What’s this? A movie post? I still do these?
Well, yeah. Just because I take a couple months off from regular posts and then spend a month posting about nothing but faith-based issues doesn’t mean that I don’t still want to write about other things (I just figured after that long, long, long Mass Effect 3 series I might need to dial back on the bubblegum posts). I simply have to be more discerning in what I discuss in this lovely little corner of the internet.
Anyway, let’s get into what you all clicked on this post for: Frozen.
Frozen is an adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story “The Snow Queen.” In that older story, a girl sets off to save her childhood friend after he gets splinters from an evil mirror (created by trolls) that magnifies the appearance of badness in all things lodged in his eye and his heart, making the world look ugly and turning him hateful. In this condition the boy’s abducted by the Snow Queen, who takes him off to live in her solitary palace away from all the things of the world that he’s come to disdain. The girl eventually finds her friend and melts his frozen heart (because the mirror shards turn what they lodge in to ice) with the power of her love. He weeps at this transformation and his tears wash out the splinter in his eye so that he can see the beauty of the world again, and the two leave the Snow Queen’s palace to return home where they live happily ever after.
Yeah, the Snow Queen doesn’t do a whole lot in her own story (except be really scary and imposing; I saw a stage adaptation of this story when I was in elementary school, and the Snow Queen gave me the chills).
Disney borrows a few elements from the original story for their film, most notably the concept of the frozen heart and true love being its cure (also, inexplicably, trolls). Besides those few core elements, Frozen really bears very little resemblance to its source material. For starters, our Snow Queen in this version isn’t some distant mysterious figure who intervenes in the life of a boy who’s been cursed, but a traumatized young woman who happens to be a mutant with ice powers (okay, fine, it’s magic, but you know it’d be cooler if this were really a sci-fi story). She’s grown distant because all her parents ever taught her was that her magic is tied to her emotions and with great power comes great responsibility (works great for Spider-Man, but his abilities don’t run out of control and plunge New York into eternal winters). Naturally, everything goes wrong and it’s up to Queen Elsa’s little sister Anna to find a way to fix this mess that’s caused by emotional baggage. In the process of trying to fix things through talking about her feelings (Anna is perhaps the first person to ever realize that emotional stability should be a cornerstone in the development of any superpowered individual), Anna gets blasted with Elsa’s freeze powers so that she starts to slowly turn to ice. As this is a Disney movie, we all know that while it may heat up towards the climax, things stay frosty in the end (but without all the ice).
My general impressions of this film are that it’s a pretty standard Disney movie. Disney has always excelled at doing fairy tale adaptations, and everything they do well as a brand they do well here. The highlight of the film is far and away Idina Menzel’s performance as Elsa. While most of the movie’s pretty typical fluff, anytime Menzel starts singing, it gets way, way better. If I had a complaint about this film, it’s that there’s not enough musical here (full disclosure: I like musical theater). The songs that involve Elsa and Anna singing point and counterpoint stand out the most strongly, because it’s one of my most favorite musical techniques for revealing conflicting motivations between characters. If I had my druthers, the whole movie would have been done much more heavily in the style of musical theater with a song for revealing the emotional tenor of every scene. The Disney musical formula isn’t bad, but it’s always frustrating when you get a few really stand out songs that just leave you wanting more music.
So here, have some music.
See, now I’m going to have to go digging around for my copy of the Wicked soundtrack.