I watched Frozen for my first time about... 24 hours ago now? As you can imagine, I'm new to this club. So... hi there! With the movie fresh in my mind (although I'm obviously no expert on it... yet!) I'm going to share with you five things that I personally thought were brilliant about this movie. Please note that this is an opinion article and you are welcome to agree or disagree. I also apologise in advance if I've remembered anything about the film wrong. As I've said, I'm new to it and have only seen it the one time, but I think
I can remember it fairly clearly.
Here we go!
1. Anna and Kristoff's romance is not the main focus of the story
A lot (and I mean a lot
) of Disney movies contain an extremely prominent romance between two of the main characters. Romance is generally played up in movies more so than in a lot of media, so when Disney takes a story to adapt into a film, they are most likely going to throw in more romance than the original story ever had. While there is certainly nothing wrong with characters falling in love, it can sometimes become so overplayed in a film that it begins to take the focus away from the actual storyline. Viewers may also perceive this heavy style of romance to be cliché and predictable.
While I would still say that Anna and Kristoff winding up together was pretty predictable from an early stage, the way in which their romance developed during the film was not overpowering and it did not take the focus away from the excitement and adventure of the main storyline. Instead, it gave us something fun and interesting to notice about the characters while they continued on their original mission. Their feelings for each other were fairly obvious, but at the same time subtle enough for them to build up a friendship relationship in additional to a romantic one, and I didn't feel like their love for each other was stealing the spotlight.
I don't know where everyone else stands when it comes to how happy you are with the way their romance is portrayed, but I really liked it. I admit I do agree with those who think it'd have been nice if Anna and Kristoff had sung a duet at some point, but if that had been the case then perhaps something at the end of the film rather than part way through. Or, something that wasn't overly romantic.
2. There's more than one kind of "true love"
Alright, confession time. Who else thought that Kristoff was going to be the one to rescue Anna when she froze by kissing her? Who else thought Disney was going to use romantic true love as the saviour of the story? Don't be shy, raise your hands.
When Elsa hugged her frozen sister, I thought to myself, "please
let this be the thing that brings her back to life!" but I had a strong feeling that Kristoff would sadly walk over to her to say his goodbye, gently kiss Anna on the lips, and then she'd thaw. What actually happened pleasantly surprised me, and I absolutely love it.
I think it is so important to teach viewers that there are all different relationships in which true love can exist. This by no means lessens the significance of romantic relationships, but as I mentioned earlier those aren't exactly a rarity in Disney movies now, are they? While Disney's also well known for being a family-oriented company with films that show good relationships between family members, the climax of the film often involves the love interest working his or her magic. This is especially common in Disney Princess movies. Snow White and Sleeping Beauty were awakened by their princes, Cinderella finally got away from her horrible household thanks to her man, and in more recent movies we see the female of the pair rescue her man, such as Belle's love for the Beast practically saving his life. Romance saving the day is cute and charming, but we've seen it many, many times. Sometimes it's nice to see something a little different.
This is not the first time in which a Disney character has been saved by a family member, but the fact that a sisterly bond qualifies as "true love" is something that I thought was really awesome. In fact, when you pay attention to a lot of the other relationships in the film, you're likely to find quite a few cases of true love besides traditional romance. Kristoff and Sven are absolutely inseparable, and Olaf cares for Anna so much that he almost let himself melt while making sure that she got the warmth she needed.
3. Upbeat sitcom style humour
I feel this is something that's become more and more common in film over the past few decades. Long ago, movies had quite a different atmosphere to television shows. Some still do. Frozen, and quite a few other recent films, use the same style of humour and atmosphere you can expect in a TV sitcom. For example, when Anna in a state of panic accidentally calls Hans gorgeous out loud, prompting her to end with, "wait, what?" Or when Kristoff's attempt to abseil safely down a large drop begins to go wrong and he offhandedly comments, "that
Whether or not this humour and atmosphere is a good thing is a matter of opinion, and I'm aware that it won't appeal to all viewers. It definitely appealed to me, though, I can tell you that.
4. The songs are absolutely charming
The first thing I familiarised myself with, before seeing the movie, was the song "Love is an Open Door". It's going to be in a show I'm doing later this year (sung by two comical characters) and I auditioned for both characters. Having never seen the film at that point, I wasn't familiar with the song, and needed to learn both parts for the audition, so I listened to it on repeat for the next two weeks and was singing it a lot. After all that, I didn't get either part! (No worries though, as I did still end up getting a good role in the show anyway!)
Anyway, after listening to and singing that song almost
obsessively for two weeks, something struck me; I wasn't bored with it. Sometimes when learning a song, I end up hating it and can't stand listening to it any longer. Luckily that wasn't the case this time. So I thought, "well, that must mean the song's not so bad!"
When I finally got the chance to see the movie myself, I enjoyed all the songs. Sure, "Love is an Open Door" sounded pretty generic to me by now, but I still love that song - it's fun and bouncy and got an interesting melody with great harmonies too. What's not to love? I really enjoyed the other songs too, though. They fitted in wonderfully with the film's atmosphere, suited the characters that performed them, and from a musical point of view were really well written with original chord patterns and wonderful melodies.
Of course, there are going to be people who the songs just did not appeal to. There's nothing wrong with that, as it comes down to personal taste, but I could find quite a few things to really enjoy about them myself.
5. I care about the characters
In the past, Disney have been pretty good at making their characters appealing and interesting. There are a lot of Disney classics I could watch and find myself adoring the characters. I worry for their safety and feel sorry for them when things get tough for them... even though they are just fictional characters.
Some of you may have heard of Disney's 12 Principles of Animation. Well, the twelfth principle is Appeal. All characters have to have appeal. It doesn't mean making characters cute and cuddly, and believe me, I've known a lot of people to think this is the case. No. Villains need to be just as appealing as the heroes. All of the characters should have aspects to them that the audience will enjoy and find interesting. It's a principle that will serve you well when you use it correctly in animation, and Disney have been pretty good at doing so...
... in the past. Recently, in the past 10-15 years, I've felt that some of Disney's employees have not been taking appeal into consideration when designing and writing for characters. I don't know if it's just me, or if a lot of other people think that too, but personally I have been pretty disappointed with a lot of recent Disney films. Not all the recent ones, mind you, but in general I feel as though some of their recent/current employees do not realise just how vital character design and development is.
Fortunately, Frozen is one of their exceptions in my opinion. I found the characters to be just as appealing as those in my other favourite Disney films. Elsa has a great backstory, with a secret she only wishes she could reveal, and as the viewers we can feel sympathetic towards her, knowing she is not the bad guy and is just misjudged by so many people. We can adore Anna for being such a fun and entertaining character, and admire her for never giving up on her sister. We can love Kristoff for everything he does to help Anna, and for being such a fun, wacky character himself. Sven is cute, Olaf is hilarious (and surprisingly deep near the end of the film), and Hans is so deliciously evil that you can love
how devious and villainous he is while he tricks all the other characters into thinking he's the nice guy. Or, you can just love him for being such a great villain. Whichever works for you.
Thanks for reading!