Let’s get these out of the way now.
“Disney’s Frozen is solid!”
“Disney’s Frozen is totally COOL!”
“Two princesses make for an ICE movie in Disney’s Frozen.”
Disney continues their Neo-Renaissance following The Princess and the Frog, Tangled, and our family’s favorite Wreck-It Ralph with their latest animated feature, Frozen. Verrrrrry loosely based (of course, it’s Disney) on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. What follows is not really a review, but more of a dialogue about the movie between my wife and I, and some of our feelings on the film.
David: So, is the moral of Frozen that parents are horrible?
Allison: Nah, just sometimes misguided.
David: Well, I think we all learned THAT lesson when King Triton had his little hissy fit wrecking Ariel’s grotto.
I suppose first and foremost, it’s noted how modern (er, post modern?) it is as a musical. I mean, it’s doing for Disney musicals today what the 80’s and 90’s Disney Renaissance did then – bringing the style in line with current trends.
Allison: So you’re saying they’re doing a good job with keeping up musically with what’s current?
David: Sort of. In some ways Frozen did feel at times like “man this really wants to be Wicked” – having Idina Menzel as a lead certainly invites comparisons. But maybe that’s just my own bias with being really familiar with Wicked, and not so much other recent shows like The Book of Mormon (who’s song team, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, did Frozen’s music) or Avenue Q. Like I said at the theater, I wonder how soon it’ll feel dated? Then again, then only dated part of The Little Mermaid are those GIANT sleeves on Ariel’s wedding dress.
Allison: Speaking of older Disney films, I liked the visual influence of the traditional Scandinavian setting.
David: Right, because there weren’t enough blonde, white Disney characters before!
Allison: I mean the architecture and costume designs. Even the fabric.
David: And the one guy wears elf shoes.
Frozen continues Disney’s streak of being subversive. Earlier this year Monsters University taught kids “hey, you probably aren’t going to be the best, no matter how hard you try, but that’s okay” an anti-Disney message if ever I heard one. Frozen’s moral is similar in tone, if much less subtle. I mean, they literally have a character state the moral out loud to you, juuust in case you missed it.
Allison: I suppose on one hand, there’s generally a lot in kid’s movies focusing on cooperation, but not generally a great deal about self-sacrifice.
David: Do you think kids will really get that?
Allison: I’m sure some will. I don’t know that they were counting on a child necessarily being able to tell you, but there is a foundation.
David: Hmm. Maybe there is a good reason then for delivering the moral like a brick.
Allison: Children aren’t necessarily the masters of subtly. “Did you bring me a present!?”
David: Still, there’s something to be said of Monster University’s nuance. Though I suppose the frat parties could have clued me in to Pixar aiming for a slightly older audience that Frozen.
Allison: I suppose Frozen would draw a bit more of the princess crowd than Monsters. Not that our daughter cares. Though she didn’t come home wanting to pretend Mike and Sully, as opposed to tonight, where were have been scheduled to “pretend Frozen” tomorrow.