Silly Things Written on the Internet or Frozen is NOT About Gay Marriage (Sorry)

The internet really is a wonderful place. It is an actual fact that, with the internet, all the knowledge in the world is at your fingertips (what does that say about you being here?). People use the internet for a variety of reasons: knowledge, pleasure, and voice being among the top three. In this article, I will focus on the third: voice. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, that is a fact. That said, not every opinion is valid, and no – acting on non-valid opinions is not okay (e.g. – let’s say a father decides his kids shouldn’t eat more than once a week, that is his opinion and he is a monster). There is nothing wrong with sharing ideas or talking things out, it is how the mind stays active.
All of that said: I think that this article is pretty silly, and not well-thought out at all. For the record, I do not think that Willie Muse is a stupid person or an idiot in any way… but there are a few flaws in his argument. For those out there too lazy to click on the link, first off: really? Second, Muse is arguing that last year’s Disney film, Frozen, is an allegory supporting gay marriage. His argument hinges on three parts: 1) Elsa Represents Gay People; 2)The Film Shows Flaws of Traditional Marriage; 3)Alternate Family Structures (are) Very Favorably Presented. Three points… let me rebuttal.

To start: this.
To start: this.

1) I will acknowledge that there are certain parallels between Elsa and a repressed gay adolescent. That said, note how I had to use the adjective ‘repressed’ to make the comparison work? If that gay adolescent grows up in an open and accepting household, then this whole comparison goes out the window. Generally, if one detail dislodges an argument: it’s not a great argument. Ignoring Elsa’s repression to say “that’s what being gay is like” can be insulting to all the other forms of repression that are out there. By the logic used, I can also say that Remy from Ratatouille represents gay people. I suppose he kinda does……. Maybe? That would ignore the much larger message though in favor of a smaller perspective. Remy, for instance, is dealing with issues of identity not connected to sexuality but rather with artistic freedom vs. social expectation. People are much more complicated than just their sexuality but to diminish Elsa’s real problem is too miss a good chunk of the movie: ELSA HAS ABUSIVE PARENTS. Seriously, she is living with people who (while not being evil) are incapable of accepting Elsa for who she is. Elsa could represent any child was is abused for being different (whether that difference is sexual, medical, religious, or countless others). Elsa could be a representation of someone with severe anxiety issues who is afraid to leave her home or be herself around anyone until one day she just LETS IT GO and realizes that living paralyzed with fear isn’t a way to live… wait. See, while saying that Elsa represents gay people isn’t the most ridiculous thing, it isn’t a great building block for a strong argument.

You don't have to be gay to suffer through repression and anxiety about who you are.
You don’t have to be gay to suffer through repression and anxiety about who you are.

2) NO. This is the one I take the most issue with. Prince Hans and Anna do not represent “traditional marriage” at all. They represent the fairy tale notion of one-look true-love destined to be together trope of a large portion of folklore (and early Disney animated features). The only “traditional” element of this relationship is that it involves a man and a woman. Also, while it is true that, in medieval times, marriage was often a political move, Hans does take it a couple steps past political takeover and into full-blown-I-Would-Run-Over-Your-Dog-Too-If-I-Could evil mode (I’ve already written about this in an earlier post). So the film really isn’t showing the flaws of traditional marriage, it is showcasing the obvious flaw of fairy tale marriages: namely don’t marry someone you just met (DUH). For the record, it would be much more like a “traditional marriage” if Hans and Anna were being forced into it (similar to the plot of Brave) but, just the fact that it is Anna’s choice… women didn’t make choices like that back then.

Man, the Lion King has some real bad things to say about "traditional" uncle-nephew relationships.
Man, the Lion King has some real bad things to say about “traditional” uncle-nephew relationships.

3) I don’t really feel that the trolls are an alternate family structure. They are not Kristoff’s real parents, sure, but that only makes them his ADOPTIVE parents. While I’m no expert on troll physiology (nor do I want to be), there appear to be male and female trolls present in the group. Grandparents, parents, kids: all age tiers are present. Looks like one giant, loving family all living together. Is it superior to Elsa’s and Anna’s parents: absolutely. Funny how having love and supportiveness in a family dynamic will do that. Yeah though, how are they really different from Aunt May and Uncle Ben in the Spider-Man universe? Just because parents adopt children doesn’t make it “an alternate family structure.” If anything (and I acknowledge this is a stretch), the argument could be made that Anna, Elsa, and Olaf represent the alternate family structure… and don’t show it favorably. Two women (sisters no less) bringing life to a snowman through some form of “unnatural” magic, and the resulting creation has no social awareness and just wishes (unconsciously) for quick death at  the change of seasons. For the record, I don’t think this is a serious message to be taken from the movie, I’m just saying it to make a point.

Look at how confused he is! This is what happens when a snowman has two mommies!
Look at how confused he is! This is what happens when a snowman has two mommies!

Frozen has received a lot of attention, maybe more than it deserves. There can be no question, however, that it is a culturally significant film. A lot of analysis has been, and will be applied to this movie. Some of it will be really insightful and shed lead on why this film had the impact that it did. Some of it… will just be silly.

All joking aside, I may be crazy to say that Frozen is a movie about the power of family love and acceptance and the relationship of two sisters. I could be crazy for thinking this.
All joking aside, I may be crazy to say that Frozen is a movie about the power of  love and acceptance, and the relationship of two sisters. I could be crazy for thinking this.

 

Disney's Worst Villain: Prince Hans (from Frozen)

Walt Disney Animation Studios has a rich history of feature film characters. From Winnie the Pooh to Stitch, many strong protagonists highlight this library. However, the scratched side of the coin is just as wonderful with villains like Jafar, Cruella De Vil and Scar. When it comes to villains: Disney delivers… well, almost always.

Princess and the Frog saw the addition of the most recent great Disney villain: the Shadow Man.

2013 saw the release of Frozen, the latest animated film from Disney, based this time off the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, The Snow QueenIt’s good, it’s very good. Building off the fun but predictable film, Tangled; Frozen delivers a unique story of sisterhood highlighted by magic and gorgeous animation. I’ve already sung “Let It Go” to myself more times than I would care to admit so the movie also has at least one song that’s really worth remembering.

Overall I can’t say I wouldn’t recommend Frozen to anyone seeking some animated fun, but I wish I could recommend the movie more. Frozen has a flaw, a big one. For most of the film it keeps it off screen, which is a good thing. Warning: minor plot spoilers to follow… for a Disney movie… do I really need to give plot disclaimers?

Anyway, Frozen follows two sisters: Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel). Elsa has magical powers, the ability to freeze things and create snow. Anna is normal, without any magical powers whatsoever. Magic is fun but also dangerous so Elsa hides her powers. This plan works until both girls are of marrying age (at least I hope they are) and Elsa is getting crowned as the new queen. Needless to say things go wrong and the kingdom ends up a little… frozen. Get it? I’ll move on.

But that pun is besides the main point. At Elsa’s coronation, Anna meets a prince, Prince Hans (Santino Fontana) and they fall in love… well they decide to get married. Ah young love. Unlike every other Disney Princess movie in existence, Elsa vetoes the marriage:

This should have happened before 2013.
This should have happened before 2013.

And so the kingdom gets frozen and Anna goes off to find her sister to put things right. Along the way she meets Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and Hans is left in charge of the kingdom. He does his best, even going so far as to foil the Duke, a comical satire of the usual Disney villain voiced by the always hilarious Alan Tudyk. Hans is set up as a good guy, clearly not Anna’s true love but a good guy nonetheless. In other words: it is an interesting character development, something more unique than the average animated film.

Then comes the turn, the big turn. Anna is injured and only a kiss from her true love can save her. Does Hans save her: no. Does he remain the good guy and just admit that he isn’t in love with her: nope. Hans reveals that he hates both Anna and her sister and will take this opportunity to kill both of them and take over the kingdom. He also mentions that if Anna had a dog or cat, he would run it over in his truck (okay he doesn’t say that but it would fit with his declaration of evil). If all that sounds out of left field, that’s only because it is.

This is the face of evil. Pure, unexplained, evil.
This is the face of evil. Pure, unexplained, evil.

There is no set up, literally nothing to suggest to the audience that Hans is a bad guy, nevermind a murderer. The turn is nothing short of awful. Frozen was a story about two sisters struggling to maintain a relationship while one struggles with magical powers and the other went on a journey of self-discovery in a frigid wonderland. That doesn’t sound like a story that needs a Prince Dirtbag to make it interesting.

Also: it’s Disney, their villains usually rock. And remember Fox and the Hound, proof that Disney didn’t use to shy away from telling a complex story without a needless villain. Sure the hunter is a dick to the Fox but… that’s kind of what hunters do.

The “reveal” of Prince Hans comes off as a cheat. A way to move the story to more expedited resolution instead of the natural ending it was heading for. One wonders what the morale of Prince Hans is for young women watching the film: remember girls, just because you meet a boy and he seems cute and fun – don’t get into a relationship because he probably just wants to kill you and your sister. That’s it: that is the only reason you shouldn’t rush into a relationship.

In a movie where one of the main characters can create snow from nothing, this should not be the most unrealistic scene.
In a movie where one of the main characters can create snow from nothing, this should not be the most unrealistic scene.

So while Frozen is still good, it never gets great. Before I saw this film, I heard it compared to Beauty and the Beast. Not even close. Beauty and the Beast has more than one song worth remembering… and, you know, a villain who isn’t the dumbest thing since George Lucas thought to explain the Force in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.