starring Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad and Santino Fontana
screenplay by Jennifer Lee
directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, Frozen is the Disney children’s animation phenomenon of the past year. Last Halloween a lot of little girls went Trick or Treating in Frozen costumes. I’m not into Disney animations, but I watched Frozen because I have a number of little girl students - ages 3, 4 and 5 - who are crazy about it. So I thought I would watch it to see what they are so excited about. The DVD was lent to me by a mother.
First, I don’t recognize any of the stars of this movie. Not one. Who are Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, et al? Who are these people? I guess I don’t watch enough American TV because they all seem to have risen to acting fame in TV shows. An American teacher I know in Tokyo said with incredulity, “You don’t know Idina Menzel?!!” No, I don’t. Should I?
Second, I was shocked, shocked, shocked, absolutely shocked at the extreme malice and evil themes dealt with in the movie: sorcery, witchcraft, the occult, betrayal, evil vigilantism, and possible incestuous lesbianism. And people think this is a good movie for little girls?!
Queen Elsa rules Arendelle. She has a younger sister, Princess Anna. Unknown to everyone including her sister, Elsa has a strange occult power. The touch of her hands turns things to ice. In moments of extreme emotion she can even shoot ice from her fingertips. But she hides her power by always wearing gloves and not touching things with her bare hands. But at her coronation she is required to remove her gloves and that when her secret gets out. People are appalled. Immediately some cry “Sorcery!” and chase her. She flees. But Anna chases after her convinced that it’s all a misunderstanding and that Elsa isn’t a threat. I thought Elsa’s icy power was really frightening, and I know at least one four year old Japanese girl who agrees.
In end Disney inserts some cheap, mawkish message about the redemptive power of love. Anna saves her sister through an unselfish act of love. But Elsa still has the ice power, so the connection is a little unclear how. The only difference is that at movie’s end she can control it.
The contemporary social message that is planted in the story is that people who are different or unique are not a threat and deserve to be lovingly included in the community. Imagine Elsa is a lesbian and the movie is about LGBT people. The popular song from the film, “Let it go,” could be a gay anthem. Olaf the living snowman was supposed to be funny but instead he almost singly handedly killed the movie owing to his annoyingly gay caricature.
I hated it less the second time I watched it, probably due to the comedy written into Princess Anna’s character.