Frozen

Dec 29, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Entertainment, Screenplay

“Let it go! Let it go!

And I rise like the break of dawn

Let it go! Let it go!

That perfect girl is gone

Here I stand in the light of day

Let the storm rage on

The cold never bothered me anyway”

The lyrics of the soundtrack (sung by Demi Lovato) from Disney’s latest hit release, Frozen, say it all! Unlike the conventional Disney movies, Frozen – which was released at Christmas – does not embody the typical damsel in distress crying for a prince to come and save her.

Evidence of how things have changed at Disney has never been more obvious.

The story, which is based on Hans Chrisitan Anderson’s Snow Queen, talks about the bond between two sisters – and how this love is truer than any love a prince charming can give (even one who’s ‘steed’ is a moose). Co-written and co-directed by Jennifer Lee, who has an MFA in film from Columbia University, Frozen definitely benefited from the new found freedom which has embraced Disney and its work since John Lasseter took over as creative chief officer in 2006.

The film revolves around two princesses, Elsa – the elder – and Anna. Elsa has magical powers and can create ice and snow from her fingers; and the sisters are inseparable as children. It is a lot of fun playing indoors with her powers until one night when she mistakenly zaps Anna on the head – and the Elves in the forest tell her parents to separate the two, as her powers can be dangerous.

The beauty of Frozen lies in how one sister spends her life closeted in a room (much like Rapunzel, only this time it’s by her own will) afraid of her powers, afraid to love and live; while the other sister (Anna) never stops believing in her ability to love.

This is made clear when the Elder Elf tells Kristoff “only love can thaw a frozen heart”; a subtle message from Disney which is as beautiful as it is poignant.

While there is no real villain as such (Prince Hans, Anna’s fiance, tries to take over the kingdom when Anna leaves it in his charge to go after Elsa when her powers go out of control), the film is rich with a deeper characterization and emotion than is usual, and is constantly challenging our expectations.

The ‘feminization’ process of Disney is apparent in subtle scenes, as the bond between two sisters is strongly highlighted compared to the classical Disney romance in previous Disney films.

One such scene is when Kristoff (our prince in shining armor – or fur, as they case may be ) and Anna encounter a magic snowman (Olaf) made by Elsa. Elsa, in her rage, has zapped her sister once again and streaked Anna’s hair white. She asks Kristoff if he likes it, and he pauses before confirming aloud that he does. At which point Olaf jumps in quickly, “You hesitated!”

It’s a good quip,  but not the sort of joke a man would write. It is based on the writer’s awareness of what Anna is thinking – and a subtle hint at how men find it hard to know what any woman is thinking at any given time. A subtle but profound change in Disney has slowly evolved in the past couple of years, which has grown bolder in pushing its female protagonist outside the borders of convention, enjoining on its feminine audience to embrace who they are without worry and fear of tradition or men.

From The Princess and the Frog to Brave to Frozen, Disney is slowly changing the structure of its films to embrace the new times, propounding the message to girls and women to embrace who they are (no matter the color of their skin or the economic background they come from) and make decisions for themselves without bowing down to tradition.

This correspondent, for one, can’t wait to see what else Disney has in store for the coming year!

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