Movie Review: Frozen

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Having superpowers is usually a pretty cool thing. But not for Princess Elsa. While she has the ability to manipulate and create ice of her own accord, ever since she hurt her sister, Anna, on accident… She fears using her powers ever again. So she hides in her room. Away from society, her friends, and even her sister. Consumed by fear, day in day out. She lives like this until she turns 18, and it is time for her coronation. She has to hide her powers, and does so successfully through the entire ceremony. Until that is, Anna springs a surprise engagement on her, to which she reacts with fear, meaning ice.

Sorcery is cried, and Elsa flees the city. She builds herself a home of ice, and in doing so casts eternal winter on the land. Anna decides that it is up to her to bring her sister back and make things right. But without true love, that task will be impossible.

Things I Liked

Frozen is all all about searching for what true love is. Amazingly, the makers of this movie didn’t miss the mark by much. In fact, as close as they could come without introducing scriptures. We see Anna make huge sacrifices to help and redeem her sister. We see love as an action- not a feeling, and when “feely” love is shown, is it frown upon and shown to have consequences. Additionally, we see perfect love casting out fear. Just like talked about in scripture, ultimately changing everyone for the better.

Early in the film, A troll talks about Anna’s injury as a child. “Luckily she only hit her head. The mind is easily changed, the heart not so.” We see the mind of Anna chained throughout the movie as to what she should do, but her heart in loving her sister remains pure to the end. Likewise, we see characters who’s hearts are hardened, and don’t change. This was an interesting theme brought into the film, and one I appreciated watching.

The animation, per usual in a Disney movie, is something to behold. The animation of the ice and characters is realistic, yet still charming cartoonish. As always, Disney dazzles us with the best animation and production in the industry. It also brings a few laughs to the screen in a mostly clean fashion.

Things I Didn’t Like

The prevailing themes of Frozen are by far some of the best in any disney film ever produced, and I don’t say that lightly. Unfortunately, while the main theme is great, Disney tries to slip in many subliminal messages that are rather unwholesome.

For instance, the parents of Elsa make the decision to keep her isolated in her room. This is shown to have incredibly negative effects on Elsa. In truth, after this, Elsa is shown to be justified in whatever she does- no matter how bad. When she runs away from the city, she isn’t sad about leaving, rather joyful in not having to worry about anyone anymore, and just focus on her pleasure. It is only through the love of Anna does she eventually change.

The main antagonist in the movie is a merchant from a place the characters pronounce “Weaseltown”. He is greedy, shrewd, and most unpleasant. All he talks about is profits, business, and money. This clear denouncement of business irked me immensely, especially contrasting how the state was made to look better than the merchant by giving away stuff to the common people. I may be oversensitive, but knowing the stance of disney on many political issues, this was a clear subtle advancement of the welfare state, and rejection of business.

There is some innuendo and “wink wink” jokes made in this film. Anna falls for two men in this movie. One meeting winds up with them getting tangled up in a boat on accident, a statement is made that it is important to know your man’s shoe size, and some kisses are made.

Crude humor is also more prevalent than usual.  Olaf refers to his butt quite consistently to pull a few laughs from the younger kids. He also talks about yellow snow, we learn Kristoff prefers to “go” in bushes, to which Anna says “I didn’t need to know that.” Nope, we didn’t either. A troll holds up and talks about a stone he recently passed. Candy, of course. Booger, gas, Body odor,  and saliva jokes are made as well.

Other things to be aware of

Olaf, Anna, and Kristof tumble through the snow quite a bit. Chased by snow monsters… wolves… snow slides… they always wind up in a drift unharmed. Elsa also attacks some men with ice when they threaten her life. One person begins to freeze from the inside out, and the process looks immensely painful. There is a ship that is destroyed at sea, we see people on it die. Just want to let you all know these scenes can be frightening for younger viewers.

Magic in this movie is not made to come from anywhere in particular. Elsa was born with the powers, and that’s all that is said about them. Likewise, the Trolls are shown to just “have” the power, not deriving it from any particular place. It is shown to be a natural part of the world, not as witchcraft or manipulated sorcery.

Closing Thoughts

Anna: “I don’t even know what true love is,”
Olaf: “I do! That’s when you put someone else’s needs before your own.”

If there is one topic Disney has been pushing for decades, that is love. Love is truly what make the world go round and lives worthwhile. At last it seems, Disney has figured out that love is action, not feeling. We see this, in Frozen. It is spelled out plain as day and will be completely understood by kids of all ages. We see this conveyed through a charming, albeit predictable plot, that delivers a standard happy ending Disney finish. Nothing truly different, save for their 180 degree message changed from “love is what you feel” to “Love is what you do.”

Speaking of messages though, the prevailing theme of sacrificial love is just about the only one worth commending. A master storyteller, Disney has woven in themes which are subliminal as best, but completely flawed as a whole. The reaction of parents to the powers, closing her up in a room- showing again how parents ruin lives…. The degradation of the image of business through a greedy merchant, while seeing the state hand out free food and items as a hero… The complete and absolute justification of whatever Elsa does- good or bad…. The crude humor (growing more and more prevalent in Disney films) and innuendo only adults will get…. All these things add up.

I was trying to figure out after I left the theater why, with such a great and biblical main message, I was hesitant to embrace the film and recommend it. Something rubbed me the wrong way, and after a few days of pondering, I think I figured it out. While Frozen is an excellent film on true biblical sacrificial love, they weave into the story so many negative minimal messages, that the main item in question is tarnished. Disney is preaching many things in this movie- both good and bad, which is something definitely to be aware of.

In short, Frozen is an exciting, memorable, and predictable  romp through an eternal winter with a message on Love I believe we all can rally around as Christians. However, with the added amount of snowballing negative themes, while not enough to give Frozen the cold shoulder, is something we definitely should dress against and *ahem* s’now joke.

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3 thoughts on “Movie Review: Frozen

  1. Stephen P says:

    I’m wondering if the perceived “welfare state” ideas are more an extension of the monarchy-type setting that the movie takes place in rather than a subliminal message “slipped-in.” Having said that, I haven’t paid much attention to Disney’s stance in the political realm.

  2. Bekah says:

    Hm. I’d actually not noticed the “welfariness” when I watched the movie. (Whoop, spoiler alert) My only rebuttal to that would be, that if I remember correctly, the passing out of things was primarily done by Hans, and we all know how he works out. Gets the people to love him through free stuff, so that when he kills them, the people will already have high opinions of him and never blame him? I’d take it more as a lesson to pay attention to people’s true intentions, because sometimes things aren’t as fine and dandy as they may seem.
    Or maybe I’m reading wayyy too far into a children’s movie. ;)

  3. Or maybe, just maybe, these movies were made to simply entertain children…my 4 year old sister loves all Disney movies not because of these over analyzed theories, but because she loves music and the colors and the big picture unfold (the princess saves day and ends up with a prince). That simple.

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