What if an alien in the future stumbled upon Frozen? Welcome to Earthling Cinema, where we examine the last remaining artifacts of a once-proud culture and try to understand what human lives were like before their planet was destroyed. I’m your host, Garyx Wormuloid.
Directors: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Stars: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff
Production Co: Walt Disney Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures
Written by: Ben Steiner
Analysis & Directed by: Jared Bauer
Starring: Mark Schroeder (https://twitter.com/mark_schroeder)
Edited by: Ryan Hailey
Original Music by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Opening Animation by: Danny Rapaport
Producer & Additional Artwork by: Jacob S. Salamon
Frozen’s Hidden Meaning – Earthling Cinema
Greetings, and welcome to Earthling Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is Frozen, which won an Academy Award for its chart-topping song “Let It Be,” by the Beatles.
The film follows a princess who suffers from a rare human condition called unexplained mutant ice powers. Her name is Elsa, but her it might as well be Milkshake, because she gives her little sister Anna brainfreeze.
Their parents take Anna to the emergency room to get her a lobotomy. Elsa worries that the lobotomy might be contagious, so she hides in her room for the rest of the decade.
Satisfied that they have done a good job raising their children away from any kind of school or social interaction, the parents go on vacation and die. And after waiting around doing nothing for three years in a kingdom ruled by no one, Elsa becomes queen. But her name might as well be Queen Milkshake, because she brings all the boys to the yard. Anna meets a prince named Hans, and they decide to get married after two conversations, which is their right as heterosexuals. Anna asks Elsa to save the date, but she refuses.
As a preemptive strike against anyone calling her Milkshake again, Elsa runs away. She builds herself a new castle with central A/C, casting the land in eternal winter. Anna chases after her and leaves Hans in charge, even though he’s been there for what, a few hours? Do they seriously not have any royal advisors who could step in?
In any case, Anna meets another conventionally attractive, age-
appropriate guy named Kristoff, who agrees to risk his life taking her up the mountain in exchange for a carrot. Along the way, they meet Olaf, Elsa’s illegitimate son, who shows them the way to Elsa’s castle.
Anna asks Elsa to come back, which is basically Elsa’s biggest pet peeve, so she zaps Anna again and has her new boyfriend kick them to the proverbial curb. Kristoff takes Anna back to the emergency room, where the on-call physician explains that Anna’s heart has been frozen with a capital F, and can only be thawed by an “act of true love,” like when someone doesn’t throw away this month’s Quarks Illustrated before you’re done reading it, Karen. Kristoff drops Anna off back home so Hans can give her a little C12-H22-O11.
But Hans doesn’t want to give her a little anything because of cooties. Turns out he’s the bad guy and just wants the throne, so he locks up Elsa for treason and Anna for symmetry. Olaf helps Anna escape, and tells her to go kiss Kristoff instead, since kissing is all she’s good for anyway. She figures what the hell, but then she sees Elsa is in trouble, so performs an “act of true love” on her instead, and not in a gross way, Karen. And just like Huey Lewis, Elsa realizes the power of love, which makes her suddenly able to reverse the winter and prove once and for all that it’s hip to be square.
Frozen is a musical about the dueling properties of two of Earth’s most cherished elements — a song of ice and fire if you will. Heck, I don’t know why you wouldn’t. Anna is associated with fire, which indicates warmth and passion. She has fiery red hair and freckles, or sunspots, on her shoulders, which she should really get checked out, just to be safe. She uses fire as a weapon against the horse attack. When Hans reveals to Anna that he only wants her for her nobility, he extinguishes a fire, thereby extinguishing the passion Anna had for him.
Elsa is associated with ice — she is cold and rational, and thinks the answer to life is to inhibit her feelings, and on our planet, she wouldn’t be wrong, since feelings are punishable by death. She isolates herself, trading in her traditional garb for a revealing, skin tight, transparent dress — and all on a shoestring budget. It suggests liberation, perhaps even sexual liberation, but at what cost?
It is only by embracing the love of her sister that Elsa can find real fulfillment, and the happiness that comes with social solidarity, or from a good piece of chocolate. The movie seems to suggest that independence is a mistake, which falls in line with Disney’s typical mob mentality.
All people require connection, so a
solitary person is considered incomplete and in need of “fixing.” As the medical staff says, “We need each other to fix us up and round us out.” Easy for them to say, they’re already round.
However, Frozen is progressive in that the heroes’ redemption arrives in the form of sisterly love, rather than that of a charming prince or frog or whatever. The adage of “love at first sight,” as evidenced by the courtship of Prince Hans, is proven to be as trivial and misguided as Karen. And even with a promising suitor such as Kristoff, there is no definitive “wedding.” They take it slow. Mmm, so slow.
Another recurring motif is the door, something humans used when they were too tired to phase through the wall. The film begins with the two princesses stuck in a kingdom with closed gates. And of course there’s the door separating the sisters throughout their weirdly uneventful childhood. Once she becomes a homeowner, Elsa brags about how she’ll handle solicitors. Anna later solicits her to do the opposite.
One of the final lines of the film is “I like the open gates. We’re never closing them again”. The subtext here is clear: Elsa won’t shut her sister out anymore, and the kingdom will be forever susceptible to attack.
For Earthling Cinema, I’m Garyx Wormuloid. Stay warm!