Disney has yet again created another blockbuster hit with Frozen, an animated fairy tale musical loosely adapted from Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. Apart from the usual ingredients of a traditional Disney animation film -princesses and royalties, prince charmings, heroic heroes, beautiful castles, funny sidekicks, hateful villains, friendly creatures, catchy music perfect as LSS material-, it is somewhat different in more ways than one.
In case you haven’t watch it yet, here’s the trailer:
Set in the kingdom of Arandelle, Princess Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) was born with the ability to turn into ice whatever she touches (somewhat a twist to Midas’ Golden Touch) and magically create snow with just her bare hands, shaming even the power of Narnia’s White Witch. She used to play with her younger sister, Princess Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell), turning the palace ballroom into a magical winter wonderland where they would skate and build snowmen. Until one unfortunate event where Elsa accidentally tripped and zapped Anna in the head. It nearly killed Anna, but thanks to the tribe of mystical, old trolls, she was saved. The troll leader made Anna forget about Elsa having the magical powers. The king and queen then decided to isolate the princesses from the outside world, causing Elsa to bottle up her powers and feelings, shutting her sister and everyone out in fear that she might harm them.
Years had passed, the two sisters grew ever more distant to each other, even during their parent’s death. However, on Elsa’s coronation day as Arendelle’s new queen, the gates of the palace were opened to people from all over. Extrovert Anna felt exhilarated by the thought of being able to mingle with others and having the chance to meet her one true love, as opposed to what Elsa was feeling. Because she knows she should, Elsa took every caution not to divulge her powers and let everyone know.
Everything was going smoothly, until Anna met Prince Hans (voiced by Santino Fontana) whom she claims she fell in love at first sight. When Anna introduced Elsa to Prince Hans, and asked for her blessing in marriage, Elsa stiffly said no. Unable to comprehend why her sister refused, Anna desperately grabbed Elsa’s hand and pulled off one of her protective gloves, causing her powers to manifest.
Scared, Elsa fled the kingdom into the Northern mountains, turning the vibrant summer into an eternal winter. Anna, taking all the blame for what happened, left the kingdom under Prince Hans’ custody and braved the wild in search for her sister.
In her journey, she met the mountain man Kristoff (voiced by Jonathan Groff), his reindeer sidekick Sven, the jolly Olaf the snowman (voiced by Josh Gad) and the group of rock-like trolls. Together, they found Elsa and convinced her to go back and undo the eternal winter she had cast over the kingdom. But to no avail, Elsa won’t budge, even creating giant Marshmallow the guardian to scare them away.
While confronting each other, Elsa accidentally zapped Anna, freezing her heart. Kristoff brought her to the troll leader, who said that only an act of true love would thaw her frozen heart. Thinking that it was Prince Hans’ true love’s kiss that would save Anna, Kristoff, who had fallen in love with her, decided to bring her back to the kingdom. Little did they know that Prince Hans is a gold digger who had an ulterior motive of taking over the kingdom. But as always, good prevails over evil. The sisters saved each other: Anna saving Elsa from Prince Hans’ sword, and Elsa thawing frozen Anna. In the end, Elsa finally discovered how to control her powers.
What Makes It Different:
As I’ve said earlier, the flick encompasses the classic Disney trademark, but is somehow different. How different?
First off, the story itself. While it’s the usual royal characters, Disney gave us not only one but two princesses who are the exact opposite of one another: Anna, who is the quirky and optimistic one, and Elsa, who is frigid and introverted on the other hand. While the tale is about true love, it did not revolve solely around a princess falling in love with his prince charming who swept her through her feet to a happily ever after ending. The tale’s more about the love that binds two sisters together. Anna loves her older sister so much, and for years she’s been so puzzled and hurt why Elsa shut her out. Elsa loves Anna just as much, which is why she distanced herself. Elsa chose to live alone in the comforts of her own room, away from the people she loves to keep them safe. Anna risked her life more than once for her sister, and she eventually helped Elsa figure out how to control her magical powers.
The tale’s not much about staying young forever, but it’s more about growing up, becoming your own person, and learning not to be ashamed of yourself and how to accept your gift.
Another noteworthy point: Frozen doesn’t have the typical villain. Well, except for the Duke of Weselton who volunteered his two guards as Prince Hans gathered a search party for the princesses. He commanded them to “get rid of the monster” should they have the opportunity. The supposed-to-be Prince Charming, Prince Hans, turned out to be a villain in disguise towards the end. And I guess he very well deserved the straight punch on his face given by none other than Anna. Girl power at its finest! And last but not the least, Elsa herself. Her magical powers which is supposedly a natural gift became a curse, a destructive force so great she could kill easily by gesturing with her hand, creating sharp icicles, sheets of ice and snowstorm; and zapping everyone at the right spot, the heart. But Elsa is not the villain at all, she’s also the heroine.
Frozen is indeed a story of love. It showed us that love not only makes everything better, it makes people better, too. We can never underestimate the power of love, much more the sacrificial kind. The tale showed this kind of love in all of its characters:
1. Kristoff, who’s fallen in love with Anna, takes her back to the kingdom to his fiancé Hans, hoping that “true love’s kiss” will thaw her frozen heart; 2. Olaf the snowman lights a fire and volunteers to stay with Anna to help keep her warm, even though he’ll melt. In Olaf’s words, “Some people are worth melting for”;
3. Sven the reindeer, who braved the snowstorm and almost got drowned in his attempt to bring Kristoff back to Anna;
4. Prince Hans, disregarding the villain he is, opens the castle’s doors to the country’s cold citizens, giving them warm clothing and piping hot food.
5. Anna chose her sister Elsa who is in danger over Kristoff who might be her true love’s kiss that could save her life, using her body to shield Elsa from Hans’ sword;
6. Elsa sacrificed her happiness and chose to stay away from her loved ones in order to protect them.
The tale also leaves us with real life lessons for us to ponder on:
– Each one of us are born with the potential to be great. But it takes a lot of courage to overcome your fear and unleash that potential.It may be big, just learn how to take control of it.
– Social alienation, bottling up emotions inside us and letting it all out at once can be very dangerous.
– Look at love-at-first-sight with a bit of suspicion. It’s a big no-no to entrust your heart to someone you just met. True feelings and true relationships takes time to develop.
– We should try to accept and help people who are different from us, even if those differences can be a little scary.
3. Olaf: Being happy is like a ray of sunshine in dark times. You could ease the burden of someone by simply being there by his side.
4. Kristoff: True love isn’t measured by physical gestures. Love is putting someone else’s needs before yours. Love is letting go of the person you cared so much about for her to be truly happy.
Overall, Frozen is not a groundbreaking movie, but it did not became a top grosser for nothing. The movie’s aim is not just to entertain, it aims to give us the reality of the nature of family, friendship and relationship. It’s still the same feel-good classic Disney flick, layered with the messages of being true to one’s self and following your dreams, only much more mature and much poignant.
Here’s my favorite part where Elsa sang her heart out and let herself free.