As a doting Granny, who uses the box in the corner of the lounge to recover from the delight of having the grandchildren to stay, I generally snuggle up on the settee alongside them to watch. So over the years I’ve seen a fair spread of animated films on offer – and am frankly scratching my head over Frozen’s runaway success.
So it had a heroine… And? So have a whole bunch of others – Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Belle in Beauty in the Beast, Rapunzel in Tangled, Cinderella… Snow White… But – this heroine is different I heard them rave on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour. She isn’t spending her time mooning over some soppy Prince – she’s on a mission to find her sister because it is all about the relationship between her and her sister. Oh really? I felt that strand of the plotline was very much on the edge of what was actually going on within the film. For starters, the real story should have revolved around Elsa, the older sister – the one with the curse, rather than the ditsy younger sister. Watching Anna, scratching at a closed door, whining to be let in had me fidgeting and looking at my watch. Whereas Merida, the feisty Scottish princess in Brave is so much more enjoyable, opinionated and headstrong – and she isn’t flirting with some fur-clad hunk half the film, either.
I also thought there were far too many songs in Frozen and most of them were drearily tuneless. But where I really felt let down, was the absence of originality in the themes. The sister fall out over a man – so much for teaching our youngsters that lurve isn’t the lynchpin of their existence… While Brave examines the relationship between mother and daughter in a far more meaningful manner and we see how Merida compensates after an early close encounter with danger, by proving that she is as fearless and skilled as her father. While her mother, knowing that the price for being a princess is being married off to secure alliances, is trying to mould her headstrong daughter into being an efficient housekeeper and dutiful wife… And may I add – there isn’t much talk about lurve, but a lot about duty and doing what is expected of a princess.
As for the comedy – Frozen comes up with an idiotic snowman whose slapstick capers had the four year old giggling – but the older children weren’t particularly amused. Compare that to the sharply funny dialogue between Carl and Russell in Up, or the bear’s frantic blundering in the castle in Brave. The humour in both films is sharpened by the constant threat, but at no time did I feel that Frozen moved into top gear and that the stakes really mattered. Both Brave and Up moved me to tears at times and also had me laughing aloud, while Frozen did neither. So… maybe it’s just me who was totally underwhelmed by the biggest grossing animated film in history. I’d like to hear from anyone else who has watched this film – what do you think?