Tag Archive: Frozen

  1. Frozen: For Your Consideration

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    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.

  2. The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway

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    I might not be a member of the intended audience for Disney’s newest animated film “Frozen.” That honor goes to kids everywhere — and as one latter-day WEEKEND cover informed me, my childhood is over. As a Disney lover who still thinks of herself as a princess (definitely Mulan), I knew I had to see the film. So I borrowed my neighbor’s children — two rambunctious boys aged seven and nine — who had already seen the movie. On the drive to the theater, I listened to their unabashed, innocent if not obnoxious, chatter about the film’s songs, characters and animation. Their youth was my ticket in.

    The film is the story of two sisters. Princess Elsa, the elder, possesses magical powers that allow her to create ice and snow. After she inadvertently injures her fun-loving younger sister, Princess Anna, Elsa must learn to repress her powers, while Anna is made to forget them. Within the castle gates, the two sisters are isolated from one another. Elsa lives in fear of hurting her sister again, and Anna grows up lamenting the distance between them.

    The song “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” arrives at precisely this crucial moment, as it expresses Anna’s attempts to connect with Elsa, who is hiding in her room. While I cry during nearly every movie I see, this song had me shedding a tear within the film’s first five minutes — something that hasn’t happened to me since “Up.”

    Another highlight of the film is the song “Let it Go,” sang by Idina Menzel (the Demi Lovato cover is also recommended). This comes at a moment where Elsa has realized that she can no longer hide from the world, and so she allows her powers to be free. Menzel is generally a goddess among mortals, and she proves it once again with this performance. But the actual stars of the scene are the animation and the song’s message. The animation, in which lies the film’s real magic, is stunning as Elsa grows a castle out of ice before shaking her hair out and fashioning a sexy dress. The message, too, is powerful. Elsa laments her past repression — “conceal it, don’t feel it” — but finally learns to let it go and accept who she is. At the risk of being too political, I venture to say that this championing of self-acceptance and ending repression falls in line with Disney’s historical support of the gay rights movement.

    The depiction of sisterly love in “Frozen” made me think of my own sister. More specifically, of which sibling each of us would be. A 24-year-old living in Germany, Lauren has already seen the film. We would both like to think of ourselves as the fun-loving, untroubled and spunky younger sister with hip highlights, but that can only be me. Lauren finally relented and let me take ownership of the character after I pointed out that she’s “like, older,” and also bad at talking about her feelings — so maybe she’s repressed like Elsa. And maybe it is true that I am guilty of the alternative, “over-sharing,” as she put it.

    While I’m a college student, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I am too smart or too old or too worldly to enjoy and learn from a film like “Frozen.” Beyond merely delighting me, the film was clever, promoted a message of acceptance and took me on an emotional journey. I probably got more out of the film now than I would have at age 7: I learned that when you “let it go,” you become much, much sexier.