Disney’s first-time female-directed feature animation by Jennifer Lee has audiences, especially women, warming up to the story of Frozen this winter.
The fairytale spin-off of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, invites us to the city of Arendelle, where sisters Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) become the first Disney princesses in the franchise who have a happily-ever-after without falling into the arms of a handsome prince.
Heiress to the throne, Elsa is made Queen after the untimely death of her parents during a shipwreck. As a child she realised she was born with beautiful yet insidious magical powers over ice and snow – a power her parents told her to ‘conceal don’t feel’.
She is provoked by her frustrated younger sister Anna, who, after meeting the gorgeous Prince Hans (Christian Andersen) at the Coronation Ball, falls in love with him and seeks her sister’s blessing for marriage.
This conjures up the storm inside Elsa, who inadvertently reveals her cold curse to all her guests on the evening of her Coronation. Frightened by its force, she runs away, leaving Arendelle trapped in an eternal winter and becomes what other than completely frozen.
The fate of the kingdom is then left in the untrained but optimistic hands of Anna, who ventures out to find Elsa – who has escaped to the North Mountain – and bring back summer.
On her quest, she meets the ‘ice man’ Kristoff (Jonathon Groff), his reindeer Sven, and summer-loving snowman, Olaf (Josh Gradd). During a bumpy start on their sleigh ride to Elsa’s mountain, Kristoff is startled when he learns that Anna got engaged to Hans.
Kristoff: [Interrupts Anna]”Wait, you got engaged to someone you just met that day?”
Anna: “Yeah. Anyway I got mad and so she got mad and then she tried to walk away and I grabbed her glove…
Kristoff: [Interrupts Anna] “Hang on, you mean to tell me you got engaged to someone you just met that day?”
It seems Disney’s attempt at redeeming themselves against the feminist backlash with previous Princess movies has finally reached an echelon with this more evolved or somewhat anti-love-at-first-sight fairytale.
With the help of sprightly snowman Olaf and fixer-upper Kristoff, Anna finds Elsa, who reacts to her sister’s persistent requests to return home by striking Anna, so condemning her to a slow death by freezing. That is, unless she can be rescued by an act of true love – presumably from Hans?
Anna returns to the castle only to find that Hans’s feelings for her were merely a ploy to assassinate the sisters, so he could usurup the throne and become King of Arandelle.
At this point, the audience might assume that Kristoff, therefore, will be the one to lift the cold curse inflicted upon Anna. But wait – there’s a feminist flipside.
There is no kiss of true love in Frozen, but certainly an act of true love – one finally revealed by Queen Elsa – which saves the kingdom in order that *everybody* in Arandelle can live happily ever after.