By Dave B.
Yes, I’m probably the last person in the industrialized world to see Frozen (2013), the story about two estranged sisters, Anna and Elsa. When they were children, Elsa accidentally shot Anna in the face with her magical freezing powers. For extremely confusing reasons, Anna’s memory of Elsa’s powers needs to be removed in order to save her life. Anna grows up not knowing why her beloved sister lives in complete isolation, and Elsa grows up in terror of her uncontrollable powers. When Elsa comes of age to receive the throne, she loses control of her powers at her coronation and flees, but accidentally plunges her kingdom into an impenetrable winter in the ensuing chaos. Anna goes on a journey to find her sister and restore summer, but she’ll have to re-forge the pair’s sisterly bonds if she’s to have any chance of setting things right.
So the reason that it’s taken me so long to watch Frozen is because I firmly believe that Disney consistently delivers crap messages to children. Frozen is less guilty of this than some other of their movies, I admit. And Frozen has some indisputably great elements. It’s animation is fantastic and still holds up as best-in-class nearly six years after it’s release. And the songs are pretty good too. Idina Menzel is particularly impressive as the voice of Elsa. Overall, there doesn’t seem to be a lot to dislike about the movie. Except…
Making Anna the main focus of the movie instead of Elsa makes no sense. Beyond the fact that Menzel has a better voice than Kristen Bell (who, admittedly, does a respectable job as Anna), Elsa is just a far more fascinating character. Elsa is deeply traumatized, but she’s also intelligent, strong, and independent. Scenes with her as the focal point are interesting and engaging. Anna is frivolous, foolish, and needy. Scenes with her as the primary character are essentially fluff. And the choice to make Anna the main character strikes right to the heart of my beef with Disney: they peddle a worldview to children (especially young girls), that is superficially empowering, but ultimately belittling and rarely challenges traditional perceptions of what a person can (or should) want and be.
So did I like Frozen? Unambiguously, yes. Do I think it’s a great movie? Not at all. I marginally recommend it because it’s production value is excellent and, as an adult, I like to think that I can see beyond the worldview that Disney is peddling. But if I had a daughter, there’s little chance that I would allow her to watch it until she was mature enough to understand how and why Elsa is the real hero of the story. But that’s just my take on it. What’s yours?
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.