Apropos of Nothing: Frozen

I don’t get to see movies in the theater much anymore. With a four-year-old child who professes to hate movies, this isn’t something I get the chance to do much. I occasionally do get away (I caught Thor: The Dark World), but not as often as I’d like.

So, my mother decides she wants to take my daughter to the movies. We warn her that one of the only films she has sat through without completely freaking out is Wall-E. We tell her it’s a bad idea. But she bypasses us, and asks my daughter directly, who naturally says yes. Grandma, after all, asked.

So we decide to go see Frozen. Short Stack is one with the Disney Princesses, after all.

Hrmph. You can see how this will end? Yes? Good. I’ll return to it later.

The movie itself is delightful, with one important caveat: this movie really should have been rated something like PG-10, if it existed.

Kristen Bell (Anna) and +Idina Menzel (Elsa) are simply awesome, both individually and in pairs. I didn’t know Bell could sing, but she really, really can, and checking IMDB, I am utterly unsurprised that she graduated in Musical Theater and was on Broadway. Did I mention they were wonderful?

The plot is interesting enough, and a real departure in many ways. It does show some signs of being rewritten a lot, and the movie was locked in development hell for over a decade. It’s a movie without a terribly clear villain, and there are maybe two to four real twists that I will absolutely not spoil that make it a really novel film for a story literally about Disney Princesses.

Parental Guidance? Yep, they mean it.

So, fine. Good story, great singing, line after line that made my wife and I laugh out loud.

So what’s the problem?

Well, nothing, really . . . but this movie had my daughter on my wife’s lap for over an hour, and she was actively in tears or quivering to not cry for a lot of the film. Now, she’s quite sensitive, and tension really gets to her. And this movie is tense.

From the initial scene that causes Else’s forced segregation from her sister to a lot of the interpersonal conflict to the near-obligatory offing of the parents, the movie is wonderfully tense (for a pre-teen or older) but really wound up my little one.

Oh, and the Ice Monster? Every single scene on camera, they made it scarier. And they did it well.

The last bit of the movie is effectively one minor climax/plot reveal after another (some not so minor, actually), and while it does not feel as “oh, God, another ending” as The Return of the King, this tension kept poor Short Stack more or less quivering.

Also, there’s no question in my mind that some of the themes of the movie are aggressively about coming of age. They do it in a good way, but some of the nearly photorealistic animation that is used these days is strongly suggestive. When Else declares she’s free and gives herself the new ice-blue/green dress, that slit goes way, way, way up, with a very suggestive hip movement.

Offensive? No. Definitely not. But I noticed it strongly, as the father of a young daughter. For the pre-teen and older set, especially those with sisters, it’ll be a great movie. Just take note that this is definitely a coming of age movie, and has some strong themes that you’d better be prepared to explain if asked!

So She Hated It?

No. She was scared (terrified). But she’s done nothing but talk about Elsa and Anna since yesterday. She did not have nightmares, and hardly listens to anything else but the freshly-downloaded Frozen Soundtrack. Now, when asked if she liked it, she’ll say “Yeah! But . . . it was a little bit scary.”

But Caveat Emptor: I’d say this movie is perfect for ages ranging from somewhere about 10-12 and up. Those in the 4-6 range should exercise caution if other movies freak them out. 7-9 should probably be OK.

As for the adults? I will definitely be buying this one. I am a big fan of animated films, and musicals. This had a lot of the strong plotting of a Pixar movie, with some truly exceptional vocal talent and five or six really excellent pieces of musical art on display. “Let It Go” is a real classic as done by Idina Menzel in the film (better than the single version, honestly. Much better.) and the interplay of Anna, Else, Hans, and Kristoff is intensely entertaining. There are plenty of “Bugs Bunny” quality gags too, where the visuals are highly amusing and will keep the kids distracted while the adults chortle into their sleeves about double-meaning and subversive interplay of language.

See it. Just don’t take your super-sensitive four-year-old with you.

Obligatory Roleplaying Reference

I’d really hate to stat up Elsa and her powers in GURPS. I mean, she entombed an entire country in ice. I would be tempted to do it in Fate, but even so – this heroine is literally a force of nature under conscious control. I’d be interested to see how +Leonard Balsera would write her up. I am, frankly, daunted at the prospect.

In the comments section, +David Pulver notes something worth repeating:

Oddly enough, you probably do Elsa quite cheaply in Big Eyes, Small Mouth, as wide area non-lethal effects were cheap. Environmental Control (Cold) Level 6 (generate arctic cold, affect up to a small country) is 6 points, with an average-powered game suggesting 35 points for a character.

Also, Jake B noted that he was glad he wasn’t the only dad who noticed the slit in the dress. I went back and found this fully-animated take from the movie, courtesy of Disney.  In retrospect, the slit goes to her knees, which is only practical. The thing that hit me on second watching was the exaggerated sway of the hips. The two combined to say “I am woman, hear me roar,” which is all fine, but it was a very vampy scene. Still, there are some times where it’s OK to hit you with the Clue Bat.

That’s a lot of hippy hippy shake,
Slit isn’t really that high. Knee-length is just practical

6 thoughts on “Apropos of Nothing: Frozen

  1. I've heard very good things about this movie, and I enjoyed the music video.

    Oddly enough, you probably do Elsa quite cheaply in Big Eyes, Small Mouth, as wide area non-lethal effects were cheap. Environmental Control (Cold) Level 6 (generate arctic cold, affect up to a small country) is 6 points, with an average-powered game suggesting 35 points for a character.

  2. Whew. I'm glad I'm not the only dad who took his kids and (1) noticed the high slit dress, and (2) wondered how to stat out Elsa in an RPG. But I second your review and will be buying this. My 4-year old daughter is apparently not quite as sensitive as yours, as she at least stayed in her own chair munching popcorn, but she did admit it was a little scary at times. My 9 year old *son* actually liked it quite a bit, despite it being about Disney princesses.

  3. About the 'hip wiggle', remember that up to that point she was wearing 'flat shoes', but she acquires heels as part of the dress transformation – which is what I put the major change in gait down to. They're still making the obvious statement about her transformation into womenhood (with all that entails), but that *is* the point of the scene, after all.

    1. I'll have to get my wife to walk with and without heels, and see to what extent the magnitude of hip wiggling increases. The sacrifices I have to make for blogging. Poor little me.

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