This weekend I was surprised to be moved in my cinema seat by Disney’s Frozen.
Frozen, it seems, is the latest event in what seems to be a very prolonged Christmas period for me: I found myself at a pantomime last week, we’ve just finished post production on the Festive Film Shoot’s very seasonal Jacob Snow and I have a large backlog of mince pies to fight through – hopefully it’ll be done before February.
Frozen loosely tells the tale of the Snow Queen, a ruthless ruler who surrounds herself in a magical ice palace and freezes her subjects’ hearts. In Disney’s version we get to see why and how this comes to be. There is long established trend for origin stories: comic book films such as Nolan’s Batman trilogy and Wicked the musical are all eager to tell us why their fantastical characters are the way they just are. We no longer accept baddies as just baddies, we want to understand them – and I’m sure Disney’s heavily anticipated Malificent will live up to this brief.
Perhaps the most powerful moment of the film is where Elsa (played by none other than Wicked’s Idina Menzel), runs away to the mountains and begins to accept her magical powers.
Frozen has a lot of trappings of a very modern take on the ‘Disney Princess’. There are two sisters at the heart of the story and their sisterly love is something that is shown to be stronger than any ‘true love’s kiss’ that their Disney predecessors may have fallen for. In fact, there’s a great narrative thread that explores the folly of the whole idea of love at first site, and you don’t want to know what happens to Prince Charming.
Toy Story 3 gave us tears with Andy’s decision to grow up and give away his childhood toys, Brave looks at the relationships between a teenage daughter and her mother and I don’t think I’ll ever get over the opening heartbreak in Up. Frozen is yet another animation that strikes a very adult tone, with real life lessons tied in. The Disney Pixar clan are helping us all to grow up. Either that, or I’m getting old and soppy.