Frozen: Movie Review

Frozen: Movie Review

Disney’s new animated film was recommended to me by Bookworm at her blog. So I checked it out, as I said I would.

Surprisingly the best part of the film was the first 30 minutes for me. I already forsaw the potential endings at around the middle of the film, so while the ending was still interesting and fun, it was not as fun as the first 30 minutes for me. The first 30 minutes covered the childhood friendship of two sisters who grew up together in the same home, as well as various losses and mistakes along the way.

This is a very interesting film on several levels. For people who like an emotional journey into the human heart, they might like this. If you like anime and the values of family and love in it, Frozen has similar executions of the ideals of humanity. My recommendation is positive, but from now on it’s going to be all spoilers and analysis.

One of the things I first noticed was that the sister became a hikikimori. Essentially a person that is obsessed with solo type activities like games and computer manipulation, while shut in a tiny box of a room that is closed off from the outside society due to fear of humans. It’s a sort of super anxiety disorder compounded with the allure and draw of Japanese role playing games and visual novels, which provide a safer alternative to exploring human emotions than the risk of actual real life entaglements and social destruction that may result. (American example might be Second Life, Facebook, a woman sending pictures of herself masturbating to the boy she likes, all examples of social relationships that may or may not be healthy) The elder princess fits that bill (hikikimori) to so exact a fine line that I wonder if they just copied this concept directly from Japanese culture and otaku anime. There are a lot of moments in this movie that made me feel something similar. It’s not a bad thing in my view, but it is kind of funny and predictable.

Because of the accident in which the younger sister was hit with an ice shard on the head (because the magic user slipped on ice and tried to aim the magick at the ground to construct a safe pillar but ended up hitting her sister and almost killing her), the older sister became afraid of human touch and human interaction. She believed, and this was reinforced by her parents attempt to help her control her powers, that this magickal curse could only be controlled if she hid it, if she stopped feeling emotions, both positive and negative. That is why she shut out the world, for she sought to change herself…. even if this meant changing the relationship she had with her sister by putting up a wall and keeping her closest companion out. The fact that the younger sister’s (imouto) memories were altered, helps the plot along. The magick there didn’t make much sense, so it was just a plot device. The troll removed the knowledge about the magick, but kept all the memories of fun and companionship. That’s why the younger sister doesn’t understand why her older sister has changed the relationship.

There’s another review of the movie I’d like to respond to. I’ll start bolding said review in sectioned parts.

Sisterhood could have been a theme, and the writers apparently think it was a theme judging by the ending, but the sisters don’t work together or do much of anything together for the whole film.-Eidolon

Technically, to be accurate, it is not sisterhood. It feels more like the Japanese concept of a childhood friend or osananamiji. Thus I “got it” by cross referencing the enormous bulk of Japanese conceptual and media work on childhood friends and why this relationship is special and critically valuable. The central concept behind a childhood friend is absolute loyalty and always being together. That means by the time of the accident, they were no longer childhood friends. In the introduction, when one girl wakes the other up, this mirrors the osananamiji framework that has the friend (usual female) wake her childhood friend up (often male), each and every morning. It’s a Japanese thing. In the American framework, being together is hanging out, having fun, going to parties, eating lunch together, etc. To the Japanese, the fact that you are waking your friend up in the morning is in itself a Ritual of friendship and proof of the closeness of childhood friends. I surmise that the playing together and building snowmen was the “activity” that represented the entire continuum of childhood activities these two girls engaged in together. It is the backstory, and thus the film isn’t about the backstory but the future and how this relationship is healed.

The powers therefore can’t possibly represent isolation, as “releasing” that by being further isolated doesn’t feel good. So basically, the powers represent nothing, they’re just powers.

I would tentatively agree that the powers are either a plot device or merely a tool. They serve as the plot function to trigger the True Love resolution.

What presented the isolation of a glacial heart is the mythology concerning the Wise Man on the Mountain and the Hermit/Enlightened one living in a cave by himself for decades researching human wisdom. Those who seek human knowledge and freedom ironically often have to get away from concentrations of humans, due to the way human society ostracizes and punishes the “nail that stands out”. This is represented and highlighted in the film as a fear of and hate of someone with these ice powers. But it could just as easily be a hunchback of Notre D or the beast (and the beauty) that people hated or feared.

The moment when the Queen self exiled herself to the heart of the tallest mountain, to remain in isolation, protecting herself from humanity and protecting her kingdom from herself, was a pretty fun moment for me to see. I’ve seen numerous humans break under the strain of social conditioning and social authority, when said humans couldn’t find the strength to perform or stand up to power. I’ve also seen numerous humans become monsters, as society ostracized them and called them monsters: a self fulfilling prophecy. The Queen’s transformation in heart, spirit, and body was very entertaining to see, because it represented to me the moment when a human, after experiencing a life time of human social poison, finds the confidence to believe in themselves and their own abilities/powers/judgment. Of course they used the conditioning trigger of a depression turning into a joy ride, but that’s something I’m aware of as I feel it.

The Queen’s escape into the glacial heart of the mountains also reminded me of Minecraft, where you would just set out in one direction and build your fortress/farm/castle in a location you desired, based upon the natural resources around you and your own work.

The guy who goes on the trip with them works with ice, but this turns out not to be thematic but just for convenience. I thought maybe he’d end up as a love interest for the sister with the ice powers, since he works with ice, but there’s no connection or any sort of repetition of any ideas that could possibly congeal into a theme.

I thought the dual couple phenomenon was a possibility as well. Since the prince back at town wasn’t acting in character for a backstabbing story line. I had already made a hypothesis as to this. Which is why when the sudden but inevitable betrayal came, I wasn’t really surprised. The younger sister was having too much face time with a male protector that she wasn’t going to be romantically involved with. In real life, that makes perfect sense, but this is a movie about True Love. If they were planning on having the ice breaker, sled rider save the Queen, there needed to be preparation for this in terms of scene and plot work. There was none. So the backstabbing prince hypothesis started gaining more and more credence in my head as the movie went on. The funny thing is, everything the Prince did and showed during the Princess’ voyage of saving the Queen, was sincere, honest, and worthy of an honorable lad. That was, perhaps, an unfair trick they pulled on the children. It causes them to think that all acts of bravery, valour, and honor can be rendered false. When that’s only true at a superficial, social level. Betrayers will always betray themselves, when they think no one is looking. The heart cannot be hidden if you look at a person’s reactions, body language, and decisions.

Btw, I took the ice breaker connection as being a plot continuity necessity due to the intro. I assumed this was the boy pictured in the introduction.

But when there’s no real external threat, it’s extra important to have an interesting internal conflict, which isn’t present here.

The most dangerous and feared threats are internal. In that sense, the Prince made an almost too perfect villain. It’s easy to demonize and de-humanize a monster, an Other, as a villain. But the people humans really fear are the monsters living next to them, the quislings, the changlings, the neighbors that are psychopaths and serial killers, because it forces them to look in the mirror to see the darkness that resides in their soul. This is perhaps not such a good idea to expose children to, but it is a high level “villain” character concept.

Concerning interesting internal conflict, I thought there were quite a substantial amount. I liked the Queen’s internal conflict between what she loves vs what society demands of her. The conflict between a male that supports and protects a woman, vs a male that offers a woman the security of civilization, social status, and wealth was also interesting. Of course they made that a false decision, when they made the Prince out to be a villain but it didn’t have to be that way. It could have just been a competition between the two, where the “best man” wins the love of the woman. That’s perhaps too non-Western and non-US culture based to work this current time though.

We learn that “love” gives her control of the ice. This is nonsensical. She doesn’t love anyone more or less at the end than she did at the beginning. Are they saying she shot her sister at the beginning because she didn’t love her enough?

The Queen actually has enormous control over her powers, since she can make her imagination come true merely by willing it. It’s not so much “control” as “thawing” ice that is a problem. The Queen has been taught from an early period, by her parents, to conceal and hide her powers and to not use them to protect those around her. This was reinforced and sustained even though there were probably better things they could have done over time. This wasn’t realized because the parents died and the siblings had to raise themselves. As a result, her inability to stop feeling and her inability to control her emotions because of not being able to feel and work through them, made her unable to use her powers for love. For one thing, the Queen probably saw her powers as a curse and a threat to the people. She did not see her powers as an act of love, she did not see her powers as a tool to be used to defend the people. Thus she did not use her powers with love and defense in mind. She had the bad experience of either accidentally using her powers to hurt people or losing control of her negative emotions and her powers automatically lashed out as a self defense response. I apply a framework of martial arts and self protection perspective to this aspect. It feels very familiar to me that someone very good at X, might feel threatened that they have this X ability that others lack.

2. When you release your anger, frustration, or other emotions, it may have devastating consequences for others. But as long as you feel a lot of love for those other people, the consequences will just melt away.

The consequences won’t melt away, but atonement and redemption becomes possible only through love. Love and feelings have a higher metaphysical existence than people are led to believe in, due to emphasis on human intelligence. The Left is not an expert on love, emotions, feelings, intuition, intelligence, or education. The Left corrupts whatever they touch and makes it seem nasty and filthy. That means there is a line separating intellect and the heart, but love as a concept itself holds a very high dimensional placement. Emotions and science can be combined at a high level. Just as Creationism can be combined with Evolution. Theories and hypothesis are fundamentally liquid and malleable. It’s up to humans to figure out which is what. In the end, the movie attempted to define love or true love. Whether that’s the right definition or not, I can’t say, but it is a objective definition. It’s at least a hypothesis that can be tested in science. Is (true) love the ability to put other people’s interests and needs, above your own?

With the villainous prince, they’re taking direct shots against movies like Sleeping Beauty, implying that having the hero there and the princess end up together is simplistic and stupid.

The hero was the guy doing the physical things. Which, of course, included the Prince. But the Prince was more of a Prince than a Hero at the end. Not even a Dark Hero would act like that.

No one learns anything and no one is called out for anything they did wrong.

Society thinks that an authoritarian model of calling people out, shaming them, and forcing them to obey will resolve things. That’s one way to look at it. Love, however, being between two independent individuals, is a counter acting force and very anti-authoritarian. The primary objection to romantic love in the Romeo and Juliet days were that the two involved weren’t adults, they weren’t financially independent, and thus could not make decisions for themselves let alone their family’s financial and political futures by marrying based upon love. However, there would have been no objection if that romantic love had rested upon financial, political, or military realities.

For most people, they need to be coerced or forced into doing the right thing. However, for individuals that have achieved enlightenment or independent free will, you can’t force them to do the right thing. It’s not even about whether it’s a good thing or not, they cannot be Forced to Obey. They’d rather die, actually.

“I would rather die having spoken in my manner, than speak in your manner and live. For neither in war nor yet in law ought any man use every way of escaping death. For often in battle there is no doubt that if a man will throw away his arms, and fall on his knees before his pursuers, he may escape death, if a man is willing to say or do anything. The difficulty, my friends, is not in avoiding death, but in avoiding unrighteousness; for that runs deeper than death.”-Socrates before the Athenian death panel

So the ultimate proof of individual free will is what that person chooses to die for, to live for, to kill for.

Authorities can be either good, evil, or neutral. Instead of relying on coercion or force, I’d prefer to rely on mutual cooperation and resolution of shared problems and interests.

Lastly, to conclude, I don’t agree with cursing cute girls. That’s just not something I like to see, nor is it something that I want to see. It’s a good thing that Disney didn’t try to manipulate me with negative emotions and human flaws, such as Battlestar Galactica or other “edge” and dark shows. Because if they did, they wouldn’t get through to me. I would shut them out by destroying their access privileges. I like the movie, not because I prefer a happy ending or because I like the characters. I like the movie because I approve of the methods they used to impact the audience, on an ethical level. American producers and creative artists have not yet become competent at the bitter sweet tragedy that the Japanese have become experts on. So I don’t expect them to do edge, dark, well or to be too “realistic” in their portrayals of human societies. I forgive them on this matter, since if they are very good at the positive portrayal, then there’s no shame in maintaining that skill set.

http://www.bookwormroom.com/2014/01/01/movie-review-disneys-frozen/comment-page-1/#comment-182253

Can be found the full review I was replying to, as well as Bookworm’s review.

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: Movies

6 Comments on “Frozen: Movie Review”

  1. Eidolon Says:

    I enjoyed reading your anime-flavored thoughts on the film. I’ll admit that my disappointment is related to my viewing the film as an attempt to create a Western-style fairy-tale, along the lines of, say, Sleeping Beauty or Snow White. I can see how you would see it differently when viewing it through an Eastern lens.

    To address the last point first, in Sleeping Beauty the castle and everyone in it get cursed because they didn’t invite the witch to a party or wedding or something. In Beauty and the Beast, the Beast gets cursed to be an animal because he behaved like one (don’t remember exactly how or why). I don’t think of those as “dark” or “edgy” stories. What I want is for the characters to have some kind of flaw to overcome so they can have an arc and we can feel catharsis at the end. This is extremely common in, e.g., Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Generally, strife is the result of a bad action by someone, and that bad action will be punished. In the case where the main character is not at fault, as in Cinderella, the bad people are generally punished for making that person’s life difficult at some point. Someone, somewhere, is responsible for the problems that our main characters are experiencing, and therefore there is resolution when they either overcome their flaw or get comeuppance.

    In this film all the characters except two are nice at the beginning and at the end. The older sister doesn’t need to learn to love her sister, she loved her all along; indeed, her isolation was to protect her sister. She was acting out love for her sister all throughout the beginning of the film. To say she just needed to learn to love her sister to control her powers seems silly; that’s what she was doing for the whole first section! She was trying to control her powers because of her love for her sister and the possibility of hurting her. To me, trying to control oneself in order to avoid hurting others is a noble behavior, and ought not to be viewed so negatively.

    There’s an odd element to the film where it seems to be criticizing the parents’ (specifically, the father’s) advice to control her powers, and yet as far as I can tell he was right. When she let go and stopped holding back, though it made her as happy as anything we saw in the film, it caused destruction throughout the land, and she nearly kills her sister again. If the film were better constructed, maybe it could make it clear what it thinks should’ve been told to her instead, but it doesn’t really come across. I guess they should’ve taken her somewhere away from everyone so she could test out her powers? But that would’ve been wildly irresponsible, because of how bad it could be if it went wrong — they could’ve destroyed the whole kingdom. The film seems to say that they were wrong, but it doesn’t seem to suggest anything they should’ve said or done, or at least I don’t see it.

    I suppose one could almost see the ice powers as a stand-in for extreme intelligence, in that they grant power over the world but can also be very alienating from other people, and even hurt them when you don’t intend for them to. It would also fit with the “let it go” song, in that isolating oneself can allow a person to enjoy pursuits that others don’t like or understand, and she spends her time in isolation pursuing creativity and ideas that were apparently in her head but that she couldn’t express before. Then, when others see what sorts of things she enjoys doing by herself, they find those things scary and abnormal. I still don’t think this idea works all the way through, but it fits in with your shut-in idea reasonably well.

    The problem with that is that it would work a lot better for the audience if 1) there wasn’t already someone who wanted to make a connection, i.e. if she had to learn how to connect with others rather than only needing to let someone be close who already wants to be, 2) we spent much time with the older sister so we could get some sense of what she wants and what she’s like instead of having her defined almost entirely by things that happened to her, 3) we weren’t lied to about the magic rules, i.e. the younger sister finding out actually has some kind of negative consequence like we were told it would, so her isolation isn’t rendered pointless, and 4) the film actually had some idea what she should do with herself or what should have been done at the beginning to prevent the bad things that happened.

    The thing is that the films and animes you’re talking about were about isolation and loneliness, and learning to connect with other people. In this film there’s very little of that; we see the older sister rarely, and our main character is the socially well-adjusted sister who gets along with everyone. And really, when the sisters are together they get along fine, when nothing crazy is going on. So it’s just hard to see isolation and trouble connecting with others as what the film is really about. Those films also don’t usually go for the “everything works out perfectly and everyone’s happy” ending, the way Frozen does.

    It would’ve been interesting if the idea of the film was to take the perspective of the more typical person trying to deal with a hikikimori-type person, learning how to deal with them and get to know them on their terms. I would’ve really enjoyed a film like that. This film, however, resolves by making the older sister, essentially, “normal.” She still has her ice powers, but nobody fears them anymore and she is totally socially normal. This is a far too pat ending, if that’s what the movie is supposed to be about. The equivalent ending for your hikikimori film would be for everyone to suddenly appreciate that person’s quirks and no one to think they’re weird for being the way they are, and for them to learn to deal with people just like everyone else, while still enjoying the things that set them apart. That would be a wildly unrealistic ending. It will never be the case that those types of people’s interests will be normal and acceptable to everyone; to some extent I think they choose some of the things they do because they don’t appeal to everyone. And just having them be able to relate socially in a perfectly normal way is oversimplifying too much for me. I can accept that a group of close friends can learn to appreciate them and their interests, but not everyone. No one is scared of the queen who nearly killed them all? Nobody thinks its weird that she has high-level magical powers? (Does that make her a witch? Aren’t those usually evil?) Nobody worries what would happen if she really disliked them? Does this scare neighboring kingdoms, seeing as she could basically wipe them out instantly if she chose to?

    So I feel that it doesn’t work as either Western fairy-tale or Eastern anime-style story. I guess I feel like a lot of the good you see in the film, you brought to it yourself. The things you like and the reasons you like them are totally disjoint with the things other people liked and their reasons. I think the plot is sloppy, I think the rules we’re given aren’t followed and feel hollow, and while I guess there is a little change for the older sister, the film isn’t about that interesting element, it spends most of its time on hi-jinks with the younger sister who doesn’t actually have any internal conflicts or flaws and therefore has nothing interesting going on beyond being a pleasant person.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the film, and I enjoyed seeing your reasons. They were very different than what I expected. Thanks for taking an interest in my criticisms. And sorry this is as long again as what I wrote before. I really turned this film over in my head for a while after watching it.

  2. ymarsakar Says:

    “To say she just needed to learn to love her sister to control her powers seems silly; that’s what she was doing for the whole first section!”

    That’s true of course, but in the intro the troll said something to the effect that fear is her worst enemy. Thus it wasn’t about having emotions. It was about overcoming the fear of her powers via emotions, such as love.

    Emotions can be mixed together for potency. They can cancel each other out. Or cause chaotic interference, such as love and jealousy put together with fear.

    Everyone sees and reacts to an artistic creation differently. Such as the old wise blind men touching parts of an elephant and describing what they think is the reality. If you feel there are major contradictions in the movie, and your mind worries over this, you will construct a negative experience for yourself. This is what it means to break the suspension of belief when looking at a piece of art or entertainment. By doing so, you will create many questions for yourself that probably cannot be answered or resolved, unless you learn more about how the film was made.

    “This is a far too pat ending, if that’s what the movie is supposed to be about. The equivalent ending for your hikikimori film would be for everyone to suddenly appreciate that person’s quirks and no one to think they’re weird for being the way they are, and for them to learn to deal with people just like everyone else, while still enjoying the things that set them apart. That would be a wildly unrealistic ending. It will never be the case that those types of people’s interests will be normal and acceptable to everyone; to some extent I think they choose some of the things they do because they don’t appeal to everyone.”

    Take the example of Chuunibyou, the romance joy story. Also Steins;Gate applies. In both cases, the main characters have certain delusions born of youth, an elevated sense of their own destiny or selves, that can be considered a slightly different reaction to the same issues as a hikikimori. A shut in closes the gates against the world. A chuunibyou patient (cause they see it as a disease), armors themselves in a suit of faith and belief that protects them from external social problems. These were all stories that inevitably had the supposed problem, becoming part of the solution at the end.

    So to apply what you said to the Queen’s powers and situation, the problem here is that she is freezing things she shouldn’t be freezing. And she can’t undo that. If she can avoid using her powers when she wishes to and if she can undo the effects of her powers (not just control the fractal shape and size), then it no longer becomes a social problem. It now becomes a social resource. It’s not really up to society to accept the Queen and her problems; that would be an idea similar to changing the world to fit one’s own personal concepts. What the Queen did was change herself (not her emotions). She changed, not her emotions, but her way of dealing with the issue at hand and learned the key to thawing the ice.

    If a hikikimori learned social skills and how to operate in society, then their home activities no longer become an issue society can say much about. Society only cares about the results, in eliminating threats and nails that stand out. The little sister is the one that cares about what happens to her elder sister. The decisions people make about love and priorities, then, is a strong component of the ending plot sequences.

    Does this scare neighboring kingdoms, seeing as she could basically wipe them out instantly if she chose to?

    You’re reaching for a question you know that cannot be answered. Because you know that it cannot be answered, you feel dissatisfaction. That is what I mean by breaking the suspension of disbelief. It’s not always because of what you see that causes it. It is also a personal choice. We can always break the suspension of disbelief, because the person that experiences the media is the one that suspends their disbelief.

    We live on the planet Earth. I, personally, do not feel dissatisfied about unknown native life force X wiping out stars in Galaxy YXB. I don’t feel dissatisfied that I don’t know the answer to the question one way or another. That’s because when it isn’t necessary, I don’t try to come up with questions that cannot be answered.

    This only invites disharmony. You spend an enormous amount of energy on this, but the more you think, the more chaotic your emotions become. At first, it was just a little something, a curiosity or question you maybe had that you wanted to think on. But the more you pull it around, the greater the cognitive dissonance becomes. But it is not a science or experiment; there’s no way you can experiment with a universe somebody else created. If this was something solved with logick, you could solve it if you work at it long enough. You’d have to be involved in the creation of said universe to solve this particular issue, with that question you raised. Because this is a fictional universe. Whether other countries react or not, is a fictional creation, one that isn’t based upon real world logick because it hasn’t happened on this dimensional plane yet.

    There is a saying in martial arts, where a person who comes for training with expectations and a predesignated concept of what he thinks he is learning, will not learn anything because his cup is too full. If he brings a cup full of tea, and wants to be poured the new tea to drink it, he can’t taste the new tea like this. The cup is full of other stuff. The taste will be contaminated. He needs to empty out his cup, so that the tea can be poured and he can taste it. Then he can compare the tastes together and think on the differences.

    Whether with anime or American movies, expectations of any sort will change your experience. A low expectation might make a good movie surprisingly enjoyable. A high expectation (hype) can make even a moderately average product, seem like a failure.

  3. Jerry Lawson Says:

    As for myself – I was gobsmacked when Anna saved Elsa. I was thinking it was going to be a ‘Okay, thaws Anna, then Anna will save Elsa somehow – but Anna ran from Kristoff when she saw Elsa about to get whacked by Hans, and put herself in the way.

    And melted, due to an act of love.

    This is my #2 movie of the year – the other one is ‘Gravity’ for the sheer beauty of it. (The physics actually sucked large rocks through small straws, but I didn’t much care.” #3 was ‘Ender’s Game’, again, for the visuals.

    BTW, the line … “That’s because when it isn’t necessary, I don’t try to come up with questions that cannot be answered.”?

    Oh, that’s a marvelous quote. May I steal it? It’s so applicable to so many things…

  4. ymarsakar Says:

    Hello, Jerry. If you wish to use them, be my guest.

    I’ve read the book Ender’s Game, but I’m unsure how they adapted it to the movie.

    Also, as a clarification from what I wrote before: I’m only pointing out that a great expenditure of energy should net some benefits. Whether this is a good project or not to invest in, energy wise, is up to the individuals involved, not me.

    In Yin Yang philosophy, too much yang (over extension in energy or attack) can lead to an energy sink and depletion, which results in yin. It’s similar to how a state can exhaust itself in war and then collapse. A human can do similar things. The ancient sages concerned themselves primarily with how to achieve harmony by utilizing energy and life force efficiently. Struggling with the world, attempting to change the world, making the world move to your will, all require extensive investments in energy and will. However, instead of moving a big tree trying to fall on you, it’s a lot easier to change yourself, as in changing your own space-time coordinates. The tree can fall wherever it likes, but the same applies to your own behavior.

  5. Eidolon Says:

    I’ll admit that I got nitpicky there. I get that way when a story isn’t satisfyingly coherent; I have to find concrete examples of what isn’t working. In this case, some of what’s wrong is what’s there, and some of what’s wrong is what isn’t there.

    I think we’re talking about the film in different ways. I agree with you that there are a lot of good things, good ideas, and good characters in the film. What I see is a big pile of mostly good parts, connected loosely and shoddily with some sloppy and lazy writing, and lacking in coherence and theme. There are plenty of good things in there, but they don’t add up to a good movie. In that respect, I would say Tangled is a superior film, because at least parts of it are thematically connected. I don’t think that film adds up to much either, and I’d say the parts of Frozen are better, but the whole doesn’t stand up as well. Basically there are a bunch of good elements which could’ve made a great film, but they’re not brought together by any overarching themes to make a great and coherent whole.

    Let me give a clear and concrete example of something that doesn’t work, that basically destroys the foundation of the film and makes it impossible for anything solid to be built. This is the kind of thing that nagged at me like a thread on a sweater, and when I started pulling the whole thing unraveled.

    You reminded me of the “fear will be her enemy” line from the sage guy; I had forgotten that. So in that early scene, the troll says two things: 1) all memories of magic must be removed from Anna’s mind and she must not know about it anymore, or it’s implied she’ll get sick and/or die, and 2) “fear will be [Elsa’s] enemy.”

    I have no problem with the wise sage character, it’s a fine trope and we all enjoy it. But imagine if someone said the following: “Watch out, on November 27th next year a car will hit you when you’re crossing the street, so try to stay inside that day. Also, it’s going to rain a week from today at 3pm.”

    If it fails to rain a week from today at 3pm, the other claim is suspect, is it not? All our main characters spent decades of their lives acting specifically due to the troll’s advice that Anna not know about Elsa’s magic. But when tested, it turned out to be flatly false. This is a huge deal! The characters did a huge amount of what they did on the assumption that the troll knew what he was talking about, and he was completely wrong! Therefore, his other statement about fear being Elsa’s enemy is suspect at best. Yet no one acknowledges this, no one feels betrayed, no one blames him for his stupidity screwing up their whole lives, and they go to him again later and no one seems to realize how badly he messed up before.

    Furthermore, not only was he wrong, he was wrong in exactly the way he told them to watch out for — he prescribes a treatment that turns out to be absurdly, hysterically excessive for the problem, i.e. that goes way too far due to the fear that a less extreme treatment might not work. It nearly ruins all four of their lives, essentially due to the troll guy’s fear that Anna would die if she found out, when finding out had no ill effects on her whatsoever. So it’s kind of like he said “obesity will be your enemy. Also, make sure you eat at least half a pound of sweets every day to treat your other condition, to be on the safe side.” If he didn’t create the fear he certainly made it a huge amount worse.

    And even then, “fear” is not her enemy. “Fear” is not what caused the problem in the first place. What caused the problem is a lack of control, and not restraining herself in order to safeguard others. Until Mr. Troll got involved, nobody said anything about her not using her powers. Perhaps her parents would’ve had her train with them and figure out how to use her magic without being dangerous, if it weren’t for the troll. I don’t even know how to react to a story where the “wise sage” character actually causes most of the problems for the characters and it’s not dealt with or acknowledged in any way by the film. I guess the film does have a character who’s at fault for all the bad things that happen.

    There are plenty of other major issues, but this makes it impossible for the film to be great. Nothing about its foundation makes sense or is coherent; fear will be her enemy, but she’s only fearful because of the advice of the guy who said that fear will be her enemy. And fear isn’t really her enemy, except insofar as she believed the troll’s bad advice. She has legitimate reason to be concerned about the effects her powers could have on other people, as we see. It’s not fear in general that’s the problem; she really should have a healthy fear of hurting others with her enormous magic power that she doesn’t have much control of and the very existence of which could kill her sister. Indeed, the initial problem is caused by Elsa’s lack of fear of her magic causing Anna to be injured; if she had been more respectful of the kind of damage it could do, the problem would never have happened. So more “fear” would appear to be the solution in that case.

    When you say something like “fear is your enemy” in a movie, the character needs to be given some alternative that makes sense. The alternative given in this movie is “love.” These things are not really opposed; Elsa’s fear is that she will hurt Anna, and stems from her love. It’s also well-founded, as we see that Elsa is unable to hold anything for long without freezing it, which might kill a person. There’s room here for a bit of a “we can’t fear love; we will hurt others, it can’t be avoided, but if we do our best to safeguard other people we can be close to them, and they’ll be okay in the end” message, but that’s not really what happens.

    Embracing her sister, and having the warmth of contact with another person oppose the fear in her heart would have been fine. But it’s not established that that’s how things work here. Elsa never learns to control her powers (aside from just letting them out to do whatever when no one is around), until suddenly she has complete control because she embraced Anna. But she embraced Anna after she was frozen! There was no possibility that she could make it worse, and thus no risk! She isn’t embracing the idea that she has to make contact with her sister, she’s just mourning her death. It just doesn’t work.

    What would’ve really made for a great scene would be a scene where Elsa has to hold Anna’s hand, perhaps holding onto her so she won’t fall or something, and she discovers that by embracing human contact it makes her more able to control her power, as opposed to holding it back with sheer force of will and fear of harm like she had been doing before. That would’ve made more sense, and would’ve been far better. As it is, she embraces someone who should couldn’t possibly hurt with her ice, and somehow that makes her less afraid to embrace people that she can hurt with her ice. It just doesn’t work as any sort of symbolism or theme, because it was written poorly.

    I think what you talked about is great. I’d love to see a movie that had themes and ideas in it like what you talked about. Unfortunately, you’re reading them all into the film. You shouldn’t give a film credit for things that aren’t actually in it.

  6. ymarsakar Says:

    “All our main characters spent decades of their lives acting specifically due to the troll’s advice that Anna not know about Elsa’s magic.”

    As Book noted, the common sense interpretation is that the Queen can’t hide her magick if her sister keeps asking her to use it (or start babbling about it to the servants). They were both children and the younger one seems impulsive. It was the decision of the parents to keep the secret as they did, the troll did not tell them they had to execute a solution like that. Which didn’t really turn out to be a solution, more like a band aid. There’s some free will involved here. The troll isn’t puppet mastering the old Queen and King using magick or other nefarious tools.

    Basically in the end, if a story doesn’t work for you, make it better by writing or creating something you like. Because if you keep thinking that somebody else’s creative construction doesn’t work, that only applies to your own personal view. If you can’t change your own view, and you can’t change the view of the creative artist’s, and you can’t change the view of other people who it worked for, then you can only create something of your own.

    People on youtube are creating all kinds of self made, minecraft like, sandboxy entertainment for themselves, by themselves, shared to the community. And maybe making money too, as with some Starcraft 2 casters.

    “You shouldn’t give a film credit for things that aren’t actually in it.”

    See, that’s where you are placing your own values on other people. That crosses the line dividing your house from my home. Which definitely won’t work. What is in a movie is what I decide is in it. Part of it is also what the creators decide is in it for me to experience, but the other side, the majority, is what I choose to do with it. What doesn’t affect my experience is what anyone else thinks about it, including you.

    The only one that can tell me what I should do with a film is me and the film’s creators. Everybody else simply does not exist. While that may seem harsh, it is a fundamental principle I operate under. I don’t believe in hype nor do I allow social propaganda to control my thoughts. Everyone can get along, until it’s time to decide who needs to be kicked off the island/boat.

    What this also means is what I see and experience literally has nothing to do with your experiences. What you should take away from this, though, is that there are other people who experience a movie or abstract art differently than you. And you cannot change that experience, you cannot change the way the directors created the movie. You only have the power to change yourself or to create something more to your liking. The more you deny that there exists valid different interpretations and real experiences vis a vis the movie, the more you trap yourself into thinking the problem is with the world (the movie and its creators) and the more you fall into the pit of negativity and helplessness when you realize you can’t do anything about it. All you end up doing is trusting in “hope”, that someone makes a movie that you like. That is not the kind of hope I would want in a healthy life.

    Changing the world is something only for madmen, omnipotent gods, demi gods, or sages to consider. When I didn’t like how Hollywood was making movies, I went and changed myself to learn Japanese and watch anime, read visual novels, and understand Japanese culture.

    You may have noticed by now that when I talk about reviews, I’m not here to convince people of my viewpoint. I literally do not care whether they agree with me or not. That’s because if they want to give credit to someone for an experience they like or dislike, that’s up to them. I don’t try to convince or make them give or not give approval. But the same is true for me. You and other people, cannot make me give or refuse to give credit to a creative artist I like or hate. That may work on weaker individuals that like social approval and to “get along”, but against certain individuals it backfires and has the opposite effect.

    You noticed before that my experience with the movie comes at a large cost due to who I am. Thus trying to get me to refuse to give credit for an artist that gave me an experience I could interface well with, is either trying to change the artist’s creation or trying to change me. That’s all you are doing, trying to change the world and the people/constructs in it. And I’m telling you it won’t work, no matter how long you stick with this approach. Not until you gain mind control and the slave powers of a puppetmaster at least, then it’ll work. Most people on the internet follow the crowd, so they are just like normal people in life. But the assumptions people make with those under the influence of popular culture, shouldn’t be applied here to me. I’m not the same as other people who dislike Hollywood movies, but want Hollywood to make them their favorite goodies. People should take that alien framework and perspective in mind.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: