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Disney's Frozen: An unexpected yet delightful message in a wonderful family film

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Disney's Animated Film, Frozen

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or perhaps a snowball) the last few months, you’ve heard and likely seen the new Disney movie Frozen. Being a huge fan of Disney movies myself, my daughter and I headed out the day it released to check it out at a morning showing.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect—Disney hadn’t done too much to market it and the previews I saw only showed a cute interaction between the jolly snowman Olaf and the adorable reindeer Sven. So without knowing much about the movie, I took my five-year-old daughter to the showing. And guess what?

I loved it.

I was in awe of the animation, the music, and of course, the plot-twister.

In most Disney movies, we can pretty much guess what happens: girl meets boy, girl falls in love with boy, girl marries boy. Okay, sure, we get it, we’ve seen it play out a thousand times over. However, in Disney’s Frozen, we all get a huge slap in the face—and we LIKED it.

(Spoiler alert!)

As much as we all loved Hans at the beginning, his betrayal to Anna caught everyone off guard. When Hans was about to deliver the kiss of true love—or so we thought—and failed to do so, a gasp went through the theater. Someone even broke the silence with an, “Oooooh, snap!” Just when we thought Hans was going to passionately kiss Anna to help thaw her frozen heart and save her life, we see the real him.

Come to find out, he is 13th in line to the throne. He decided to convince the naïve and desperate Anna to marry him so he could take over the castle, make Elsa look like the villain, abolish her, and save the kingdom—so he could take all the credit and have the control he so desperately desires. Then, after the jerk has revealed his true intentions, he leaves her locked in a room to die from her frozen heart.

Now many might be concerned about the message here. Some reviews online reported the dislike for the message as they felt the plot twist was unnecessary and might be hurtful to the happy and positive expectations of their children.

Seriously?

I say BRAVO, Disney. Bravo.

Instead of sending out messages to our kids that you can fall head-over-heels in love in a day (think back to The Little Mermaid and Cinderella), for once Disney nailed it. Instead, Disney decided to show little girls that life isn’t always rainbows and unicorns and fairy tale weddings. Disney finally said, “Hey, sometimes people can betray you. Sometimes people aren’t who you think they are.” And that, my friends, is an awesome and realistic message we should be sending our kids. People may have certain expectations of others and may be let down. People may use you and betray you. And you know what?

That’s life.

Thank you, Disney, for bringing all of us the message of REALITY.

Additionally, another message that comes across in many old-fashioned Disney movies (and even many modern films such as Tangled), is that every woman needs a man to save her. Of course, that’s what we expected to happen with Anna and Hans: Hans would give her a kiss, thaw Anna’s heart, and they’d live happily ever after—giving Hans all the credit for saving her life.

I love that Disney put the kibosh on that nonsense, too.

Come to find out, love CAN come from somewhere else. Love can come from family. In the end, Anna steps out to save her sister Elsa from Hans, and this in turn thaws her frozen heart. An act of true love doesn’t always have to come from a handsome prince’s kiss—it can come from yourself and can be familial.

Again: Bravo, Disney. Bravo.

Some reviewers have complained about the all-too-feminist message set forth in the song, “Let it Go,” that near the end Elsa becomes yet another sexual stereotype as she lets her hair down (literally) and glams herself up with a glittery gown and stunning high heels. Let’s not over think this. It’s okay for women—and little girls—to want to be beautiful, and this is just a representation of how Elsa finally felt like she could be herself regardless of her so-called “flaw.”

Others have criticized Disney’s animation, complaining that the size of the wrists are smaller than their eyes. Really, guys? When did we become so aware of body proportions in animated movies? Many characteristics are overemphasized in cartoons including big chins (Mr. Incredible), large hands (Wreck-It Ralph), and let’s not forget Mike Wazowski’s oversized eyeball!!! *gasp*

Of course, this Disney movie has a few commonalities with other movies, such as the killing off of the parents (I believe this happened within the first 15 minutes or so of the movie) but hey, we’re pretty used to orphaned children in Disney movies at this point in time. It’s par for the course.

Aside from what anyone else thinks, the messages in Disney’s Frozen are amazing. They step outside the box and while some other reviewers were unhappy to see the unusual Disney themes, I applaud Disney for taking a dramatic leap outside the traditional princess story line and taking the road less traveled.

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