Frozen – This was the highest-grossing animated film of all time, but Beth and I didn’t get around to watching it until last night. The idea was originally to make a movie based on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” but apparently they couldn’t get it to work, so instead we got a film that only slightly resembles the fairy tale. Disney usually takes liberties with the source material, but here the only real connections are that there’s a queen with frigid magic who lives in an ice palace, someone has an injury to their heart, and a reindeer helps out the protagonist. I’ve also read that the names of the characters Hans, Kristoff, Anna, and Sven were intentionally supposed to combine into Andersen’s full name, or at least a semblance of it. The plot involves the sisters Elsa and Anna, Princesses of Arendelle, a kingdom based on Norway. When Elsa accidentally injures Anna with her ice magic, the trolls not only cure her, but remove the memory of her sister’s powers entirely.
Anna teams up with the ice merchant Kristoff and his reindeer Sven, as well as the living snowman Olaf, to travel to her castle and try to talk some sense into Elsa. Sven was apparently modeled on actual reindeer, but there’s a hint of dogginess to him as well, which seems to be the standard for large animals functioning as pets in cartoons.
Maximus in Tangled was much the same way. While an antagonist of sorts, Elsa is frustrated and unable to control her powers rather than actually evil. Instead, the more villainous role is given to some coronation guests who initially seem friendly, the old Duke of Weselton and a handsome prince named Hans. The latter pretends to fall in love with Anna in a plot to take over the kingdom (he’s motivated by having twelve older brothers, hence no change of gaining power in his own homeland), and doesn’t reveal his true ambitions until fairly late in the film. I’m not entirely sure why he insists on keeping Elsa alive until Anna returns, only to try to kill he immediately after, but I guess it’s so he can claim he’s gotten married to Anna. Mind you, there’s no marriage certificate, so his claim is rather desperate anyway. When Elsa inadvertently freezes Anna’s heart, the trolls tell her that only an act of love will thaw it. This being a Disney film, the characters initially think the cure would have to be True Love’s Kiss (I wonder if they’ve taken out a trademark on that term). There’s a subversion, however, with the act turning out to be Anna defending Elsa when Hans tries to kill her. There’s more than one kind of true love, after all. Elsa then gets a handle of her powers, and things end happily. Even Olaf’s self-destructive wish to see summer turns out to be feasible, as Elsa gives him his own personal flurry to keep him intact. I appreciate that, while it had a traditional fairy tale structure in many respects, they purposely went against expectations for some aspects. Anna herself has kind of a more modern personality, being adorably awkward as is the fashion these days.
I’ve noticed that the Netflix editions of Disney animated films are inconsistent in what extras they have, with some including deleted scenes and theatrical shorts, and others being quite bare bones. I don’t know whether this is just Netflix, or some of the Disney movies were actually released without the additional material. This disc did include “Get a Horse!”, the short originally shown with the movie in theaters. It’s a tribute to old Disney cartoons with a twist, as it has the characters breaking out of the film and into a movie theater, which results in their gaining color. Mickey Mouse’s voice was actually sampled from older recordings of Walt Disney himself; fortunately the short wasn’t dialogue-heavy. Also included were four different music videos of “Let It Go,” none of them actually performed by Idina Menzel. The English version had Demi Lovato singing it, and the others were in Spanish, Italian, and Malaysian.
I’m hoping we’ll be able to see Big Hero 6 while it’s still in theaters, and that will be it as far as the canonical Disney animated features go. Maybe next we’ll watch the Pixar movies or something. Oh, and contrary to the post title, the cold HAS been bothering me recently.