Monday, December 2, 2013

The Snow Queen Meets the Mouse

Walt Disney, through its various subsidiaries, now owns approximately 87% of the known world.  (OK, I made up the number, but I'm still pretty sure it's in the ballpark.  Click here for a list of holdings and let's just say that they've come a long way from a little animated mouse that was nearly named Mortimer.)  This holiday season, Disney has released Frozen, which is loosely based on the dark Hans Christian Andersen tale The Snow Queen.  It's a keeper.

Now, I have long lamented the Mouse's desire to round off the sharp edges of fairy tales, which were not originally for children.  These were meant to be cautionary tales full of danger, darkness, in which a prince's kiss usually brought more trouble than it was worth.  Still, I"m a sucker for a bouncy tune and Frozen is a nice addition to the Disney pantheon.

As far as I can recall, Frozen is the first Disney to have two distinct female leads.  (And the voices!  Swoon.  By hiring Idina Menzel, who was the original Elphaba in Broadway's Wicked, I suspect that Disney is positioning itself to go into full-scale Broadway production with this one, a la The Lion King.)  The bond of sisterly love, as opposed to step-sisterly-wickedness, is new. There is a honorable ice-seller, trolls, and a dastardly duke (voiced by Alan Tudyk, which ensured I'd be content.)  For sidekicks, there's a dim-witted, lovable snowman and a wise, goofy reindeer.

Honestly, Frozen is a delight.  The animation of ice, frost, and snow is a marvel.  The children in the audience were enraptured (as were the majority of the adults), and the message (and all films have messages; don't fool yourself into thinking they don't) is positive and worthy.

You could do far worse this holiday season.

(Still . . . go read the original Andersen.  Just maybe not out loud to the littlest among you.)

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