As a huge and lifelong Disney fan, there was a lot of pressure on to like their latest offering of Frozen after hearing all the hype about it. It’s all I’ve heard about on TV and in adverts at the cinema, on blogs and over the radio for weeks, and with Let It Go becoming an anthem, nobody has been safe from that famous chorus. The world of Disney on film seems to have become split over the years into two main types of story – there are the love stories, the tales of princesses and princes, of rescues from lonely towers from scary dragons or witches in Aladdin and Sleeping Beauty. Then there are those beloved stories that tell tales of friendship, loyalty, family and love but in the form of animals or creatures – The Lion King or The Fox and the Hound. I was expecting Frozen to fall in the former category, not knowing much about the story but knowing there was a princess involved along the way, but was surprised to see that it actually seems to fall into a new class that is forming within the collection and following on from the release of Brave.
Both films focus on familial relationships and the importance of the mother-daughter relationship or sisterhood and how these bonds are so much more important and powerful than any magic, whether good or evil. Possibly the beginning or a trend, this could be the dawn of a new era of Disney film which will take characters to new levels as different themes and stories are explored. It’s quite exciting when you think about it like this – we’ve gone from helpless princesses who need princes to rescue them to stories about strong female characters who have big attitudes and personalities, and who go on a journey to save another rather than just to find the man of their dreams. I know that there are still certain characters who are desperate to find love and that there are obvious gender stereotypes, but this shift in focus might be a step towards the future of Disney. Tangled is another great example of this trend.
I loved the soundtrack for the film, it really impressed me by being really easy to sing along with and remember, while in some of the more recent Disney films, like The Princess and the Frog, the tunes are funny, lively and catchy, but certainly less memorable. The story itself was very simple and predictable, which is just what you want with a Disney story but felt a little unfinished – there was never any explanation for why Elsa had this power but Anna had none. I think they could have gone into this a little bit more and cut back on some of the action, but the snow scenes and the section at Elsa’s Ice Palace are absolutely beautiful. It is such a novelty to watch a Disney film that is set in a snowy land after all of those set in lush woodland, the Arabian desert or under the sea.
Another big love of mine in the film had to be the character of Olaf – he is just so sweet and loveable, you can’t help but laugh. It’s so nice to see that Disney have managed to live up to the other great supporting characters from over the years – often more memorable than the main characters. Think Timon & Pumba, Sebastian the crab of Mushu! But he keeps to the quirky, funny and cute requirements and plays a vital part in the story – you have to smile when his wish finally comes true thanks to Elsa. Between the sisters, I have to be honest and say I don’t hold much feeling for Anna – despite being a bit of a hero towards the end, her motivations early on in the film of being desperate to find love that she jumps into the arms of the first man who comes along make me rather sceptical of her character – I think perhaps she was a rather lazy characterisation and I don’t like that she is used to represent one half of the female characters. Elsa on the other hand is a strong character, stubborn and determined, she gives up her life to save her sister and family from her powers. She is likeable because she has experienced a real life, pain and struggle while Anna appears to flit around with no real clue about the world around her. After writing this, I came across a blog that the sisters, from a Freudian perspective, could be viewed as two fundamental aspects of the human psyche – such a interesting concept and well worth a read. Overall, Frozen is another cracker from Disney and I’m looking forward to the next one!