ZACH HAINES ’14
Recently, everyone has become acquainted with the newest Disney movie “Frozen” this year through its hit song, “Let It Go,” which won the Academy Award for Best Song and garnered a lot of attention after Tony Award winner Idina Menzel’s (a.k.a. Adele Dazeem) rather eventful performance of the song at the Oscars. However, this week was my first time actually watching the film that the song has made famous.
The tale of “Frozen” is set in the fairytale kingdom of Arendelle, where the two princesses Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) live. Elsa possesses a magical ability to create ice and snow while Anna is without special abilities and is born a normal child. When Elsa accidentally injures Anna with her powers, she goes into self-imposed exile, and the two spend the next few years of their childhood apart.
As they move into their adolescence and eventually adulthood, guests come from far and wide when the time comes for Elsa to be crowned queen of Arendelle, including Prince Hans (Santino Fontana) from the Southern Isles. Though Hans proposes to Anna at the coronation, Elsa refuses to giver her blessing out of spite and fear that Hans might be using Anna for something. She then unleashes her powers and plunges Arendelle into an unrelenting winter.
Elsa flees from Arendelle, building an ice fortress high in the mountains where she lives in complete isolation from everyone in the kingdom. However, Elsa unknowingly brings a snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad), who she had created earlier in her childhood with Anna. Anna decides to set out on a quest to return her sister to Arendelle. Accompanied by Olaf, a mountain man named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his reindeer Sven, Anna travels up the North Mountain in search of Elsa.
When Anna and Kristoff reach the fortress, Elsa refuses to return with them. Though Anna pleads with her sister, Elsa becomes enraged and again releases her unchecked powers. A beam of Elsa’s ice powers strikes Anna in the heart, causing a streak of her hair to turn white. Kristoff believes something to be gravely wrong and brings Anna to the trolls. The trolls deduce that Anna’s heart has been frozen, and that only an act of pure love can cure her.
Meanwhile, Hans who has been left in charge of Arendelle under Anna’s suggestion, has also led an expedition to return Elsa to the kingdom. In the ensuing conflict, Elsa is captured and brought back to the kingdom. When Anna and Kristoff reach Arendelle, Anna pleads with Hans to kiss her and undo Elsa’s curse. However, Hans reveals that he does not actually love her and had only planned to marry her in order to take control of Arendelle. Without any “true love” to undo the spell, Anna continues to freeze.
A battle then ensues between Hans and Elsa. Just as Hans is about to deliver a fatal blow, Anna throws herself in front of her sister and freezes solid. Though Elsa is saved, Anna appears to be dead. However, just as Elsa begins to mourn, Anna thaws. It appears that her own act of pure love for her sister has undone the spell.
In the end, Hans is exiled from Arendelle. The two sisters reconcile, and Anna and Kristoff fall in love. Elsa assumes her position as queen and learns to control her abilities: she undoes the winter in Arendelle, though she gives Olaf the snowman his own cloud of flurries to follow him around to help him survive the summer.
The creation of “Frozen” seems to represent a marked divergence from the traditional Disney princess story. In “Frozen,” the “damsel in distress” does not wait to be saved by her “prince charming.” It is not the love of the prince that undoes Elsa’s spell. Anna discovers that she had the power to undo the spell all long. I don’t have much to say in the way of critique. As a film, “Frozen” is pretty much everything I thought and expected it to be. However, I’m glad to see that Disney has updated its films for modern audiences of young men and women, who need to see these empowering messages supported in the media. “Frozen” is proof that Disney has come a long way from the days of “Cinderella” and “Snow White.”