Monday, 13 January 2014

Frozen - WARNING Spoilers!

When I went to Disneyland in California in November, there was a lot of hype about Frozen there - without giving away any storyline.  So I didn't know anything about it except there were two princess sisters, one of whom had the power of ice.  And that, was probably a good thing.

So our family outing included a movie, and people had who had seen Frozen had good things to say.  I purposely didn't read any reviews, and wanted to see if I would be pleasantly surprised.

In fact, I was more than pleasantly surprised.  I was amazed, and thrilled that this movie shows that Disney can move away from the classic princess storyline and give this amazing tale that appeals to children and adults.

I went to read about Frozen after I watched it, and found that it was co-written and co-directed by Jennifer Lee who also worked on Wreck-it Ralph.  I am not sure if that is why this movie is more feminine in its ideas and dialogue but it really shows and it is a REALLY good change.

Essentially the story is about two sister princesses - Elsa, the elder, has powers to control and create ice, and the younger, Anna is injured by Elsa in an accident when they were playing with her powers of ice.  The King and Queen rush to see the mountain trolls whom by magical means erase the memory from Anna's memory and cure the cold injury and the King and Queen decide to deal with the problem by hiding from the world and trying to get Elsa to control and conceal her powers.  A few years later, the King and Queen die in a sailing accident, and the two girls whom were very close as children are no longer as close, as Elsa hides on her own in her room in isolation to avoid hurting anyone else, much to Anna's dismay, as she attempts to engage her elder sister in games and play.

The day of coronation comes, and as feared, Elsa's powers are revealed leading her kingdom's followers and neighbouring kingdoms to fear her and she runs away.  The incident is precipitated by the sheltered Anna declaring her love to a neighbouring prince and they seek marriage after knowing each other less than a day, which Elsa tells her sister is foolish.  Elsa heads to the far north snowy mountains, not realising she has plunged her kingdom into an eternal winter.

Anna now understands why her sister has been so isolated and with an ice farmer, Kristoff, she goes to find her sister, leaving her fiance, Prince Hans, to run the kingdom, which he does rather admirably in her absence.  They meet a magical snowman, Olaf, who was created from Elsa's magic, a throwback to their younger days when they were the best of friends, building snowmen together.

As she confronts her sister and urges her to return with her, Elsa's powers explode in an emotional outburst, and Anna is struck in the chest with an ice bolt, which Elsa does not realise she has done. Kristoff takes her to see the mountain trolls, and they tell her that her heart is now frozen and without an act of true love, it cannot be melted.

Meanwhile, Prince Hans sets off to find Anna and Queen Elsa and they manage to subdue Elsa and return her to the kingdom with her hands enchained to attempt to contain her.

Anna and Kristoff think this means that she needs Prince Hans to kiss her, as he is her true love. But it is evident that Kristoff also loves Anna, and when Anna returns to kiss Hans, he reveals that he is only after the kingdom as being the 13th son, he would have never had a kingdom to rule.  His plan was to leave Anna to die a frozen death, and kill Queen Elsa for treason against her people.

Kristoff realises that he loves Anna and returns to try to save her.  Anna is looking for Kristoff, realising she loves him and he loves her.  Elsa escapes and is escaping along the ice and Hans is out hunting Elsa to kill her.  Anna suddenly sees Kristoff and they try to reach each other, and then Anna turns and sees Hans about to kill Elsa who is absorbed in her fear and grief from the powers she cannot control.  She runs to her sister, and shields her sister with her body as she is turned to a glittering statue of ice, and Hans' sword breaks as it strikes her statue.  Elsa and Kristoff are distraught as they realise what has happened.

That is the moment I realised what a tremendous film this was.  Because, that moment, I realised that for the first time, neither a prince nor a male hero, had saved the day.  Anna, when she went to sacrifice herself for her sister, in an act of pure love, melted her frozen heart.

And they lived happily ever after.

I doubt that children will realise this step from Disney.  I am truly impressed that finally, Disney is moving away from the females need men to save the day - and that females on their own can be heroines, in their own right.  If the feminists of the world are not celebrating this movie for not only flawlessly incorporating this into mainstream animation and a popular movie, then they really need their heads screwed on.  As a parent with a daughter, she enjoyed this film and begged to see it agian, and much to my relief, there was no mention of her needing a prince to save her.  I hope that she will grow to be a young lady who believes in herself, not one who grows up believing she needs to find a man (to marry) to solve her problems, as I think THAT is the message that I want her to grow up with.  And to value friendship, and ask for help when needed (after trying by yourself), no matter whether the friend be male, female, animal or inanimate.

I didn't watch this in 3D and I am not sure it needed to be.  It still plays very well in 2D and the ice is so beautiful and believable in all its shapes and forms, including the amazing castle on the mountain that Elsa created as her fortress of solitude.

The music has a more Broadway feel about it than previous Disney films - especially the song "Love is an Open Door".  I like musicals, and so does my daughter and husband, so everyone was running around the house singing "Do you want to build a snowman?" right after we watched the movie.  The words are engaging and the tunes catchy, and though at first I thought the bursts into song were too frequent, as the movie progressed I hardly noticed them amongst the dialogue.

9/10 in my opinion!

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