Winter and summer (credit to tumblr)
Yes, yes, Elsa is technically a queen, yadda yadda. Well, one, she was a princess in the movie, and second, if Mulan, who is not a princess in any way, can be called one, I am calling Elsa a princess too.
I'll do a proper Frozen review soon when I can (although plenty of you beat me to it- I was only able to see it Tuesday and am just now home with the Internet accessible), but for now, I want to just talk about my two favorite things about the movie (well, besides all that snow): Elsa and Anna. I'd love to do this the way RhythmicMagic does, with positive/negative/border/neutral traits, but I don't want to rip off her unique analyzing style.
As I've mentioned here before, I heard someone on another site point out how smart it was of Disney to make TWO princesses in one movie. But not just two: one is a typical modern Renaissance-like princess, who is very different from her sister, who in fact acts like a Classic-era princess, to my completely happiness. So you see, fans of classic princesses get a character for them, and fans of modern princesses get one for them as well. Someone I spoke to about this pointed out that this indeed was a good idea, because had they just had the Snow Queen alone, they probably would have aggressively modernized her, and I think they've done that to enough fairy tale heroines now (for the record, it's fine to have some contemporary-acting characters, but in moderation!). Having one elegant, traditionally feminine princess is refreshing and leaves room to have the modern spirited heroine that appeals to young audiences today.
Anyway, let's get on with the analyses.
Anna, warm as summer:
First of all, let me say... wow, I'm surprised. Some of you may remember me griping about how unoriginal and boring Anna sounded. Some of you agreed. Some of you still may. But I was surprised by Anna. I agree with dclairmont, she is definitely one of the most organic-feeling characters Disney's made. She is indeed a lot like Rapunzel: warm, free-spirited, charismatic, outgoing, and lacks good judgment thanks to being sheltered from the world. But Anna is, in my honest opinion, a better written character, and is NOT the same as our beloved Punzy, or Ariel, though she's quite similar.
Anna starts off being very lonely. She's always been an energetic, fun girl, but after being hidden from her own city, even her own sister, she craves companionship. She feels unwanted and her parents' death has driven a cold, hard nail into this loneliness. So, when her sister has to be crowned with a party following, that is all she can think about. Truth be told, Anna gets a little self-centered because of this. She is so focused on getting the love and companionship she craves so much, that she unintentionally starts a domino effect of bad things to come, from pushing Elsa to leaving her kingdom in the hands of the true bad guy. And what I love about this is that unlike what Disney does with a lot of heroines, Anna totally gets called out for her bad judgment. The movie isn't afraid to acknowledge her mistakes.
However, upon realizing what she's done, she becomes determined to make everything right. Most Disney Princesses do not do this; while I love every one of them, honestly, most of them are very focused on themselves and their dreams. Anna still wants her dream of love to come true, but in the meantime, fixing this is more important, she knows, and she's grown-up enough to be willing to put her marriage off till she brings summer back and will do whatever it takes to make Elsa come back. She doesn't want Elsa to feel alone and hurt, either. In the end, Anna's selflessness becomes most apparent when she sacrifices herself for her sister.
So, while making a character "ooh, such a hyper, quirky, free spirit!" has become a lazy way of getting audiences to relate to characters, and while Anna is rather generic, I feel she still has more depth than a modern heroine has in a long time. Really, while Elsa is proper and a selfless queen someone on Imdb's Frozen board pointed out that Anna has the makings of a "runs a tight ship" sort. She's not the coddling type at all when it comes to encouragement. Loving, yes, but she's like the proactive coach that pushes you when you need it. Really, I could see Anna being a great leader, businesswoman, or mother. This is interesting, as her leadership skills contrast with the easygoing, childish personality seen on the outside.
Elsa, beautiful as winter:
An intentionally believable heroine who is unstoppable, fearless, eccentric, and warm-hearted.
It's going to be so hard for me to not write a whole essay on Elsa. Not because her ice powers are awesome, not because her situation is unique and interesting, not even because I relate to her. She's just so wonderful and noble. How rare it is to see a feminine or sophisticated heroine being portrayed in a positive way! Normally these types, especially if they're blonde, are condemned as the mean girls, like Regina George or Taffyta Muttonfudge as the kinder, smarter, superior brunettes and redheads prevail. But Elsa isn't just those things; she tries to be responsible, she's well-behaved, she's artistic, she's sensitive. She's so much we never see in Disney female leads. I think it says a lot that she is wildly more popular than Anna, who clearly is supposed to be more relatable to modern girls while Elsa is supposed to be admirable.
A problem regarding Elsa I have is, I wish most of the other fans would say the same. Most of them, like with Mulan/Belle/Ariel fans, seem to just like Elsa for her power- her ice powers and her position of royal power. She is such a tragic, selfless character, I wish she got more appreciation for it. What annoys me is that many of the SAME PEOPLE who "love" Elsa dislike the Classic princesses. I would love Elsa just as much if she had no powers, truly. My old theory that Elsa would be similar to them was proved to be correct, I'm happy to say, because we sadly don't have elegant, vulnerable, traditionally feminine characters like this anymore- they must all be outspoken, tough, adventurous, etc. who "don't need rescuing". I love that the powerful snow queen is really a soft, proper, ladylike girl who does
Elsa has always been told to hide her powers- so really, she must hide herself. She is naturally reserved and uncomfortable in social situations unlike outgoing Anna, so at first this is easier for her than her sister, but to constantly
repressing an enormous power she never asked for, to never be able to hug someone in case she freezes them and can't undo it? Elsa pretends she's aloof when really, as we see in the magnificent "Let It Go" seen, Elsa has a lot of passion. As Alfred Hitchcock once described his cool lead actress Grace Kelly, Elsa is also a "snow-covered volcano". She throws her passion into art, by creating a gorgeous ice palace, incredibly detailed in a Romantic style. She lets down her hair, makes a vixenish ice dress, and can drop the superwoman/career woman act- she can finally be the soft, demure girl she is, even if it means being, as she says, alone but alone and free. And she isn't just passionate- Elsa is very caring. The whole reason she pretends to be cold is because she's fixated on not hurting anyone. She couldn't bare it. She also has a playful side- she trolls Anna when the Duke wants to dance. She's complex, for sure, but is just as relatable as Anna, for those of us who aren't tomboys or spirited but more introverted or into being sophisticated.
And she isn't perfect as I've heard some say: she is pessimistic (like Aurora) and won't even consider that Anna can help. She's dutiful to a fault, which ends up hurting her (like Snow White and Aurora). She doesn't assert herself much (like Aurora). You know, while she's like all three, I see a lot of parallels particularly between Elsa and our regal princess Aurora. So why like one and hate the others? Why like Elsa for more superficial reasons she has no control over anyway? To me, this is a huge slap in the face of a character who is just beautiful in her tragic selflessness and refreshingly elegant nature.
A tragic, complex, elegant artist who is dutiful to a fault.
What I love about this movie is the contrast of the sisters. They're so different, yet they really love each other. They don't fight over differences, even when Elsa coldly tells Anna to go away, or when Anna keeps bugging Elsa. They remind me a lot of the fairy tale Snow-White and Rose-Red (even down to their hair colors). They complement each other, and it's so interesting. Sorry to keep bringing up things I've heard from other discussions, but I've heard a lot of interesting things from others regarding this movie: someone from some site said it's possible that both sisters wish to be more like the other. I could see this. Anna in FTFTIF seems to wish to look more graceful and sophisticated (and hilariously does not!). Maybe she wishes she were as regal and in control of her emotions as Elsa, since she sometimes has a case of word vomit. As for the latter, Elsa likely wishes she could be as open with her emotions as Anna. Anna gives her love freely and had she not been sheltered from the world, likely would have been popular, she's so affectionate. Elsa may not care about having a ton of friends, but again, she's got a lot of feelings she wishes she didn't have to hide for fear of hurting anyone.
FTFTIF is about hope and chances. Let It Go is about not hiding who you really are (when it isn't a negative thing, of course) and acceptance. But they're both deal with isolation. Anna is tired of being alone and ready to change it now that she has a chance to. Elsa has been isolated but must now deal with facing people, and later, she accepts her self-exile as she no longer is forced to be alone- she is free. For how different they are, for how they choose to react to things, both girls have been isolated and hate being lonely. Elsa naturally hides, and Anna naturally expresses, but Elsa being faced with losing her sister after still trying to be left alone learns to love for real. Anna, in sacrificing herself to save Elsa, learns what real love is. Both girls are incredibly, wonderfully different, but both deal with loneliness and have a strong capacity to love and be loved that is ultimately what saves them both.
I had too much coffee earlier so I don't think all of that was well-organized, so apologies, but I hope you enjoyed it!