The Brilliance of “Frozen”
If you are like me and have a daughter you have probably heard the songs “Let It Go,” “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?” and “Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People” no less than 2,174,398,245 times. I have actually seen Frozen two times and all since its release on DVD, and I think it’s a really good movie. Nay, I think it’s a very important movie. Especially for us fathers.
My biggest fear as I help raise The Kid are the junior high and high school years. When image matters most. When cliques are created. When there is undue shame piled on the nerdy, ugly or smelly and an equally undue “coolness” is hoisted upon the blessed few.
I want to tell The Kid:
“Guess what? None of that matters. High school really won’t matter. The clothes. The reputations. The crowds. The sense that the world is about to end. You will laugh about it one day.”
I can say that over and over and it won’t matter. But Frozen helps. How and why? (SPOILER ALERT for you jerks that have somehow not seen this film.)
For the first time in Disney animation, the villain is … the dashing prince. And guess what? No one knows that he’s evil until the end of the film until he reveals that he’s power-hungry and is OK with murdering the princess he professed true love for 40 minutes earlier in song. It is more than likely your child’s first experience with a The Usual Suspects level of cinematic twist.
Not only is the bad guy the prince, but the idea that true love is not at “first sight” nor does it happen overnight.
In “Love Is An Open Door,” the rascally Princess Anna and Prince Hans attempt to prove that one’s soul mate is just around the corner and that there’s an unspoken connection that immediately takes place (by the way, this song is just Grease’s Summer Lovin’ with new lyrics):
Hans: We finish each other’s …
Hans: That’s what I was gonna say!
Anna: I’ve never met someone …
Both: Who thinks so much like me … Jinx! Jinx again!
Our mental synchonrization can have but one explanation
Anna: And I
Both: Meant to be!
For one, it’s noteworthy that Princess Anna just attended her first party. When she says “I’ve never met someone …” she is correct. She’s been holed up in a castle for a decade. She has no context as to how personal relationships work and the endorphins that shoot off like fireworks when you meet someone new … or maybe it was just the chocolate fondue.
Later, when Prince Hans proves to be the true villain (after handing out blankets and soup to the frozen citizens of a kingdom he has no authority over) we learn that the “mental synchronization” was a ruse and he was just using Anna’s overreaction as a means of becoming king.
Once Anna ventures off to find the alienated Elsa in the wilderness she comes upon the lovable Kristoff, who is dumbfounded to learn that Anna is engaged to a guy she’s just met. A point he repeatedly makes.
This defies all that we have learned at the glorified feet of Disney. Instead, princes and princesses don’t even have to really meet to fall in love. The princess typically gets in a pickle, acts all helpless and has to depend on the go-getting prince to rescue them.
We and our children have been taught that if you wish upon a star, all your dreams will come true. Prince Charming is waiting just around the corner to save the day.
One writer (or headline writer) called it a “cynical twist” but it’s more refreshing to know that I am not the only viewer to realize what Disney did here.
Although not technically Disney, Pixar ventured into new territory with a “princess” story without the prince. In fact, Brave has nothing to do with romantic love.
Point being, Disney is teaching our children that nothing is as good as it seems. Love is something that often hurts and take a lot of work to refine. It is not magic.
I realize that I can say to my kid what I wrote above and for her to understand it. For kids, life is about that moment. Not ‘til we were older did we realize it was as much about the past and future as it is about the moment. It’s why we work entirely too much.
But, maybe, if The Kid watches Frozen another eight dozen times, maybe the lesson will sink in.