Frozen: The good, the bad, the skinny

March 6, 2014 — 1 Comment

As new parents, David and I are Disney movie virgins. We don’t know all of the different princesses — they’re all a blur. Sure, Cinderella, Snow White, and Pocahontas we could pick out of a lineup. But Ariel? Belle? Merida? Jasmine? I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart if you paid me in tiaras.

I’m not keen on immersing D in pop culture. For a while I was proud of the fact that she couldn’t tell all of the princesses apart, either. But in my desperate attempt to entertain D during this interminable winter where we can’t go outside to play because it’s a million degrees below zero, in moments of weakness I have taken her to see the movie “Frozen” twice. Yes, twice.

Each time, D was engrossed in the movie the whole time and refused to leave the movie theater when it was finished. She started crying and said, “Mommy I don’t want it to be over!” I think she thought that if she just stayed in the movie theater, she would become an official resident of Arendale and be able to live in the castle with Anna and Elsa forever and ever. I finally was able to bribe her out of the theater with the promise of a milkshake.

In another moment of weakness about a week ago, I bought her a CD of the “Frozen” soundtrack. Despite the fact that she didn’t understand the concept of a soundtrack at first (“Mommy, I can’t see the movie!”), this CD is now played several times a day, and D almost knows all of the words to all of the songs.

Unlike D, I have a few “issues” with the movie. While I liked it, I didin’t agree that it was “the best Disney movie since the Lion King!’ as one reviewer claimed. It was okay, but I was left a bit underwhelmed. Keep in mind I’m partly Danish and Swedish (the movie is supposedly set in a mythical Nordic country sometime in the past…like maybe a few hundred years ago?), and for several years I sang in a Nordic Choir. So I know Nordic music, and have some sense of the culture.

Here’s what I had problems with:

Arendale: What kind of Nordic town (or is it a country?) name is that? There’s nothing Nordic-sounding about it. In David’s words: “It sounds like the name of a Philiadelpia suburb.” I feel they could have done more throughout the movie to carry out the “Nordic” feel. The town/country name and the music didn’t fit (see below).

The generic pop songs: I had high hopes for the music at the beginning of the movie. There were a few beautiful choral numbers in the movie that suggested “Nordic” to me, but then these generic, modern pop songs are interjected throughout and they just don’t fit. The don’t fit the era, the place, or the feel of the rest of the movie. If you’re going to have a story set in a Nordic culture in some past era, don’t interrupt the movie with modern pop songs. Another Disney movie, “The Lion King” did a much better job of using African rhythms and sounds in their pop songs that at least made them fit the story.

Princesses with waists the size of a Lifesaver: Okay, these are supposed to be Nordic beauties and I like the fact that Anna is a spunky tom-boy, but did they have to make their waists so small? Their proportions were totally unrealistic and harken back to the unrealistic proportions of Barbie. No wonder our little girls are growing up with eating disorders.

Elsa turns into a sex-pot? I was a bit shocked when Elsa, in her new ice-castle singing “Let it go,” (the song that is now played over and over in our home and that I can’t get out of my head) is suddenly transformed from an appropriately dressed teen princess into a full-busted, scantily-clad Amazon woman. Seriously — her dress has a slit up to her hip! Really, Disney? “Let it go” is supposed to be an empowering, freeing song, and yet the sexpot look doesn’t exactly say, “empowering” to me.

The snowman sidekick. Again — I didn’t feel ilke this character fit the movie. Sure, he’s cute and funny, but he felt a bit extraneous and “kitchy” to me. I think “Sven” the reindeer was enough of a side-kick and we didn’t need a cartoonish goofy snowman.

The animation “too” realistic? I didn’t notice this until David pointed it out, but there’s such a thing as animation being too realistic. At times, the characters almost felt creepy because their features were too realistic and it moved from feeling like a cartoon to a movie with computer generated actors….or something.

What I did like:

The animation: While some of the animation seemed “too” realistic, I did think parts of the animation was beautiful. The ice images, especially when Elsa is “building” her castle were gorgeous.

The “Nordic” songs: My favorite songs on the Frozen soundtrack are the choral numbers, Eatnemen Vuelie by Frode Fjelheim (and the Vuelie Reprise) sung by Cantus, a female choir based in Trondheim, Norway. Beautiful. I just wish the songwriters had incorporated more of this type of music throughout the rest of the movie, or at least used elements of it in the other songs.

The message: I was just “meh” when it came to the storyline, but I did like the message of how the two sisters loved and cared for one another, and I liked how Anna in the end falls for Christoph….who is far from perfect and a “fixer-upper.” I also like how Elsa has “power” — which she is afraid of at first, but then learns to use for good.

 

So, there you have it. D and I both rated the movie. Our “princess scores” are below. Hopefully we will bring you more reviews in the future!

()n a scale from 1 – 5 princesses)

Mommy’s score: 2 princesses!

D’s score: 5+ princesses! 

 

Karen

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One response to Frozen: The good, the bad, the skinny

  1. As the mother of boys, it’s really fun to read this review and get a “girl’s eye perspective.” I hadn’t thought about the music; you make a great point that it should be a little more Scandinavian. (And “Arendale” sounds like it should be in “Lord of the Rings,” doesn’t it?).

    From what I hear, the girls in my son’s first-grade class seem to agree with your daughter. My son complains that they keep singing “Let It Go” over and over at recess. :)

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