FILM IN REVIEW: Frozen (2013)10:07 PM
I've always been the biggest fan of the classic Disney movies, so it would be a crime if I don't review Disney's latest animated princess movie. I also grew up reading stories by Hans Christian Andersen (I LOVE LOVE LOVED LITTLE MERMAID!) and even though I knew (after seeing the trailer) that Frozen is obviously not at all similar to The Snow Queen except that it had a snow queen (lol), I HAD to watch the movie and talk about it after. And my god did I love this movie.
I was having this conversation with my friend (hi Via!) about the movie (which we watched together of course) and she asked me who I liked more - Anna or Elsa? My immediate top-of-my-mind answer was Elsa, of course. I mean she's got spunk, AND she's got super powers. But she also had depth as a character. Her issues about her internal strength and capabilities as a person made her so relatable to me. I then talked to my sister who also admitted to liking Elsa more than Anna. I asked others and came to the conclusion that almost everyone preferred the snow queen. I thought about this small statistic a lot, even more than I should've (but that's my brain, overanalyzing even the littlest things)
So it was 2am when I was finishing this dreadful paper while listening (and singing along, rather terribly) to Let it Go on repeat when I got hit by this amazing realization.
Frozen is about ELSA, not Anna! :O
Frozen (directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee) is basically the story about two sisters - Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel, two princesses born into a Norwegian royal family. We learn that the older of the two, Elsa, was born with the power to create snow and ice - something that can be both beautiful and evil. Yet after an accident that almost kills Anna, Elsa is forced to hide her powers and becomes emotionally distant to Anna, even if they used to be so close as children. When their parents are killed, Elsa is about to be crowned as the new queen of Arendelle. After an awful confrontation between the two sisters, Elsa's powers are accidentally exposed, and with no choice, she is left to flee the kingdom, without knowing that she had put the whole town into an eternal snow. Anna is now left with the mission to get back her sister to bring back summer.
What I really loved the most about Frozen aside from the amazing music (props to Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez) is the relationship between Anna and Elsa, and their own individual characters.
Elsa, on the other hand, is a far more complicated character. She has struggles within herself, not being able to fully show her abilities to the world. She is forced to hide a part of herself - something that cuts deep into her. In some ways, Elsa is a great representation of everyone who can't be their true selves because they are condemned for it. Elsa suffers silently, tormenting herself for something that isn't her fault, and it's not only until the end of the movie does she finally realizes the importance of acceptance and love. The movie's big musical number undoubtedly goes to Elsa. "Let it Go" is a remarkable and empowering song and is beautifully performed by Broadway veteran Idina Menzel (the voice of Elsa). One of the greatest aspects of the film is also how Elsa is not portrayed as a villain, and is instead made to be very human and 3-dimensional, that we can empathize with her. It then becomes obvious that the story really is about Elsa, and not Anna.
Frozen is completely breathtaking and stunning. It is very female-positive and is your 'you go girl!' kind of movie. I love how Disney stayed true to classics with the wonder and awe in the movie, but its amazing how they were able to modernize their approach, by creating compelling female characters that do not need a man to save them. Even with amazing animation, the heart of the movie is still the story, and Disney was able to create one that is genuinely beautiful and emotional. After years of failed attempts to match Disney's Renaissance period (spearheaded by The Little Mermaid) Frozen finally gets it right, and deserves a seat at the top with those other Disney classics.
Check out the full Frozen "Let it Go" sequence performed by Idina Menzel! :)