Sometimes my friends like to bust me—lovingly of course—for my desire for a homework assignment as I am adjusting to my post-graduate life.
Seriously Noelle, you want write a paper? Why??
I’m sure it is a little psychotic to my peers to think that I would actually want to spend any extra time doing all the writing, the research,—the stressing,—trying to come up with the perfect thesis, or what have you. But, what can I say, you can take the English student out of the classroom, you can even hand her a diploma, but you cannot take away the nerdy excitement whenever something really cool happens.
In this case it’s Disney’s newest animated flick, Frozen. Source:disney.wikia.com
Let me just say that the urge to write something was never so strong. Here I am trying to watch this film and the gears in my brain were working faster than I could actually put my thoughts together. But, amid the fragments of awesome, one point was screaming above the chaos,”YES, Disney is finally starting to get it!” Finally, a film that portrays a Disney princess in a more realistic, or rather, more responsible fashion—though as a side note, however unrealistic it may be, no one can deny that the power to control winter would be amazing.
Now before anyone cries cynic, know this: I am a total sucker for a Disney princess movie, and could have actually cried from pure elation at seeing Cinderella’s Castle in Disney World for the first time. However, I am also a realist who can no longer ignore the problematic areas of what has become known as “Disney Princesses Franchise.” Here are a few examples of what I mean.
- She meets a guy once—declares him the best, most romantic dude ever; the one who will take her away to a life of complete bliss. While she waits for her rescuer, she spends her time in the woods doing a lot of cooking and cleaning. Bilingual, Snow is well versed in the local dialects of deer, squirrel, rabbit, chipmunk etc. For how smart she seems in theory, she does not use those smarts to protect/defend herself against suspicious old women wandering in the woods.Source:gameraboy But, I’ll give her this, Snow White does try to see the good in people and situations and sometimes the world in general needs a little more of that.Source:imaginationconnection
- She dreams of a better life—YAY! Dreamers are the best kind of people because they have a sense of optimism. Except she thinks meeting a “Charming” guy is the only means to get a better life—‘womp.’Source:disneyboost Meets the guy once, dances with him, falls in love, and marries him at the end of the film.—Jeezus,The Prince must be one hell of a dancer…. If you’d like to know more of where I’m going with this, I recommend the book Just Ella.Source: snowwhitecinderellaaurora
- Pricks her finger and has to sit out for the film’s key action. Source: weheartit I would say that the Disney company definitely could have written this script better to make Aurora much less helpless—I mean for the lova’ God, Prince Phillip got some of the best scenes in the movie. Though let’s be real, he could have done nothing without those fairies. I guess that makes it a little better…but I’m only scrapping at the surface here. In any case, even if she only spent her time singing, dancing, and sleeping; I suppose dreamy thoughts can be kind of endearing.Source misscinemafanatic
Ariel-The Little Mermaid
- Dreams of being part of the human world, learning and knowing more. Love it! I always get chills when she sings Part of your World and belts out these lines that makes me go hmm
Bet’cha on land they understand
Bet they don’t reprimand their daughters
Bright young women sick of swimmin’
Ready to stand. (http://www.stlyrics.com/)
Preach girl. All very inspiring, until we realize that Ariel is only pushed to manifest her dream of knowledge after she sees Prince Eric. Source:weheartit
To make matters worse, she gives up her voice to a sea witch who declares that she doesn’t need it because body language is not to be underestimated—you can take that to mean exactly what you think it means.Source:apineopines
Listen to Ursala’s advice anyway, it super sucks and there is a lesson in that. But you knew that right? No gal in their right mind wants to be treated like a doll or a puppet on a string. It’s just gross.
Belle-Beauty and the Beast
- My favorite. She is smart, loves books and will always stand up for herself. She refuses to marry the town’s super douchebag bro—Gaston—(‘aka’ the real beast of this movie) despite his being a “major catch.” Source:itsbethanyyy
Yeah, okay, if I ate five dozen eggs everyday there would be one word for me, dead. Since Gaston did not have a heart attack, this really is a fairytale. Anyway, Belle does fall in love with her captor animal like tendencies and all, so the Stockholm syndrome thing is a bit problematic.Source:dreaming-the-blue-sea
- “I am Merida and I will be shooting for my own hand” I love this girl! Merida is a completely unconventional princess who wants to take control of her own destiny. Why should that include getting married anyway? This film, unlike most other Disney princess films, focuses on other relationships instead of the romance thing. Very refreshing. Viewers rejoiced when they saw a princess more willing to don a bow and arrow then “whistle while you work.” Merida proved a popular character because she was so unlike any princess we had ever seen before. But then, Disney had to sell merch so this happened. Source: www.parade.com
Annnd, we are back to square one.Source:gifwarehouse
Okay, so that’s probably more than a few. But if you were skimming (come on, I know you did it) what I had to say, then you will probably agree with me when I say that there is a distinct line of difference in characterization from Snow White to Merida. And,as much as I enjoy watching princess movies, I can’t get into the meek, domestic, perfect princess anymore. In many ways, she is like a Barbie doll, so far unreachable for x number of reasons that I just can’t identify with her.
Yet over the years, slowly, the image has started to evolve and improve. And here is where Frozen made me excited.
(**Spoilers** ahead. You have been warned) Source:www.nerdist.com
Okay so here is the general plot line…
Frozen is based on Hans Christen Anderson’s The Snow Queen and tells the story of two sisters, Elsa and Anna, princesses of the fictional kingdom of Arendelle. Elsa has a unique gift, the power to control winter. The sisters are very close until Elsa accidentally hits her sister in the head head with her snow powers. Fearing the worst, Elsa and her parents take an unconscious Anna to see the magical troll people who remove her memory of the incident and offer a warning: Should the Elsa ever lose control again and hit her in the heart, she would not be so easy to heal. Her parents place Elsa and the rest of the family in seclusion so that they can protect her and hide her powers. Unfortunately, this builds a huge wall between the once close sisters which only worsened with the death of their parents. The castle remains in strict seclusion until the day Elsa comes of age to take her place as Queen.
On coronation day, the sisters have very different feelings. Anna is excited for life to enter the palace once again as she sings about music, dancing and meeting people with open arms. Most of all she is excited that she will no longer be lonely and wonders if she will meet “the one” at the ball that night” Her sister Elsa, is freaking out knowing she has to see anyone. Having spent years in hiding, she is terrified that someone will find out about her powers and believe her a monster. She sings about her want to be separated from people, and continuing to be the person they want and/or expect her to be.
The movie progresses with Anna meeting a handsome prince named Hans, becoming engaged to him that night. Once she looks for Elsa’s approval—which she refuses to give, the powers she has long concealed are inadvertently released placing the kingdom in eternal winter. While everyone wails in terror, Anna goes after her sister believing that the are stronger together and will be able to figure this entire thing out.
Like other films in the genre, Frozen keeps the feel and essence of a traditional Disney film, but also challenges past conventions.
Here’s what I mean:
Anna and Elsa.
- These two are the kind of princesses I’ve been wanting to see! Anna was way super awkward—and I totally get that, obviously. Source:takemealex-vause She has an open heart like all of the princesses before her, but she acts more like the ladies I know and love. As she sings about her excitement over the ball, she exclaims “Don’t know if I’m elated or gassy, but I’m somewhere in that zone,” and in her nervousness over seeing a fine looking gent “I wanna stuff some chocolate in my face!” In a world where ladies were supposed to be “well behaved” these lines would never have even made the cutting room floor. When talking of her role as Anna, actress Kristen Bell told the Digital Spy "I was desperate to infuse her with all these awkward qualities that I had as a little girl, or that I have currently as an adult… I thought, she should talk too much and talk too fast and talk to herself and trip, and be awkward, and wake up with a snort, like I do!"(Dibdin) And it worked, but Anna is not clumsily falling over herself looking like a disaster in need of saving either. She is resourceful, determined, and a strong heroine, perfectly capable of saving herself and the kingdom.
- There is a lot that I can say about Elsa too, but here are the two main points. 1. She becomes Queen—the first of any animated princess—without anyone running around in panic yelling , Mercy me the kingdom is DOOMED! A woman is in charge and she has no husband to assist her. 2. Elsa is someone that a lot of people are really identifying with. As I have been perusing tumblr, what a lot of fans have been saying is that they really get her introverted feelings and not wanting to let people in. For a variety of reasons, they’ve been there. Who hasn’t, right? But, what I have been thinking about myself, is how she represents something else. Like, how it can destroy a person inside to not be who you are for fear that others will think you strange or dislike you. A strongly misunderstood character, her song “Let it Go” was a real powerhouse ballad by Elsa’s voice actress Idina Menzel, in which Elsa finally embraces who she really is. You never saw her look so powerful as when she finally started to accept who she was—seriously.
Disney pokes fun at themselves
- Watching the movie, and then thinking more about it later, I got a definite sense that this film would be about the relationship between the sisters and their ultimate need to mend the riff between them. As I mentioned earlier it was Anna’s engagement to Prince Hans that caused Elsa to accidentally create the storm and flee. But here is what’s funny, Elsa, is not the first person to question Anna’s rash decision to marry a guy she just met. On her way to find Elsa, Anna’s new friend Kristoff protests her wanting to help him while they are being chased by wolves saying, “I question your judgment, who marries a man they just met.” Source:h—aute
Despite, Disney’s past trend of ending their movies in “shot gun-type marriage,” form it would seem that even they have realized that it’s not necessarily the most responsible ending, and it is important to point that out, while maintaining the strength of Anna’s character—like when she does take the initiative to save Kristoff during the chase. Snaps for you Disney!
- I’ll just say this, he is not all he seems to be and a prince is not always the fairy tale goodness, hearts, rainbows, and happily ever afters. Source:meridastraighthair
Anna’s search for permanent friendship through marriage is probably not a good idea. If you’d like to know more, Jezebel.com says everything you need to know here.
The Songs and the Snowman
- Just picture all the funny-cuteness you need in a comic relief character and you have Olaf. Source:weheartit And the songs—as you might have guessed already have an air of Disney Renaissance.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, and since I promised my friend a simple blog in exchange for a paper,—whoops might have gone a little overboard—,I’ll cut it here. But I believe that Frozen is giving us an opportunity for to make a positive change in animation. Two thumbs up. if you don’t believe me, check it out for yourself.
WorksCited Dibdin, Emma. “Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel: ‘Frozen Is about Unconditional Love’” Digital Spy. N.p., 6 Dec. 2013. Web. 29 Dec. 2013.