Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The New Year's Resolution Concludes

This is it everyone....I have made it to the end of a long journey. There have been highs and there have been lows but all in all it's been a worthwhile experience. I have finally accomplished something that I have wanted to do for years now. It feels pretty fantastic.

Unfortunately my run of Disney movies ends on a rather flat note. I wish with all of my heart that my last post for the year could have been about Wreck-It-Ralph but sadly Disney came out with a new movie about a month ago.....Frozen. Going to see that movie was supposed to be my reward to myself for finishing finals, instead that role had to be filled by The Secret World of Walter Mitty (which I HIGHLY recommend to all you people out there) due to just how disappointing Frozen was.

*Sigh* Let's finish this off.....

I'm becoming increasingly more aware that a large amount of my friends did not grow up reading fairy tales. As for me, that is more or less all I read from the ages of 5 to 12 and one of my all time favorite stories is Hans Christian Anderson's "The Snow Queen". Frozen is loosely (and I use the term "loosely" VERY loosely) based off of this wonderful and beloved classic tale of love and devotion between children. There are perhaps two allusions to "The Snow Queen" in Frozen: the fact that there is a queen who has "winter powers" and a very abstract reference made to the Goblin mirror that makes good things appear bad and if a sliver of this mirror becomes lodged in your heart your heart will turn into ice. The whole time I was watching this movie the thought kept running through my head "You know what'd be cool? If this movie was 'The Snow Queen.'" I do make a hearty effort to not compare a movie to a book in most cases, but this movie is such an injustice to its source material that it makes me sad to think so many people are probably going to consider Anderson's original story to be a lot more similar to the convoluted story that Disney made up.

You should really read "The Snow Queen." I insist you read it. Your lives will be enriched by doing so.

That being said, here are my actual grievances with Frozen:

1.  WAY underdeveloped characters. Our Snow Queen has one personality trait: she's afraid. Her sister also has one personality trait: she's happy-go-lucky/super naive. Kristoff has one personality trait: he loves his pet reindeer (he has a few other half developed traits but they aren't developed enough to name them). Hans is possibly the most underdeveloped villain I have come across. And what purpose does that talking snowman serve?? Oh that's right, he's in it because every Disney princess has an annoying animal sidekick. Since the reindeer isn't that annoying I guess a secondary sidekick had to be added and I know! Instead of making him an animal let's make him a snowman! That's unique and clever!

Also, I don't know if the script writer doesn't have sisters/has never seen how sisters interact with each other but I have three sisters and I think it's safe to say that if two sisters hadn't spoken to nor seen one another in like ten years they would not so easily let bygones be bygones and forget all about the awkwardness of the past ten years. Nor would one sister have such unwavering faith that the other sister "is a good person." Why is that idea so unbelievable? BECAUSE THEY HAVEN'T SPOKEN TO EACH OTHER IN TEN YEARS!!!!!! I wouldn't so easily believe my sister to be a good person because at this point she'd be a practical stranger to me.

I have so many other things to say about this point but I can already feel myself getting on a rant about it so I'm going to move on.

2. The most awkward segues into musical numbers I have ever encountered and a myriad of musical styles that don't fit into the style of the movie. The movie opens with this really ominous and moody song that is actually wicked awesome but then the rest of the movie's theme is all cheery roses. It makes for an awkward juxtaposition. After that every time there was a musical number it took me by surprise and made me go "oh, I guess singing is happening now." Not to mention every song, without exception, did nothing to progress the narrative. Since Snow White Disney has always had the philosophy that music should be there to move the story along and that a song should not be included just for the sake of having a song. Well, I think for the first time ever Disney went back on their philosophy because every musical number completely disrupted the flow of the story. It was like the pause button kept being pressed so that someone in the audience could perform a special musical number and once the play button was pressed again you had to take a moment to remember what you were watching.

This point also lines up well with my issue about underdeveloped characters. Elsa sings a song at one point called "Let It Go" (and by the way, the ending song in Meet the Robinsons is also called by the same title....way to recycle Disney). This song is supposed to be about liberation, about not being afraid any more, and about accepting yourself. So Elsa sings this song and builds a huge ice palace and changes her outfit (which is another issue that I have) and in her very next scene she's all like "Nobody come near me! I'm so afraid of myself!" So that song more or less accomplished nothing and instead of being a great moment to build the character and give her some added depth it's just there so that some Disney channel wanna-be pop star can sing it in the special features on the DVD.

3. Too many unresolved issues and a plot that takes the easy way out. Ok, so even if this movie wasn't "The Snow Queen" like it should have been, it could have still been a great movie if they just focused it a little bit. Cut out the double love plot, get rid of the trolls and the snowman and just focus on the relationship and reconciliation between two estranged sisters and this could have been a really great movie. Instead they just have an "all is forgiven!" moment at the end and that's that. No. Bad family relationships are not solved that way. Families need time to talk things out, to say "I'm sorry." A lot of animosity can build up over years and years of not talking and to just brush it off in one scene at the end of the movie trivializes the problems. Nothing is really resolved, it's just covered up for the moment.

4. Miscellaneous issues: This movie was made to sell merchandise to little girls. Considering the lack of substance to the plot and the use of almost every Disney princess cliche in the book there is only one purpose to this movie: merchandising.

Elsa's transformation dress. As mentioned above I have a big issue with this dress. Apparently having a slit in your dress that goes up to your thigh and swaying your hips a lot more noticeably when you walk equates to liberation because that's the only difference there is to Elsa after that dress appears on her. Also, what is that dress made out of? Is it ice? Is is snow? Because last I checked Elsa only had "winter powers." She doesn't have "seamstress powers" (although I would be VERY jealous of her if she did) and she isn't a fairy godmother.....so what's holding that dress together? It's obviously some type of fabric because she's wearing it at the end of the movie when it's summer again and there isn't some snow flurry following her around to make sure it doesn't melt off her body.

Seriously guys, that dress bothers me.

Ok, so I have a lot of other issues with this movie but if I keep going this is going to turn a lot more ranty than it already is so I'm going to leave it at that.

To conclude my Disney movie experience: I have learned that Disney is not infallible. They have always made bad movies and they will continue to make bad movies but enough of them are good enough to make up the difference.

There are 10 Disney movies that feature a book opening up as a way to begin the story.

There are 10 Disney movies that feature a princess (not including Mulan who is not a princess but has been inducted into the official princess roster).

There are 26 Disney movies that are about talking animals.

There are 4 Disney movies that are musical compilation movies.

Only 2 of the movies on the official Disney canon are sequels.

Hunchback of Notre Dame and Pinocchio are my first and second favorite Disney movies. After that I can't decide.

Well everyone, it's been a fun year of ranting about/enjoying a myriad of Disney movies. I hope you've enjoyed ready my opinions as much as I've enjoyed sharing them. Next year I'm going to attempt to watch all of the Studio Ghibli and Pixar films. Hopefully it'll be as enjoyable as watching all of the Disney animated movies was.

Until then; Happy New Year!

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