Adam Smith finds plenty to warm his heart in Frozen.
Two films about female liberation came out this week. One was Blue Is The Warmest Colour, which will be critically acclaimed because it’s about the plight of a teenage French bisexual girl with tasteful nudity. The other is Frozen, which will be critically acclaimed for being wonderful.
Loosely based on Hans-Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, Frozen is a love story between two sisters (not like that) who become separated after the future ice-empress Elsa (played by Idina Menzel) hurts her sister Anna (Kristen Bell), and the only way to save her has the byproduct of erasing all memories of Elsa’s icy powers.
Elsa is then put under house arrest to stop her powers from hurting anyone else, leaving Anna confused about why her sister is suddenly giving her the cold shoulder.
To really double up this emotional torment, the sisters’ parents are killed in a storm, leaving Elsa to grow up into a sort-of perpetual puberty – confused and repressing all emotion (replace ‘emotion’ with ‘ice powers’) – and Anna to become an 18-year-old woman with all the innocence and naivety of a seven year old.
Eventually Elsa’s powers are revealed to the public, and anyone who is even remotely familiar with Frankenstein or X-Men or super-people films in general can see how this pans out.
Elsa escapes to the icy mountains and sings one of the best Disney songs ever written, unfortunately putting the kingdom in a state of perpetual winter as she, metaphorically, breaks through puberty and ‘snowgasms’ (the imagery is really strong, and Elsa becomes much more feminine and adult as a result of this outburst) an entire ice castle.
Most of the problems of this film come from the advertising.
What was shown in posters to be some missable Dreamworks clone is all wrong, but because of some real left turns the film takes at the end the film can’t give you anything in its trailers, relying instead (I imagine) on the word of mouth from the first few parents whose are humouring the children, and reviews.
As advertised, there is a romance between Anna and Hans, the prince of a nearby kingdom, but when you are watching it and feel that it might be tacked on, I’d keep hold of that.
This is as much of a breakthrough of the Disney formula as it is a traditional Disney film, and damned hard to classify. This is the sort of pastiche we haven’t seen since Shrek, with the bonus that it’s unlikely to descent into terrible sequels (Shrek 3 and 4, I mean. Shrek 2 was great). Even Olaf (Josh Gad), the snowman in love with the idea of summer, is charming in every scene he’s in.
It’s not a perfect film; the pacing at the beginning is a bit off as it’s never explained how the city is running if its leading royalty are locked in their castle. Also, Elsa and Anna losing their parents feels a bit like overkill, especially so early into the film. But these are minor complaints that I had completely forgotten by the last quarter of the film, which blows Tangled out of the water and nearly hits Pixar level brilliance. It’s a parabolic graph of Disney magic. This is one you don’t want to miss.bookmark me