Note: There’s a heap of spoilers in this and I couldn’t be arsed to blank them out. Sorry, please exercise caution while reading.
I’ll go back on my word and drop my review of this movie here, since I think there’s more than enough material in this to fuel two separate rants. I will, however, do my best to steer around the feminist bullplop for the time being.
Having now watched this film two-and-a-half times – and I have a feeling it’s never getting old, since one of the protagonists shares a name with my firstborn – I feel that I can address some of the complaints I’d previously seen levelled against it which I wasn’t in a position to comment on since I hadn’t seen it myself.
Apparently, not watching the film wasn’t enough to stop these complainers from spouting off.
Frozen is a lovely film. Haters gonna hate, there’s evidently no pleasing some people.
When I mentioned this on Facebook there were a couple of devil’s advocates who suggested that there were some problems with the main saviour-protagonists being male, the female protagonists having psychological issues due to social pressure to fit in, and of course appearance-appearance-appearance.
I won’t touch the “man saves the day” or “the women are drawn sexistly” issues here, except to say “bullshit, unless you’re thinking about Olaf because he was the only one who really did anything to save the day and he’s a snowman so get over it” and “oh just shut the fuck up” respectively. For now. As for the female protagonists having “issues”, well. Characters have to have issues. It’s what drives the story. If a male character faces challenges and the strength of his will wins out, but a woman has emotional baggage that damages her but which she ultimately overcomes, this is not my fault. It’s your fault for having two different ways of saying the same thing, depending on whether you’re talking about a man or a woman. I didn’t make you think that way, so – to reiterate – shut the fuck up.
Here’s a brief summary, for those who don’t appreciate being told to shut the fuck up.
The ludicrous parenting decision of “lock her up and pretend the magic doesn’t exist” was also raised, but I think we have to give it a pass. Okay, the parents could have handled it differently. If we accept that the only way to cure Anna’s brainfreeze was to erase the memories, then alright – that had to happen. But since we discover that Anna learning about Elsa’s magic all over again doesn’t cause the brainfreeze to resume, and at the end of the film we find out that given the right loving atmosphere the magic is really quite beneficial and everyone just loves the shit out of the Arendelle royal family anyway so would be thrilled to have a witch-queen … what was the point of all the stuff in between? Send Elsa for a tour with the ice miners so she can learn about ice, then hold her up and say “the crown princess has magical powers and that’s fucking awesome”, and tell Anna to stop being such a goddamn fart in a bottle all the time because slipping on ice can be dangerous. In fact, send Anna for a tour with the ice miners as well. The trolls fed in a bit too much hysteria based on their own probably-not-too-smooth interactions with humans, and Elsa’s parents took that ball and ran with it.
But I still think we have to give it a pass. Not only on the purely practical level of “if we’d cut from Anna’s brainfreeze to the huggy final scene it would have been a twelve-minute film”, but on the storytelling level of personal growth and suffering as a rite of passage. The girls had to make these mistakes, some of which were forced upon them by their upbringing or their culture or their own ignorance, in order to grow. Sort of the point of the film.
Then, of course, there’s the music. I have nothing to say about that, it was beautiful.
I only really had one problem with it myself, and it’s arguably a problem of my own perceptions – and multiple viewings – than an actual problem with the film: the language used in it. There were just a few too many usages of “wait, what?” and other modern-day quips that the Internet has made hackneyed in recent years. Modernisation of language for current audiences is fine and dandy, and indeed often amusing and interesting in a fairy-tale setting, but these clanged a bit after a while. It was almost as if they’d sat down with a web-savvy consultant who told them “this is what young people today are saying when they use the memes,” and then gave them a list of phrases.
Not a huge problem and it certainly didn’t make the film too annoying to watch multiple times (a must, when it is a favourite of one’s kids), but … I don’t know, maybe it’s more a sign of me getting old and no longer having my finger on the pulse of how people talk. If I ever did.
Another obvious one is the prince-and-princess interaction. As I said, I’ll steer clear of most of this because it dips into feminism territory (here there be dragons with their hair in curlers, brandishing rolling pins), but there were some rather trite devices at work here.
Okay, so first of all, the “Prince Charming turns out to be a douche” turn-around is sufficiently well-used as to be a trope in its own right. Since the second Shrek movie, this has become something of a staple in the “fairy stories as you’ve never seen them before” genre. But okay, this whole thing was a secondary plotline anyway. The larger and more clichéd trope in play was the “original boyfriend will never work out, the guy with whom the female protagonist has adventures and argues and fights the whole time will turn out to be Mister Right” one. Of course Hans was never going to work out. I was waiting for that shoe to drop right from the start. It might have been braver for them to have Anna end up going some third direction entirely, or otherwise just not clicking with Kristoff, but the reasonably open way they ended it with the two characters was good enough for me.
 And not to wander too far into subjects I want to save for another day, but the very fact that the prince-princess romance is an entirely tangential and largely-irrelevant secondary story should be some indication of how impressively this story breaks with convention. I did not see the “act of true love to break the curse turns out to be sisterly rather than romantic” twist coming, for all that the Hans-vs.-Kristoff thing was easy to spot. Well played, Disney.
Heck, in this story it would have been a bolder break with cliché to have Hans really be the perfect guy and wonderfully suited to Anna and save the day with True Love’s Kiss. But that would have been a complete backslide to Golden Disney and would have gotten way more complaints, and my lone hipster-ironic voice of approval would have been drowned out, probably rightfully.
I also had a minor problem with the way they pronounced Anna as though it should have been spelled Ana, but still insisted on spelling it with two ns. But that’s just something I will have to deal with.