When my sister first started nagging me about going to see the latest in the Disney princess movie family, I was reluctant. Don’t get me wrong, I love a Disney movie as much as the next person but with cinema so expensive these days, they normally aren’t the ones I want to spend money on. And I think that’s half the problem with Disney. We love them. It’s that guilty pleasure that nearly everyone on the planet shares. There is nothing quite like curling up on the couch with a hot chocolate and a good Disney adventure but until now they have always been just light entertainment – easy watching. For the first time, with Frozen, Disney have started to step away from this. Below are just a few of the (many) reasons why I think this film is not only well worth watching (say three times) but is also destined to become a classic in a way many of the other recent Disney attempts haven’t quite managed.
1. Elsa and Anna
This film is about sisters. Not only is this (as far as I can think) the first Disney film where the coveted ‘princess’ title is shared across two characters but it also pushes away from any stereotype that Disney has worn a fondness for in the past. Both Anna and Elsa have a realness to them that we haven’t seen before. In Anna, there is a clumsiness and quirkiness. She doesn’t always know the right thing to say. She suffers (often hilariously) from foot-in-mouth syndrome. She screws up. She’s silly. She has bed head. Unlike princesses of the past who chat up their princes in the usual smooth, elegant manner, she is nervous and silly. She is a princess that kids can actually relate to. And she’s brave. She does not sit on her regal behind and wait for a man to get her out of a mess, she gets out there and risks everything to do it herself.
In Elsa we have a whole world of growing up that Disney has never touched on before. Insecurity, fear, isolation and most refreshingly, with her character they blur the line between what is the right thing to do and what is the wrong thing to do. I also love the look of her as a princess. She is sassy and feminine but not in that classic pastel girly way of the past. I am not surprised that Disney are sold out of the Elsa costumes. The transformation in ‘Let It Go’ truly represents a Disney that is shedding its old look and embracing something altogether newer and more exciting.
2. Blurred Lines
There is no real villain in this story. An interesting fact for you. Originally, Elsa was to be the traditional Disney villain and the story was far more based on the Snow Queen. And then they heard Idina Menzel sing ‘Let It Go’. You know someone is talented when Disney rewrite an entire script around 3 minutes of them singing. Elsa went from evil to ‘misunderstood’. In this film there is no one you really root against (well except the annoying character from Weaseltown that the film could have done without). This film explores dark and light in a way Disney have never done before. It blurs the traditional lines. It dances well outside the box on good, evil, the idea of princes, princesses and queens and most importantly, it looks at love in a whole new light. I won’t say because it’ll spoil the ending but I love the twist they add. Finally, Disney, finally a realistic view on love.
3. The Music
I’ll admit this one is a little bittersweet for me. I love the magic of the old school Disney scores. Anything by Alan Menken has a kind of magic that really is synonymous with the brand. Frozen, taking its lead from Tangled, steps away from this. The composers come from a Broadway background and you can feel it. Everything is bigger and bolder. Kudos to Kristen Bell in particular. Who knew she was hiding that voice. All of the cast put in breathtaking performances, led for me by Idina who always takes my breath away. I am not surprised it’s rumoured to be making the transition to the stage. There are definitely elements of Wicked in this show and I will be first in line should they make the transition. The songs are also deeper. They develop characters in ways Disney rarely does. From the big emotional numbers like ‘Let it Go’, ‘For the First Time In Forever’ and the latter’s reprise to the funny, quirky songs like ‘Reindeer’s are better than People’ and ‘In Summer’ (below) they get the audience so much closer to the characters. For the first time, Disney has music that has the power to make you cry. ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman’ in particular gets to me every time.
4. Olaf and Sven
Disney have outdone themselves with the sidekicks in this movie. I think everyone goes home wanting both as a pet. Sven, without saying a single word is one of the most vocal characters in the movie and Olaf… well, what can I say… He’s a little snowman with a big heart and comes out with some of the most moving, and beautiful lines. I’ve seen this movie a couple of times in different cinemas now and I’ve never not heard a group gasp when he comes out with “Some people are just worth melting for”.
This movie is beautiful. There isn’t much more to say than that. As we have come to expect from Disney, attention to detail is incredible and I personally think this is the most atmospheric movie to date.
6. It’s Funny
Oh my God will this film make you laugh. From horses dumping people in a river to snowmen and puddles, it has just about everything. Even better, Disney seem to have taken a leaf out of Skyfall’s book and turned the spotlight back on themselves, making fun of things they are almost always guilty of. I particularly like “You can’t marry someone you just met”.
As the film is set (very, very loosely) on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson, some of the characters are named after him in tribute…
Prince Hans: Hans
Frozen is the first Disney film, since Beauty and the Beast when I felt like I could relate. I laughed and cried and cheered along its journey but I also felt. Elsa’s childhood brought back memories of feeling left out as a kid, like the other kids had slammed the doors in my face. In Anna, I saw all those embarrassing awkward memories when I said exactly the wrong thing but also that inner belief in dreams and that unwillingness to let go of the idea that someday they will come true. I learnt that hot guys at parties aren’t always what they seem and I learnt that family is the most important thing in the world. And the most powerful. And I also learnt I really, really want to build a snowman…