With the Oscars this weekend, I put forward to you why I will shit bricks if “Let It Go” does not win Best Original Song.
I only got to watching “Frozen” for the first time last week (I know, I know, so far behind). Needless to say, I was blown away. Of course, I had heard great things about it and already knew the lyrics to “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” by heart (the soundtrack had been on played on repeat by my straight male suitemate since the beginning of the semester.) But I wasn’t prepared for exactly how much I would love “Frozen.”
It helped that I watched it with my little sister, whom I happen to be extremely close with, and that I have a soft spot for reindeers (who wouldn’t want Sven as a pet?) Yet I truly believe that “Frozen” stands up against, and possibly above, the best of the classics.
I, like many others of my generation, was raised on the Disney Diet of “Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Little Mermaid,” etc. As a result, I have exceptionally high standards when it comes to the new slate of Disney movies.
For many years, Pixar wore the crown for best animated films, with a string of hits ranging from “Toy Story” to “Finding Nemo.” Disney Animation Studios, on the other hand, had been wilting. Numerous critics, myself included, dismissed its releases as wanting. Time after time, its films failed to catch fire in the same way the oldies-but-goodies did, and things were looking bleak for Disney. But when in 2006 they acquired Pixar, it proved just the life raft they needed.
In this dawn of a new age, Disney began to thrive again. 2010’s release of “Tangled” proved this by hearkening back to the time of musicals, capturing people’s hearts with its strong and well-developed cast of characters, catchy songs and perfect mix of adventure, fun and romance. It grossed $600 million worldwide. 2012’s “Wreck-It Ralph,” the tale of video game characters come to the life, proved another massive success. But they’ve truly hit a home run with “Frozen,” which has been universally acclaimed by critics and audiences alike.
It really is a winning formula. “Frozen” manages to combine the best parts of the Disney classics — fabulous songs and loveable characters — with the finest Pixar and Co. have offered up in more recent times: amazing advances in animation and departures from traditional storylines.
Breathtakingly beautiful CGI (that ice palace, tho) meant that “Frozen” would always have been well-received. But what made the movie for me were its strong, relatable female characters, and, in the end, its redefinition of “true love” (SPOILER ALERT!).
Some critics have argued that “Frozen” is not truly feminist and have damned the film for trying to come across as such. Though I agree that “Frozen” doesn’t promise a revolutionary new age of feminism in the world of Disney, I don’t think that the film would have been better for it.
Much of the feminist critique points to the fact that Anna always seems to be searching for a man. I take issue with this for two reasons. Firstly, though Anna’s obsession with Hans is clearly ridiculous — in fact, Disney takes a self-deprecating tone to its historical portrayal of romantic relationships — I don’t believe that being a feminist means rejecting the entire male species. If she wants to be with Kristoff, who clearly loves her, she can be with Kristoff. This should not be a big point of contention. More important is the final message that the film leaves us with.
The movie’s true meaning lies in the bond between Elsa and Anna that overcomes all. Not the “love” that exists between a man and woman who’ve just met — here, either Anna and Hans or Anna and Kristoff — but one borne of years of family, sisterhood and friendship. As a sister, I’m pretty down for this message. It’s a throwback to my favorite Disney classics, where the heroine was kickass — think Mulan and Belle — except here there are two of them, and they look out for each other. (And there’s an ICE PALACE.)
Which brings me back to why to I will shit bricks if “Let It Go” doesn’t win Best Original Song.
Let’s start with the film sequence, in which our conservative Nordic queen, the Queen of Isolation, begins with climbing the mountain. Alone, unable to contain her powers, she suddenly comes to the realization that she doesn’t need to hold back. By leaving Arendelle behind, she has freed herself of the problems that prevented her from becoming the person she was born to be.
Ultimately, what the song proclaims is a message of moving beyond convention and what is expected of you and being okay with doing that. Beyond this truism, it’s just a damn good song. Unbelievably catchy — you only have to look at the number of YouTube covers floating around to see that — and superbly performed by Broadway darling Idina Menzel. It’s about as perfect a nomination for Best Original Song as you’ll get.
So now I address the Academy: This WEEKEND columnist has spoken. Let’s make it happen.