Today, I saw ‘Frozen’ with 4 kids ages 4 – 11, and we all loved it. The second it ended, my oldest daughter asked if we could go see it again, tomorrow. When I said no, she said maybe she could go with her aunt. All the kids couldn’t stop talking about how cool the “ice queen” is (ha ha, but those are their words.) The Queen is my favorite character in the movie too, and I can’t think of a Disney story with a female hero– not villain– that powerful and magical. The Snow Queen’s name is Elsa, and I wish she were in the movie more. I still wish the damn movie was titled for her.
I blogged on Reel Girl about how pissed off I was with the tactics Disney used to adapt the story— struck the powerful female from the title, changed the plot so the heroine doesn’t rescue a boy, elevates males to costars, and leaves out the female stars from the first preview. Matters were made worse when the movie’s head animator said it was difficult to make female characters show anger differently and challenging also since girls have to be pretty. Of course, all this comes from a company that has been marginalizing female characters, presenting them as a minority and sticking them into supporting roles, only glorifying them in a limited way when they are princesses.
I look forward to the day when Disney markets a movie with a female protagonist by putting her name in the title, placing her front and center on the posters around town, and making it obvious in the preview that she’s the star. Marketing is its own media and too often, as with “Frozen,” Disney’s presentation is sexist. Girls go missing. But, still, the actual movie is really good.
“Frozen” has a princess, but it also has a Queen. The princess, Anna, is a good character too. She rescues the man in love with her at least twice. The “true love” in this story is about sisterhood, not romance. But another thing I liked about the movie is that Anna is not in an either/ or situation that so many female characters are: be strong or be in love. Just like a guy character, Elsa gets to have it all.
Is the movie perfect? No way. If I were head of Disney, my Snow Queen movie would be completely different. Besides all the great plot points and characters missing from the original, I hated the Barbie look of Elsa. If you were in a snow palace in the mountains, all alone no less, would you wear heels? A dress, slit to your thigh? I felt like I was watching a doll, to the point that at times, she was painful to see. Elsa and Anna do seem too much alike physically. Also, if you were a Martian and you saw “Frozen,” you would still think females are in the minority. In spite of two female protagonists, there are many scenes in the movie where male characters far outnumber females, including scenes with no females at all. There are no scenes with multiple females and no males.
In spite of these complaints, the movie is the best animated one I’ve seen this year for female characters. There is no question that this narrative belongs to Elsa and Anna. It’s an adventure with smart, brave heroines who may look the same but act differently. Most of all, I was thrilled that my kids got to experience a magical female learning how to use her power. Can we please have some more of that, Disney?
Reel Girl rates “Frozen” ***HH***