Here are the reasons I expected to hate Disney’s newest movie, Frozen:
1. My friend and I had a hard time with the logistics leading up to seeing the movie. The lines were long and we hate people, and there was a parking garage so hellish we thought we would surely die there. To say the least, it was not a confident start to our moviegoing experience.
2. Tangled, another female-led Disney movie I liked, was originally called Rapunzel, and they changed the title to Tangled, reportedly so that boys would go see the movie too. Frozen was originally going to be called The Snow Queen (again, you’ll notice, a title that indicates the prominence of women in the movie, changed to a title that doesn’t), and the promo for the movie focused on the (less important) dude character and his wacky sidekick reindeer. Shut up Disney.
3. There is no reason for Disney to make yet another animated movie about all white people. It’s set in an imaginary land. There are no rules at all for what the characters’ skin should look like.
4. Alan Mencken was supposed to write the music, and then he didn’t. Since I was already mad at Disney about some other stuff, I chose to assume that they made this creative decision because they hated Alan Mencken and wanted him to suffer. Shut up Disney. Where do you think you would be without Alan Mencken? ANSWER ME THAT.
5. Those animator jerks who said that it was hard to draw two women who look different.
But then came an unexpected outcome. In spite of all these things, I really enjoyed Disney’s Frozen! The plot is that there are two sisters, Anna and Elsa, and Elsa has this power to create snow and ice. (This is never explained. I guess it is just something some people are born with.) Following an accident when Anna is little, Elsa is told that she must! learn! to control her powers!, which means controlling her emotions completely. Until she succeeds in controlling her powers, she’ll be a danger to Anna. This does not, as you may imagine, lead to the closest of sister relationships.
At Elsa’s coronation party or whatever on her whateverth birthday, a small argument with Anna quickly escalates into a massive and operatic argument where Elsa freezes the whole kingdom and retreats to an icy castle in the mountains of her own devising. Anna, thinking the whole thing is her fault, sets out to find Elsa and get her to come back. (Also to thaw the kingdom, but it’s clear that Anna mostly just wants to get her sister back.) Hijinks ensue.
The writers, sensibly, put the sisterly relationship at the core of this movie. Anna’s romantic life drives the plot to a degree, but the movie begins and ends with two sisters who were once close and then grew apart. It’s nice. It’s nice! Towards the end of the movie (spoilers follow, but do not persist past this paragraph), Anna’s life can only be saved by an act of true love. As she was being rushed home to her boyfriend I leaned over to my friend and said, “I want it to be an act of sister love.” And then we both really wanted that, and it seemed like it wasn’t going to happen, and my friend kept whispering “It’s going to be the guy,” and I kept whisper-whining “Sister thing! Sister thing!” And then it turned out to be the sister thing! SISTER THING WINS!
So that was great.
Meanwhile, there were aspects of the movie I kept expecting to hate. For instance, there is a character who sells ice and his only friend is his reindeer, which acts sort of like a dog. And there is a character that is a snowman with bubba teeth, and its introductory line was My name’s Olaf, and I like warm hugs. Of course I would hate those things. Of course I would.
But I somehow didn’t! I kept checking in with myself, like, Jenny, you would surely hate this snowman. Are you currently hating it? and every time I wasn’t. Instead I was feeling positive towards it. It was the darnedest thing.
In short, I recommend it. Go in with the expectation that you’ll be watching a charming kids’ movie. You’re not seeing it for the songs. If Alan Mencken had stayed on the staff, then maybe you would have been, but he didn’t. It’s fine. The movie’s still good. You just probably won’t buy the soundtrack for your next family road trip.