I think up until last night I might have been the only person in America who had not seen Frozen. Don’t get me wrong, I could sing Let it Go word for word without help, but as far as having viewed the actual movie? Not so much.
But last night all of that changed. And I was so moved that I feel the need to share the top 10 things I took away from this latest Disney classic. So, in no particular order:
10: The Controversy
I feel like first and foremost, I should address this up front. A great deal of angst and debate has surrounded this movie and I feel I would be shirking my duty as…what? A blogger read by an incredibly small audience??? Okay, bottom line, I feel like I should just get this out of the way.
I liked Tangled better.
I know, I know, this admission is filled with all kinds of pitfalls and could seriously damage relationships with both friends and family, but it’s true. To me, Tangled is the better movie.
I think I just prefer the more grounded approach it took. The sequences with the trolls and the fact that Frozen had such an incredibly weak villain lost points with me. I think Mother Gothel is possibly one of the most insidious villains Disney has ever created. When you combine that with what I consider two of the most powerful scenes in animated history (the lanterns and the quiet moment with no words spoken between the king and the queen just before they walk out to release the lanterns) and Tangled wins hands down.
Now I’m not saying that I hated Frozen. I actually enjoyed it a great deal. It makes my heart happy that we are getting movies liked Frozen, Tangled, and Wreck it Ralph from Disney animation these days as opposed to Chicken Little, Home on the Range, and…pick any Disney animated movie that wasn’t from Pixar made during the decade of the 00’s.
9. Time for a New Climax
The staple of modern cinema where a protagonist is at the point of death at the hands of the villain, only to be saved by a shot or a beaning over the head by a previously unseen accomplice is probably not going away any time soon. That doesn’t change the fact that it is starting to become annoying. The whole point of this is to make the viewer believe that there is no hope. But it has been played to death to the point that every person watching knows exactly what is going to happen. Admittedly, my favorite show on the planet, Person of Interest, uses this device way too often. But I still love the show.
Anyway, Disney has taken this plot device to a whole new level. It started back with the classics of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, among others, where it appears the villain’s plan has actually worked, but thankfully, a miracle kiss saves the day. This was taken to a whole new level with Beauty and the Beast, where you actually had the main character die before being resurrected by loves true kiss. I mean eternal sleep is one thing, death is quite another. Unfortunately, I think Disney has played this option out way too far. Both Tangled and Frozen used this device. For the next installment in the Disney Princess canon, I believe they should go for an Ocean’s 12 approach where the villain was undone weeks before the climax, just he nor the audience ever knew it. Let’s not visit the well of resurrection again any time soon.
8. Sidekicks Make a Movie
The one thing Frozen definitely had over Tangled was Otto. While a mute chameleon did his best, the little snow man was pretty darn awesome. Best line? “Stay out of sight.” “Okay.” Moments later, heard off in the distance, “Hello there.” Woman shrieking.
I loved that.
7. Return to the Basics
I think computer animation is looking better than ever for one reason. It is getting better and better at mimicking the feel of traditional hand-drawn animation while playing to the strengths of what a computer can do for you. When Finding Nemo came out, one of the most commonly heard compliments was how real everything looked. I think the look of Frozen blows Finding Nemo away because of how beautiful it looks as artwork as opposed to realism. Just my opinion.
6. New Favorite Broadway Star
Now that I know her name, strictly because of Frozen, Idina Menzel is now officially my favorite Broadway star. I loved her voice in Wicked, but I didn’t care enough to go find out the name of the woman who played Elphaba. Now I know her name and would be drawn to something that she is starring in just because of who she is.
5. One Great Song Hides Mediocre Company
Let It Go is an amazing song. One truly worthy of an Oscar. However, I think its greatness hides the mediocrity of the other Frozen songs. I know Do You Want To Build a Snowman? is getting love now, but truly, none of the other songs are that memorable. Look back to the second golden age of Disney animation and think of the number of classics that came from Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Lion King. The full collection of Frozen songs do not measure up.
4. Kristin Bell Has an Amazing Voice
That’s all that really needs to be said.
3. Mob Mentality Intrigues Me
As I mentioned above, Frozen is not my favorite Disney animated movie out of the last three made. If I were to walk in and pick a movie to watch out of the last three, I would, as stated, pick Tangled. Which makes me smile because the biggest Disney hits are all great, but not ones I would watch over and over. Lion King, Finding Nemo, Toy Story 3, and Frozen are now the most successful Disney and Pixar movies financially. However, I would not actively seek any of them out to watch repeatedly. I would definitely choose, Aladdin, Emperor’s New Groove, The Incredibles, Cars, and Tangled for that. There is no point to this other than I find it interesting what is most successful in the short term versus what has staying power over the long term.
2. The “Other” Controversy
I really resent The Well Behaved Mormon Woman and all other Christian yappers who have forced this “Frozen is a movie promoting homosexuality” garbage on us. Due to having had a brand new baby last September, my wife and I have not been to the theater to watch a movie since last summer. For months I was looking forward to sitting down and watching Frozen with my kids and taking it in for the pure enjoyment of it. Sadly, because of all the ridiculous demagoguery, a cloud hung over my personal viewing of the movie last night because I couldn’t escape the thoughts of, “Where are they getting this? Is this what they are referring to?” or any other countless intrusion my brain kept making on the movie as I watched it. I recognize this is my problem (my wife had no such issue) but it still made me mad. So to all those who want to demonize Frozen, thanks a whole heap for cheapening my viewing experience.
1. But If They’re Right
However, just for the sake of argument, let’s say all the Christian/Mormon bloggers and entertainment personalities that have fostered this are right. This was Disney’s way of trying to “normalize” homosexuality. It still leaves me with one question.
What’s the problem?
Because as I watched this movie, all I saw was a girl who chose to love her sister regardless of what anyone else said or thought about her. Even when she thought that the sister in question had intentionally hurt her, she still cared for her deeply enough to sacrifice herself for her.
So let’s say Elsa is gay. (By the way, I think trying to insert this issue into this movie is absurd, but I wasn’t the one who started this.) If this is the case, the message I got was that we love those closest to us even if they are different (including gay). If you want to take it even further, Anna never “condoned” freezing the kingdom, but she loved and accepted the person doing the freezing anyway. Isn’t that what Christ would have done? Isn’t that what being a Mormon/Christian is all about?
At no point did I see a movie that advocated anything accept showing love to those who are different. So if you ask me, maybe Disney did have a hidden agenda with this movie. A Christian agenda. Except this would be the Christian agenda actually set out by Christ himself. Not the hell-fire and damnation agenda concocted by those supposed followers who are looking for a boogeyman behind every animation cell.