Frozen proves to be the next Disney Classic


Jamilla Van Dyke-Bailey

Disney hits the head on the nail again, with the studios 53rd in-house animated feature, Frozen. For the last ten years Disney has been trying to figure out the perfect formula for adapting Hans Christian Andersen’s classic, The Snow Queen into a musical cartoon picture. Writer-Director, Chris Buck, who first worked with Disney as an animator on, The Fox and The Hound, and, Jennifer Lee, who co-scripted Wreck-it Ralph altered the traditional story of a young girl’s efforts to free her true love from a cursed mirror in a snow spirit’s lair, to a conventional tale of two princesses, younger sister Anna (voiced by Livvy Stubenrauch and Kristen Bell) and her older sister, Elsa (voiced by Eva Bella, Maia Mitchell, and Idina Menzel).

Without giving too much away, the story begins with two sisters who are princesses and best friends. Anna is an adorable and dramatic child, whereas Elsa is more reserved and harbors an inexplicable ability to manifest snow. As with any magical gift, Elsa’s magic came with a price, and when she, as a child, nearly killed Anna, their parents, the King and Queen, separated the two children and closed the gates of their palace to the rest of their kingdom. As time continues, Anna, who under a spell forgets about her sister’s powers, tries to rekindle a relationship with her older sister, but Elsa refuses; even when they become orphans due to a disastrous shipwreck.

On Elsa’s coronation day, she allows herself, her sister and their palace to open the doors to the citizens of their kingdom, once again. Elsa fears that her secret will get out, because her seclusion and fear has stifled her ability to embrace and learn to control her powers.  Anna, however,  is excited to be around people and have a party after years of living in a quiet house without friends and the love of her sister or parents.

Throughout the rest of the movie, Disney steps outside of itself and creates a unique princess movie, similar to the wildly successful Tangled and The Princess and The Frog, where the company sheds itself of their usual connotations. Disney’s older princess stories, like Cinderella and Snow White are popular, coveted crown jewels of the company’s legacy, but have recently created backlash for the company for portraying subservient woman, who are stuck in a tough situation in their lives, waiting for young men and true love to save them. In the new era, women have realized that they can not only own businesses, they can run for President of the United States of America; and with this societal change, Disney has changed as well.

Frozen is a princess story that focuses on the true love, bond and power of two sisters. Throughout the course of the movie, Disney pokes fun of their idea of “true love,” couples who fall in love within a day of knowing one another, and perfect princesses who need to be saved and rescued. Instead, Princess Anna is socially awkward, clumsy and naïve, and her sister Queen Elsa is cold, reserved and stubborn, both alone and searching for themselves as sisters, rulers of a kingdom, and their individual ideas of who they are.

While creating another revolutionary princess story that they are not really known for, Disney stays true to their music and comedy. The songs featured in Frozen play true to live musicals, where the songs tell a story and progress the plot more often than express a mindset. The songwriting for the songs of Frozen is funny and catchy, per usual, but also more deep. Although, Olaf, a magical snowman’s song Summer is hilarious and ironic, it is Elsa’s Let it Go, a song that is catchy, empowering and vulnerable, that steals the show.

Even though some points of the movie are serious, for instance Elsa’s complete emotional and mental isolation from her sister and society, Frozen still manages to not overpower the audience with depressing undertones, by keeping the movie lighthearted and funny for parents and children. It is these moments that allow the young and impressionable mind of children to learn Disney’s messages, and the many messages that Frozen can teach them, while they are unaware what they are learning. While children are laughing at Anna and Hans’s “First Love” song together in the beginning, they are also learning about the hilarity of the “I just met you, but I love you” way of thinking that is popular in most books, movies and television shows that are directed at kids.

In its entirety Disney’s Frozen, which came to theaters on November 27th, is Disney doing it right and doing it better than before. Frozen is a movie for families to enjoy together, to learn about the power of familial bond and the truth about true love. Frozen is a movie that will make you laugh, sing along and cry, no matter what age. It is a movie where adults will get in touch with their inner child who, almost a decade ago, were experiencing The Lion King for the first time. Once you see this movie, I am sure you will agree, that Frozen is not only an animated movie of the year; it is the animated movie of the year.