accident that requires the separation of two girls previously inseparable is very touching. It was very hard to watch Anna try so hard to get her sister back. However, I don’t think the isolation of Elsa and how she felt was as well displayed.
Of course, the parents die. The parents always die in Disney movies. (Every time parents die in film I always recall seeing The Lion King in theaters and a child a row or so away screaming “Not the Daddy! Not the Daddy!”) As a kid, I actually didn’t mind that so much, but as a parent it’s a little rougher.
The love song portion with Anna and Hans confused me. It seemed ill-fitting for the message I had received from sources, but I held on for the ride. I’d heard the Prince was a terrible person, but like Anna, I kind of bought it during the love song. Spoiler: don’t buy it. It’s an interesting nod to the oddity of all previous Disney movies where during one song, the girl and guy fall in love.
One of our film watchers did not really get into the movie until Kristoff and Sven came back on the scene with some real lines. This was because he could identify with a guy having a friend that didn’t talk, but he used a funny voice for to make up lines. For my family, Kristoff was a good source of humor, along with Olaf. Anna also had her moments. The adults in the family thought her “trust fall” line was well done. Likely a little out of character if I must analyze, since it’s doubtful this isolated princess ever did trust fall exercises.
I’ll admit, I thought Olaf melting to help Anna stay warm might do the trick to save her. I’m very happy with Anna saving herself by sacrificing herself for her sister. I’ll also admit that I didn’t get why everyone loved “Let It Go” so much until seeing it sung in the movie with what it truly meant. Now I get it.
I’m not thrilled or even okay with the diversity of the cast (either as drawn or as voiced.) I’ll give Disney their small steps of at least getting some women-power in there, but they have huge racism issues to overcome since their early days and continuing through the current day. There are also body size issues in this movie. Disney draws all the “good” guys in culturally idealized body shapes for both women and men. The only non-idealized bodies are by those who are plotting bad things (or are made of snow).
I’ve encountered several people who also watched Frozen after the DVD release for the first time and they were disappointed or at least not wowed the way one would expect based on the theatrical release noise. This is why: it was over-hyped. For those who went to a theatrical release expecting a typical Disney movie and got something that focused on two women as central characters and self-saving, this is a huge step forward and was amazing and cool. For those of us who listened to months of how awesome this is, it doesn’t live up. I spent the entire movie up until the actual sacrifice/savior scene wondering when the movie was going to live up to the hype. That’s extremely late in a movie for that. And then it wasn’t, oh wow! It was, oh, that’s why people liked this so much. Yeah, it shouldn’t be that intellectual.
Overall, this is a good movie. If you have a child with death-fears, maybe not this movie or any Disney movie where the parents die on-screen. But I think this is suitable for all ages and all genders (although some are not represented).