Monday, 26 January 2015

Evening with Frozen

Yesterday evening, Susanna and I had dinner, ice-wine and a movie: Frozen.   It was our first time seeing that movie.  All in all we liked it.  For one thing we both like musicals.
Charles (who arrived home just after we finished wacthing the movie) and I also think it is a much better movie than Tangled. The characters have more depth, actually grow as people (well Kristoff doesn't, but he's just window-dressing), and the story's theme is more universal and more worth paying attention to.

Before I get to the spoilers, I have one question.  How old are Elsa and Anna during the main body of the movie?  I don't believe the ages Disney has given.  Those ages feel wrong, and I suspect Disney stated those for political/legal reasons.  More about that below.

Spoiler warning:


I do have one more thought about lessons and growth:  While "the song" is catchy and still very much on the social radar more than a year after the movie's release, by itself it sends a message of irresponsibility and entitlement, which we don't need more of.  However, when Elsa realizes what she has done, then it all comes together.  That is her growth moment: she goes from following rules because they are rules to understanding her responsbility.

All three of us like the fact that the act of true love at the end had nothing to do with romantic love.

I liked the fact that the story, setting and characters aren't all Disney steriotypes.   Sure, there are steriotype elements (princesses anyone?), but for once these characters, setting, architecture, etc aren't interchangable with other Disney movies.  (Despite the fairly similar looks of modern Disney princesses.)  I very much enjoyed the visual beauty of the snowy landscape.  For once, winter isn't portrayed as death, evil, etc.   It is beautiful, and so are Elsa's creations. (All right, Olaf is the comic relief, so we will except him.)

Of course nothing is perfect, and the movie has its flaws.  I have quibbles with the technical side.   Anna and Kristoff fall 200 ft (stated in the movie) and land in snow up to their waists. That would give them at least a 66 g deceleration which is survivable if they are lucky, but it's a guaranteed ticket to front of the queue in an emergency department and a long stay in the hospital.   (I can back up those numbers if anyone wants to argue.)

I do find the Elsa's growing bridge interesting.  There is no way an ice bridge, or a bridge of any other materal with that geometry for that matter, could support its weight, let alone hers, in those conditions until it is anchored at both ends.  However, it is magical so the magic could be supporting the weight.  Let's just hope that no one is standing on it (even the completed ice bridge) when the magic runs out.

Elsa's powers are amazing.  Not only has she got mastery of winter, she also can heal flowers (summer powers?) raise sunken ships (water powers, or anti-gravity perhaps) and repair said ships (wood powers?) .

I suspect the artists have learned from the fiasco in Tangled that portrayed all the ships in harbour with all their sails unfurled.  That's the sailing ship equivalent to having the engines at full power - a really bad idea when anchored or docked in harbour.  Nonetheless, I thought there were some ships in the harbour early in the movie with all the sails set.  At the end there were, but to do the artists justice, those ships were moving.

There are blooper reels on youtube for the movie, but while some have good points (the storm when Anna enters the trading post), others are silly. (Why shouldn't Elsa have more than one private office/reception room/etc.  She's the queen.)

The bloopers I haven't seen mentioned are the political mistakes.  Characters (Hans in particular) claim that Elsa is treasonous.  How?  She's the Queen.  She can't be treasonous.  A murderer she could be, but to be treasonous she would have to kill herself.
Then, how does Hans think he could take over?  No one has witnessed those vows.  Do Elsa and Anna have no cousins, uncles, aunts, etc who actually have a reasonable claim to the throne?  Then the Duke of Weselton, stated in the movie as being from a different kingdom, why is he involved in the inner circles --- at all?  Surely the Kingdom of Arundale has its own nobility who would shut out outsiders from potentially embarrasing and/or dangerous secrets.

Now the ages:  Disney says that Elsa is 21 and Anna, 18.  However, from the princess's behaviours, maturity and European social history,  I think 18 and 16 are more reasonable values.  Elsa comes of age at 21?  Please, no!  That's just Disney covering their behinds. Sure there is some precident for that, but only in fairly recent history and only in a very few countries.   If you have a power vacuum left by the previous King (and Queen) dying, you need to crown your successor ASAP.   Age be damned.  Also Elsa's reactions to being found out, and her eventual turn-around feels more like an 18 than a 21 year old to me.   What do you think? 

Bloopers, quibbles and Disney steriotype elements aside, I liked the movie, its message and yes even the characters.

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