Almost everyone of my friends has a favorite Disney movie they watched when growing up. I’ve talked to both male and female friends where the classic princess movies fall under their favorites category. Disney’s latest film, Frozen, has gathered much attention, including an Oscar nomination for best animated feature and best original song (“Let It Go”). So what’s all the fuss with this Disney movie?
Yes, I have heard people constantly praising how amazing the song “Let It Go” is. So the music is definitely one major selling point. And casting two Broadway stars (Idina Menzel & Jonathan Groff) was definitely a wise choice considering the music.
But what has really stuck out to me and many people was the new take on “an act of true love.” Of course, this notion that true love saves on has existed since the first of Disney’s films. Snow White is saved by true love’s kiss as is Sleeping Beauty. In fact the need to be “saved” is quite common in almost all of Disney’s films concerning princesses. This is why Brave was such a milestone for Disney because it had a protagonist who fought for herself and her own freedom as opposed to someone fighting to save her. And yet I feel like people have been obsessing over what Frozen means for the future of Disney more so than what Brave did.
The reason for this is because Brave was so different from what people are used to of a Disney princess movie. The difference ranged from music to production design. So many people are stuck on loving Frozen because it reminds them of the movies they used to watch as a child. And that’s why Frozen is a promising step in the evolution of Disney films.
First, there is not one but two princesses, both of whom have strong character arcs and intriguing objectives. At the end of the day, although the protagonist and younger sister (Anna) has always longed for a guy, all of her actions in the play are directed at her sister. The story is about the changing relationship between two sisters with a love story thrown into the mix.
When I was younger, I remember one of my friends telling me that Aladdin was her favorite Disney movie because you actually met the prince rather then them just coming in at the end. And I think that’s another reason why Frozen has been so successful- all of the characters are developed and have intriguing relationships between one another.
Even with all the positive commentary on the film, there are still critics who think Anna still ends up falling in love with someone she just met, and that love story is quite prominent throughout the film. I agree that this is a valid point to make in that Disney still felt the need to put that love storyline in there.
Talking about the need for the audience to see a traditional love story in Disney movies is a separate topic, but the development of Frozen as a widely successful Disney film in combination with the recent Brave exemplifies how Disney is evolving to create stories with more developed characters, relationships, and overall plot.