Why Disney's Frozen Is More Than Just Another Animation
Once upon a time Disney captured my heart. As an artistic little girl, Disney stirred my creative spirit. Sadly, Disney didn't do that for my children. Then along came Pixar, and picked up the torch--now it's time to give it back.
Disney has reclaimed my heart with their newest animation Frozen. It's well on its way into the hearts of an entire generation.
Simply put, Frozen got it right.
Not because it's nominated for 2 Oscars. In fact, its already scored 18 wins with a running total of 32 nominations. Honestly, that's nice and I'm thrilled for the creatives behind it. They deserve the recognition. But for us parents, that really doesn't matter in the least.
Frozen won a place in my family's Hall of Fame because it does what fairy tales are supposed to do. It reveals real life truths to children through the safety and beauty of a well-crafted story. In Frozen, Disney goes one better by telling it in brilliant animation laced with innocent humor and perfect timing.
Here's what Rotten Tomatoes will tell you about the film:
Featuring the voices of Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel, "Frozen" is the coolest comedy-adventure ever to hit the big screen. When a prophecy traps a kingdom in eternal winter, Anna, a fearless optimist, teams up with extreme mountain man Kristoff and his sidekick reindeer Sven on an epic journey to find Anna's sister Elsa, the Snow Queen, and put an end to her icy spell. Encountering mystical trolls, a funny snowman named Olaf, Everest-like extremes and magic at every turn, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom from destruction. (c) Disney
Personally, had I read that summary, I most likely wouldn't have given the film a chance. That description is not the story I saw. While that might be the official summary it looks like it was crafted by someone that only watched movie trailers.
Here's what I saw.
Unlike the most Disney fairy tales, Frozen is a story of what true love actually is. It also interweaves and contrasts it with what most foolish young girls think it is, and what many well-meaning adults believe it to be.
Some of the best lines in the film come from Olaf, the snowman. For example, as he casually explains love sitting by the fire warming his childhood friend,
"Some people are worth melting for."
The creators take the message of the story a bit deeper than the real meaning of love. Thankfully they also go far beyond the age old, princess finding her prince meme, and bring more reality to the storyline than just stopping the Snow Queen's "icy spell."
The real story is about a little girl afraid of her own power to create. She learns early that her natural born ability is a two-edged sword. It can do wonderful things, but it can also destroy everything she loves. In spite of a warning that fear is her greatest enemy, the emotion takes over her life and family. Her parents resolve to hide her gifts from the world around her.
This kind of protection only hurts the very people it seeks to help. What follows are the natural consequences that occur when we lock ourselves away and deny who we are. When a child tries to conform to what others want her to be ultimately it disfigures and isolates her from those she loves.
Conforming to how others perceive us also creates a storm raging inside. I have to wonder how many children, or even adults would identify with Elsa's song,
"Don’t let them in, don’t let them see. Be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know..."
The story has a few delightful twists. I'll only share one with you. Just between us parents--the real love story here is not between a prince and his princess, it's a love between siblings.
When choosing a film to take impressionable children, parents need to think about the underlying message. All films have one.
Consider that these characters come into our children's lives. They will live in their bedrooms. They become their playmates in the corners of their minds. Their songs become the soundtracks of childhood.
In my house, "Do you want to build a snowman?" Is the new code between my daughter and me, for "let's go create something wonderful together."