SUPERVERSIVE: “Frozen” is a Mean-Spirited Anti-Disney Movie

Wednesday , 24, January 2018 19 Comments

Image result for frozenReading Justinian Wright’s recent post on “Frozen” got me thinking about something I’ve heard a lot of people talk about, and perhaps realize implicitly, but never actually state outright:

“Frozen” is not a Disney movie.

“Frozen” is not a fairy tale.

“Frozen” is the exact opposite. It is an anti-Disney movie and an anti-fairy tale. It takes the tropes of classic Disney and the tropes of the fairy tale and mocks and spits on them. And the reason so few people realized this is because it kept the trappings of the typical Disney Princess film. It is propaganda at its finest, and extraordinarily successful.

The first sign we get that “Frozen” is not, in fact, a fairy tale comes after “Love is an Open Door”. When Anna announces to Elsa that she will be marrying the handsome Prince Hans, Elsa rolls her eyes and tells Anna that “You can’t marry a man you just met”.

The subtext here is impossible to miss, and I’m pretty sure nobody did. This is a criticism, a poke in the eye, to other Disney movies, from “Aladdin” to “Sleeping Beauty” to “Cinderella” to “Snow White”. Get it, guys? They married people they just met, but WE’RE enlightened! We know better now!

This is a line written by people who misunderstand fairy tales – or more likely, people who hate fairy tales. In reality, people in fairy tales fall in love at first sight because in fairy tales marriage is seen as an award for good and decent behavior. For it to be swallowed by people as a reward, we must show that the couple has fallen in love – at first sight if we must. By mocking the concept “Frozen” is subtly re-framing the institution of marriage from a good and noble thing into a suspicious enterprise used by conniving young men to trick women out of their wealth and power.

There is no need to go through the entire plot of the film to make the relevant points. Later in the movie we have Elsa – remember, one of our heroines – sing her famous power ballad, “Let it Go”. And of course it has lyrics such as these.

I don’t care
what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway…

The queen of the country has literally run away and abandoned her people and her sister, and she doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her for it.

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me,
I’m free!

“There is no good or evil, only power, and those too weak to seek it.”

– Lord Voldemort, the villain of the Harry Potter series.

Let it go, let it go
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone

Image result for let it go

Wait, wasn’t sexualization of women supposed to be a bad thing?

Perfection is no longer something to be striven for, though we’ll always be fall short and be found wanting. No, give up! Do what you want! Be true to yourself! THAT’S what’s important!

This song has, naturally, become a power ballad for women everywhere. Instead of being seen as a villain song it convinced the writers to turn Elsa into a hero.

Sure is catchy, though.

So at this point in the film, marriage has gone from a reward for decency and goodness to an institution used to potentially control young women, and giving up concepts like right and wrong, rules and responsibilities, is empowering and amazing.

No, by the way, Elsa does NOT learn the error of her ways. She remains True to Herself, she just becomes better at controlling her powers because she Loves Her Sister. Or something. As it turns out the Strong Wymyn CAN have it all!

Well, except a husband. Wouldn’t want to marry a man you just met!

Of course, later in the movie – spoiler alert! – we learn that the handsome Prince who fell in love with Anna, with absolutely no build-up or foreshadowing, is actually the villain of the story. In “Frozen” villains are really the hero, and the hero is really the villain. Though there is absolutely no indication that this is the case at all, it turns out, again, that fairy tales are wrong: Romantic love between men and women can’t break curses, but love between SISTERS can! A final thumb in the eye of romance, of marriage, of fairy tales, and of the legacy of Walt Disney himself.

I recall long ago, casually tossed off in a comments section, Mr. Wright saying that “Frozen” had laid the groundwork for removing romance entirely from Disney films. Sure enough, “Moana”, the next Disney Princess movie, had no romance to speak of whatsoever.

This was not a coincidence.

It is a sad day indeed when Disney itself becomes ashamed of fairy tales and Disney movies. But from that loss springs opportunity.

It’s up to us now.

Happy writing.

 

19 Comments
  • L Jagi Lamplighter says:

    Spot on, Anthony.

    I have a series of articles on this topic called Defending the Wood Perilous. I should finish them.

  • Jasyn Jones says:

    “Heterosexuality is never the answer.” — Diversity and Comics, describing Marvel’s SocJus comics.

  • windsong says:

    Once the glitz and glamor wore off, the story drove me crazy with how shoddily it was put together. I hadn’t ever thought of it in terms of anti fairy tale and anti Disney, but you’re right.

    One of the few interesting things in the movie, and probably not one they intended, was that the villain (Hans) was actually a more competent and better ruler than either sister would have been.

    And good point on Moana. I hadn’t connected it before now, but it shares a similar structure with Frozen. The most interesting character is shoved aside in favor of a whiny, self-entitled lead who shows remarkably little growth by the end of the movie.

  • DreadIlkZee says:

    To an extent I agree. However. Christof still kisses the girl in the end (after saving her multiple times) and Anna saves her sister, Anna having no power, and Elsa having great power and bringing her back to the country to return to her place.

    Double Subversion? If anything the “romance” of Forzen reminds me more of the Carry Grant movies like Operation Petticoat and Father Goose..

    Also one has to remember that Elsa is the redeemed villain, not the heroine. That title resides strictly with Anna.

    Now your point about the song does have some merrit but I do not know if it was conspiracy (Did they know it was going to be the hit song) or did they just luck upon it as the zeitgeist of women these days is to find reasons to abandon things.

    I guess I look at the end of the story to see how things are changed before deciding that the middle was ultimate evil. After all Elsa essentially turns away from the entire point of her power balled by end of story.

    • Anthony says:

      Kristoff (I swear I thought it was with a K?) kisses the girl but specifically doesn’t marry her, and Elsa is saved by breaking the rules of the fairy tale fragrantly, with no indication at all that new rules were ever in place.

      Elsa is not a redeemed villain. Elsa was never the villain, Hans was. Elsa causes the issue by accident, and she learns to control her powers by…doing it…or love…or something.

      Elsa comes back to the country able to have it all: She gets to have all of her ice powers, her sister, AND get to be ruler of the country. She makes no sacrifices and the only lesson that makes any change is that she is true to herself.

  • MegaBusterShepard says:

    You make some pretty good points Anthony. I never picked up on this myself, I just always complained about how Frozen was an awful movie and a very poor followup to the excellent Tangled.

  • Xavier Basora says:

    Anthony,
    The more i think about it when Hans revealed himself to be the villain i eas shocked. There was nothing absolutely nothing that remotely indicate he was a bad guy. In fact o thought he was both selfless and noble.
    I won’t be surprised if fans remake Frozen and

    xavier

    • Mike B says:

      You thought that because it was true. hans was good and noble. The writers apparently thought that having an obvious red herring (that old pompous guy) was all they needed to do to make his heel turn a SHOCKING REVEAL.

      No, kids. No. That isn’t a twist, it is straight-out cheating. Sixth Sense? Usual Suspects? There were CLUES. Maybe we missed them at the time but once we were hit with the big reveal, those clues made sense in retrospect. The story played fair. In Frozen there were no clues at all, which made the twist pointless and unbelievable. An audience likes to be cleverly misdirected but we ill-tolerate straight-up lies. It’s the difference between enjoying a roller coaster vs. being kidnapped and taken on a high-speed pursuit, or between a haunted hayride or being hunted by real axe murderers.

  • caleb says:

    Speaking of “Moana,” methinks that you will appreciate this analysis that is somewhat complementary to what you wrote in your article.

  • Mike says:

    Don’t forget the insufferable Olaf, the only fantasy character more grating than Jar Jar Binks.

  • Richard Hartman says:

    You missed that Hans “scheme” does not make sense. Anna is dieing, and he abandons her? He should marry her quickly then let her die. And his reversal? Yes out of nowhere. So. Who wants to get rid of Hans and has magic that can affect minds? The trolls! They want Anna to marry Kristoff, so they put the whammy on poor Hans!

  • Andy says:

    I haven’t seen it and I haven’t even heard the song that is allegedly inescapable 🙂 I suspect my wife would not like it because she and her sister don’t get along at all.

  • Stephanie says:

    My first response to Frozen was very positive. I’m very close to my family, and I liked that the movie acknowledged that familial love can also be very powerful.

    Further thought has definitely dampened that enthusiasm, though.

  • Interesting. I myself wrote a post a while ago that brought together that same bit of “Let it Go” and that same quote from Harry Potter: http://snowflakeclockwork.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-morality-of-fiction-elsa-and.html
    I was a bit hampered in my analysis by the fact that I haven’t seen Frozen, but this further confirms my arguments that it is endorsing Elsa’s evil and setting it up as a model for girls to aspire to.

    • Anthony says:

      I was sympathetic to the point of view that this was being portrayed as a mistake, a bad thing, until I realized that not once is her attitude condemned or contradicted. Elsa does not repent, she merely learns that she can have it all: She can be True To Herself AND be the queen.

      The villain Hans tries to claim that Anna’s death is Elsa’s fault. He is absolutely correct, but instead of Elsa repenting of her folly she just walks over and Loves Her Sister, and all is fixed.

      The one time in the movie somebody suggests Elsa made a mistake the person suggesting it is the villain, who is revealed to be wrong. Elsa’s real issue wasn’t abandonment of morality and kingdom, it was not consulting her sister about the idea first.

  • A. Nonymous says:

    I’m rather fond of the idea that Hans was originally written as a pyrokinetic (before they retconned him as the designated villain of the piece):

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CFL5OmcUIAAGkkw.jpg

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