Frozen (interlude 7)

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.

Yeah, that must be tough.

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[1]), but there were some rather trite devices at work here.

[1] Sorry.

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[2] 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.

[2] 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.

This entry was posted in Hatboy's Movie Extravaganza and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Frozen (interlude 7)

  1. aaronthepatriot says:

    AWESOME! I didn’t find anything serious to disagree with (point 4 below notwithstanding), and I’m really glad you feel this way about the movie and everything else in here. Going through the blog in order:

    1. Holy Fuckballs, who can claim a MAN saved the day? Did they miss the whole bit about Anna[1] sacrificing herself to stop Hans? How did Krystoff do anything? He didn’t! And then Anna took out Hans again at the end! And the Duke of Weaseltown…did Krystoff order him expelled? Doubt it.

    [1] Spelled “Ana” until you pointed out this issue at the end of your blog, LOL.

    2. Definitely true that the parenting approach and grandpa troll solution made no sense all things considered, I thought that at the end of the movie the first time, for sure. I agree it gets a pass…we can’t expect parents to make perfect decisions and, given Elsa’s power and the people’s reaction to it (Monster! Witch!), they were probably right to hide it.

    3. There were definitely a few places where “wait, what?” was off, you nailed that one. Even my girls picked up on it. OTOH, the “OK bye” woven into the first song with Anna was so adorable, though still hackneyed.

    4. Hans was a complete surprise to me. They gave him absolutely NO clues of any sort that he was being dishonest. They made him look so smitten with Anna in their first scene, I’m getting a little mad at you for what you wrote up there. LOL. To see a twist coming there, you’d pretty much have to have heard something somewhere before watching. We’ve spoken about this twist in our house to the extent of thinking it was a bit contrived, since it had no basis in anything we saw before it. Not even when he was WITHOUT Anna did his facade crack, even just to the audience!

    But maybe I haven’t seen all these movies you’re talking about where the handsome prince isn’t the handsome prince. In Shrek, wasn’t it painfully obvious?

    5. Good point again about the sisterly love. I thought that was great, and shouldn’t feminists have thought so too?

    -Aaron

    • stchucky says:

      Well, aside from the tropes I mentioned in the blog post, there wasn’t anything to give Hans away. His mask never slipped. Of course Kristoff was too obvious as the Han to Anna’s Leia, the Mat to her Tuon, the Shrek to her Fiona… yeah, too obvious so I’m glad they didn’t go full retard with him. Hans, like I said, was only going to work out if they pulled a double-bluff switcheroo. As to how they were going to turn him, I suspected the way out when he was talking about his twelve brothers, and how three of them pretended he was invisible. The only solution for him would be to marry into power, and Anna was a convenient choice. But – and now I’ve seen the film about six times – there was nothing in his behavior. Like you say, you call that contrived and a cheat. I was waiting for it to happen, as I said in the post, just because of those pesky tropes.

      And yeah, Prince Charming was pegged as a typical Prince Charming when he first appeared, but they quickly turned it around.

      Oh, there’s more going on in this film, the Internet tells me. In case you didn’t see, Rapunzel and her husband show up for the coronation. The coronation is three years after the death of Elsa and Anna’s parents, and also three years (as in 2010) after the end of Rapunzel. So it’s theorised that Elsa’s and Anna’s parents were on their way to Rapunzel’s wedding when their ship went down. Then, since Arendelle is Norway and Rapunzel was set in Germany, the ship went down around Denmark. Which is where The Little Mermaid frolics in a sunken ship. Same ship.

      Mind blown.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Well I think that was nice sleuthing for the first viewing. I wasn’t looking for a twist like that, and was more just relying on his facade being unnecessarily perfect as evidence that it was not a facade.

        Although, I must say: sandwiches. That’s our first clue things aren’t what they seem!

        I hope I do not have to explain that further LOL

        Ugh, not sure if I like all the connections. But thank you for mentioning them all the same!

      • stchucky says:

        Well like I say, I was 90% sure he couldn’t be for real, for meta-story reasons. The rest was conjecture until that other shoe dropped. I’d hesitate to call it sleuthing, but thanks. I get your drift.

        Not sure I follow you on the “sandwiches” thing, obviously he was lying in hindsight but it wasn’t so much a clue given that the song was about them being on the same wavelength. Personally, that line was one of those cases of a modern meme being a bit clangy in the script. A couple of months ago, the “my iPhone and I are so in sync, we finish each other’s pizza.” joke was a thing. So I was sensitive to it.

        Cute line, though. Like I also said, this clanguage[1] was only a minor gripe I had with an ultimately gorgeous bit of harmless entertainment.

        [1] *smri*

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Your knowledge of all these memes seems to be lessening your enjoyment of the movie, at least to some small extent! I was referring, as you deduced, to the “Sandwiches!” “That’s just what I was going to say” lie in the song, which was terribly cute I thought. I was quipping not that he lied, but that clearly “finish each other’s sandwiches” was NOT on the same wavelength! So, maybe we should have known he wasn’t “the one”!

        I didn’t know the “finish each other’s pizza” meme, but I thought this worked without a meme really well due to the similarity between “sandwiches” and “sentences”. I loved it…hilarious. And they carried the sandwiches theme further.

        In fact, I thought instead they were paying homage to WoW Jenny by Flight of the Conchords (which I sent to you lo these 5 years ago I think). Still hilarious:

        Ahh, those sweet, sweet sandwiches!

        -Aaron

      • stchucky says:

        Unless, as we were sortakinda supposed to think at the time, that really had been what he was going to say.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “Unless, as we were sortakinda supposed to think at the time, that really had been what he was going to say.”

        Right as perhaps per the meme….sort of. Well, either way I was not seriously including this as an early warning. But it’s perhaps the *only* one if it even is one!

      • stchucky says:

        Something I did find incongruous right from the first viewing of the film was the scene where Hans catches Anna when she trips. He smoothly puts down his champagne glass without even looking to see if the servant is there to catch it. Something about that scene raised a red flag to me.

        It reminded me of that scene in Batman (the original and best Burton Batman, that is), where Bruce Wayne puts down his glass carelessly and walks off, and Alfred catches it before it falls. Then he does the same with a pen or something, sticking it in something and Alfred rescues it. Not bad-guy signifiers, as such, but slightly dickish moves that show a complete familiarity and comfort with privilege. In Batman‘s case those scenes were more about Alfred’s awesomeness and Bruce’s complete (apparent) dependence on him, but in Frozen? Not so sure. I thought it could have just been more to show Hans’s confidence and status, compared to the way Anna treats the help (still as though they’re sort of accessories, but at least connecting to them).

        Obviously, only in hindsight does this seem (and still arguably) like a clue, since it came before Hans and Anna went full retard. But still, I thought it was weird at the time.

        But if we’re going to get into hindsight-clues, and I dust off my litwanknalysis hat, it wasn’t the “sandwiches” line in the song that is telling – it’s Hans’s only real individual lines in the whole song. Right at the start, where he sings “I’ve been searching my whole life to find my own place.” It’s the simple, unvarnished truth about his motivations.

        And after that line, pretty much everything he sings and says is sociopathic chameleon-work fitting in with Anna’s naïve prattle.

        Again, obvious – but only in retrospect. And cool, too.

        Is my enjoyment spoiled by the modern-talk and memes? Not overly. As I’ve said a couple of times already, that was only a minor complaint. You shouldn’t read too much into it just because we’re talking about it a bit.

        I mean, it’s not like your dislike of being caught with your pants down by a plot twist has spoiled your enjoyment of this film, right? At least, not so I’d speculate about it. That seems pointless.

        What I was expecting, for the twist (and I think this would have made a bit more sense for the story), was for Hans to try the kiss … and for it not to work. Then he could have put on “Ze evil voice” as per Mitchell and Webb’s Hercule Poirot. What would he have to lose? If it worked, his plan would be in the bag. If it didn’t, we’d be back at square one and he’d be able to plausibly blame Anna for not loving him. Plus, telling her all that stuff and then leaving her alive and telling everyone she’s dead, that was a stupid move. At least smother her with a pillow. Heck, if he tried the kiss and it didn’t work, he could have easily guilt-horrored her into turning to ice. Then just leave her to melt by the fire.

        But y’know, this is Disney. So leave off that last bit of speculation, I still think my Hans-approach would have been better.

      • stchucky says:

        Anna and Hans do have big sandwiches in Olaf’s song (“And you guys’ll be there too”). Funny stuff. Plus of course when Kristoff asks her what Hans’s favourite food is, “sandwiches.”

  2. aaronthepatriot says:

    Also:

    Relevant AND wonderful.

  3. dreameling says:

    Damn. Still waiting for my BD copy of Frozen to ship from Amazon. And when I do get it, no telling when the wife and I can actually watch it in peace. So, cannot read any of the above!

  4. aaronthepatriot says:

    I’ll reply to your excellent longer post later, but:

    “Anna and Hans do have big sandwiches in Olaf’s song (“And you guys’ll be there too”). Funny stuff. Plus of course when Kristoff asks her what Hans’s favourite food is, “sandwiches.”

    And, don’t forget when Krystoff is grilling Anna about Hans’ favorite food: “Sandwiches” (in a “no-duh” voice).

    • stchucky says:

      How did you manage to quote me saying “Plus of course when Kristoff asks her what Hans’s favourite food is, “sandwiches.”” and yet still remind me of that same exact scene? I thought you commented before I added that bit in on my edit, but for you to QUOTE it…

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Oh, it’s simple. I rushed after reading only your comment in my email (emailed by the blog) and didn’t pay attention to any possible changes here. I blame lack of sleep and putting up with a 40-minute screaming fit from my 6 yo yesterday. I kid you not.

        But at this point, let me say it surely must be nice to edit your comments willy-nilly to make sure no one has any points to add!

        And, to keep the jokes out of the response to the more serious commentary above, still pending, I have to say I was also thrown off about Hans because the Tenor is NEVER the bad guy! (Opera joke)

      • stchucky says:

        Aah, figured it was something like that, but didn’t realise the blog e-mailed out comments. I guess if they’re replies to the specific subscriber they pop up. Sorry about that. I do try to only edit my comments before any responses, of course, and this one came in only a few minutes after my original when I remembered another one. I wouldn’t edit around an ongoing discussion.

        Sorry to hear about the difficulties returning. That sucks.

  5. “Something I did find incongruous right from the first viewing of the film was the scene where Hans catches Anna when she trips. He smoothly puts down his champagne glass without even looking to see if the servant is there to catch it. Something about that scene raised a red flag to me.”

    It just seemed a really cool, flowing dance-number movement to me. Also, catching her is more important than the glass, AND he might have been tailing her already and aware of his surroundings. So I didn’t think too much of it.

    “It reminded me of that scene in Batman (the original and best Burton Batman, that is), where Bruce Wayne puts down his glass carelessly and walks off, and Alfred catches it before it falls. Then he does the same with a pen or something, sticking it in something and Alfred rescues it. Not bad-guy signifiers, as such, but slightly dickish moves that show a complete familiarity and comfort with privilege. In Batman‘s case those scenes were more about Alfred’s awesomeness and Bruce’s complete (apparent) dependence on him, but in Frozen? Not so sure. I thought it could have just been more to show Hans’s confidence and status, compared to the way Anna treats the help (still as though they’re sort of accessories, but at least connecting to them).”

    Yeah I vote for confidence and status. And, cool memories about Batman TRULY Begins.

    “Obviously, only in hindsight does this seem (and still arguably) like a clue, since it came before Hans and Anna went full retard. But still, I thought it was weird at the time.”

    Oh it was totally slick Disney for me.

    “But if were going to get into hindsight-clues, and I dust off my litwanknalysis hat, it wasn’t the “sandwiches” line in the song that is telling – it’s Hans’s only real individual lines in the whole song. Right at the start, where he sings “I’ve been searching my whole life to find my own place.” It’s the simple, unvarnished truth about his motivations.”

    Well, true! But those didn’t have to be nefarious. His feelings for her could have been real, and any 13th son would probably leave home for elsewhere in those circumstances.

    “And after that line, pretty much everything he sings and says is sociopathic chameleon-work fitting in with Anna’s naïve prattle.”

    LOL

    “Again, obvious – but only in retrospect. And cool, too.”

    Well, quite.

    “Is my enjoyment spoiled by the modern-talk and memes? Not overly. As I’ve said a couple of times already, that was only a minor complaint. You shouldn’t read too much into it just because we’re talking about it a bit.”

    Ok, good. I am just surprised at how many of the cute things and strange things I noticed are taken from memes.

    “I mean, it’s not like your dislike of being caught with your pants down by a plot twist has spoiled your enjoyment of this film, right? At least, not so I’d speculate about it. That seems pointless.”

    Not at all. However as you say:

    “What I was expecting, for the twist (and I think this would have made a bit more sense for the story), was for Hans to try the kiss … and for it not to work. Then he could have put on “Ze evil voice” as per Mitchell and Webb’s Hercule Poirot. What would he have to lose? If it worked, his plan would be in the bag. If it didn’t, we’d be back at square one and he’d be able to plausibly blame Anna for not loving him. Plus, telling her all that stuff and then leaving her alive and telling everyone she’s dead, that was a stupid move. At least smother her with a pillow. Heck, if he tried the kiss and it didn’t work, he could have easily guilt-horrored her into turning to ice. Then just leave her to melt by the fire.”

    Absolutely! And Olaf comes in JUST too late and melts trying to save her. The end. Cue children crying around the world.

    “But y’know, this is Disney. So leave off that last bit of speculation, I still think my Hans-approach would have been better.”

    Well, of course! I like it.

    • stchucky says:

      “Something I did find incongruous right from the first viewing of the film was the scene where Hans catches Anna when she trips. He smoothly puts down his champagne glass without even looking to see if the servant is there to catch it. Something about that scene raised a red flag to me.”

      It just seemed a really cool, flowing dance-number movement to me. Also, catching her is more important than the glass, AND he might have been tailing her already and aware of his surroundings. So I didn’t think too much of it.

      Except he’d already caught her, elegant move and all, while still holding the glass. The glass was plonked dismissively onto a servant’s tray when he swept Anna off into the dance. Like I say, just immediately struck me as not in character.

      Well, true! But those didn’t have to be nefarious.

      Of course not. That’s what makes it a twist. Difficult to see coming. It was only the meta-story that tipped me off, nothing in the you know what? I’ve said this three or four times now so there we go.

  6. LMAO

    “You’re a selfish, selfish bitch!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s