Surprised not to hate Disney’s Frozen

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.

Ancillary at Best

Ancillary at Best

Main Character

Main Character

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.

I implore you to shut up.

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.

Weirdly non-loathsome sidekick

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.

42 thoughts on “Surprised not to hate Disney’s Frozen

  1. MAYBE you liked it because Anna looks sorta like you. Also: Sister-friends! Maternal brainwashing strikes again! And finally: the Firefly gif is the best and most appropriate gif you have ever used. I love it. Could not have said it better.

    • What? She does not.

      Oh wait. I see it now. Yes. Apart from the hair color, eye color, nose size, and dimples, we are basically identical.

      Your maternal brainwashing was GREAT! Totally worked!

    • Oo, yeah, fair enough. We rewatched it the other night and I was very distracted by that this time, although I hadn’t really noticed it before.

  2. :) Our granddaughter loved it! My daughter was impressed that the “true love” aspect was that of the sisters. I think I’ll be completely caught up in it–even the snowman!

    • Me too actually! If I see them at all, it’s because I caught them on Netflix. This movie was not my first choice for my movie outing with my friend, but she’d already seen Catching Fire. But like, Wreck-It Ralph? Wanted to see it and never did. Ditto Paranorman, Brave until quite recently, and a bunch of others I can’t remember.

  3. Your first paragraph cracked me up. I had been avoiding even looking at trailers of this movie but now due to your words I want to take my girls! They need some good samples of sisterly love.

  4. I can’t wait to take my kids to see this one. I’ve been hearing lots of great things about this movie so I’m really looking forward to it. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed it :)

    • Awww. That’s okay, though. Movies are so expensive — it’s better really to catch em on Netflix a few months down the road. That’s what I almost always do, anyway.

  5. I was so so so doubtful for the first twenty minutes….(see Alice’s comment above)…but then the sister quest thing started happening, and the snowman kind of warmed my heart…and by the end of it, my ten year old boy (cause boys are happy to watch movies about sisters) and I were holding hands tight and maybe sniffing somewhat. Yay for sisters! The trolls, however, weren’t my cup of tea. Nor was the sexy dress of Elsa’s transformation–you can be emotionally wild without having to wear a sexy dress.

    • Oh, interesting! I guess you have to push through the first twenty minutes, because you’re right — I didn’t love it right away, and the trolls never grew on me.

      I didn’t soooo much mind the sexy dress, because, I suppose, I was thinking of it less as being a more sexy dress (although it is, of course), and more that it was Elsa clothing herself in her element. You know? But yeah, the sexy thing, not great, I suppose.

  6. I actually very much would like to see this movie, despite all the odds against it. Sadly, my pool of friend(s) who would go with me to see an animated movie doesn’t require the “s” in parentheses and doesn’t live nearby, so maybe someday in the distant future when it shows up on Disney family during the run-up to Christmas I will see it and enjoy it as you have. Til then, I will settle for having enjoyed this post quite much, especially the part where you very off-handedly and matter-of-factly mention that you hate people. Because…me too! LOL!

    • Awww. They’ll only go see gritty, hard-hitting movies with you? :p Luckily I live in the same town as my little sister, who is always up for an animated movie, so even if my friends crap out on me (which they didn’t this time), I have someone to go with. But definitely catch it when it shows up on Netflix!

  7. I have not yet seen it because I am so torn. On the one hand, The Snow Queen is one of my all time favorite stories and I would love to see a movie about it (actually, I would really love to see an opera about it but thus far I haven’t been able to convince anyone to write one) . On the other, they have already lost me by making it about sisters instead of a brother and sister. This makes me suspicious. But I will probably see it eventually.

    • Oh gosh. In the interests of making yourself enjoy it, I would let go of any idea that you have in your head that this is an adaptation of the Anderson story. It’s really not. Totally different story.

  8. I went to see it because it’s all that was on at the local theater that I hadn’t seen already, and I needed a movie to cheer me up when Thanksgiving was over. Also my daughter was so enthusiastic about the voice actors (the songs were kind of okay, but I do love to hear Idina Menzel sing anything).
    Um, if a story has as many Scandinavian roots as this one does, shouldn’t the people be white of skin and blonde or possibly red of hair?

    • I see your point about the Scandinavian roots, but a) it didn’t need to be Scandinavian; and b) it’s an imaginary land, you know? They can make it be whatever they want it to be.

  9. I really liked this too! I was on tenterhooks about the sister thing. What a relief.

    Two things.

    1) I assume Elsa is a mutant (like, one of the X-Men) and that’s how she got her powers.
    2) Why didn’t they TEACH her how to control her powers? If this is a thing in their culture, like where people sometimes show up with magical powers and the trolls know all about it, then why didn’t someone give her lessons about how to control them? Instead of handing her a pair of gloves and going “Don’t have any feels for the next sixty years, good luck”? That wasn’t internally consistent.

    That is all.

    • Okay, I can accept the mutant explanation. The whole movie would have made more sense if the trolls had been like “Leave her with us! We’ll train her,” and the parents had said, “No, ick, we hate trolls.” Or something! So at least we’d know that training was a possibility in her life.

  10. You are making me think I need to see this. Even though I was sort of eh on it at first (cos of the animators and they’re stupid CAN’T DRAW DIF WOMEN TOO HARD BS, and also cos of the title change. so spite reasons) and then later cos Alice said not happy things. but the story is about sisters and NOT a romance? INTRIGUED

    Not that a story with romance is bad. Just, it’s nice to know that a story can be lady focused without ALSO being romance focused. See my love for Brave.

  11. Great review Jenny. While the kids may have more fun with this than the parents, that still doesn’t mean it doesn’t appeal to both demographics. It just works a bit better for kids, but there’s absolutely nothing ever wrong with that.

  12. Isn’t it nice when something surprises you in a good way? I have been wondering what this movie is about (having only seen the posters) and I am very glad to know, and even gladder that you had a good time. I am delighted that sisterhood trumped romance; that’s very cool, and frankly about time!

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  14. I just saw the movie with my 4 year old. I didn’t care for the songs and despised the trolls. I have two little girls and the whole “can we build a snowman” song broke my heart. I re-read the Snow Queen and trolls are bad business. In the movie, they give HORRIBLE advice in the beginning destroying an enduring sister relationship and then push a marriage after the two of them have been together for what, a day or two. The trolls had the potential to be awfully cute but I hated their role.

  15. having a sisters not that great you know, sadly my parents love her more then
    me, which is pathetic.

    sometimes I wish I had no damn sister at all.

    so what if she can drive, cook or have her own car and two jobs?

    pfftt, she can’t even keep a boyfriend.

    not that I blame them for leaving.

    I would too.

    but great movie, love Sven!

    just wish I could of bought more merchandise besides the soundtrack!

    yes that’s right, I bought the soundtrack and it’s great!

    Let it Go!

    • how can er parents love er sis more than u
      punch er parents in the ass and tell them they r pathetic
      (no offense) but i think its mean and unfair
      well does that mean she gets everything first?

  16. 4 some reason i rly hate the snowman, i wish it was dead and anna was kept frozen, sometimes the movie ends better sadly. y do disney always make happy endings for kids? so they dun give up hope? or r they still thinking dreams come true? get real KIDS (this is y i hate kids)

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