I went to see Frozen this past weekend. And yes, it is as good as you have been told. It is a brilliantly told story of sisterly love intermingled with the complications imposed by politics and magic that has an ending that is different in many ways from other Disney movies, and yet completely perfect in every way. And I'll probably feature some of the songs from its soundtrack as Musical Monday selections on some future date.
But that day is not today. Despite Frozen being as good as it is, throughout the movie I couldn't help but think of Rachel Bloom's hilarious (and brutally accurate) satire of Disney princess songs. Perhaps this is because the story of Frozen manages to avoid many of the cliches that we associate with Disney movies. But what Rachel's song reminds us is that a version of these stories that was true to the historical time periods they were set in would include copious amounts of virulent plague, horrifying prejudice, casual torture, and staggering inequality. Versions of these tales that merely aspired to be true to the Grimm's Fairy Tale versions that inspired them would be loaded with as much blood and gore as the typical modern day slasher film.
So, even though a movie like Frozen is a wonderful piece of art, when I watch it I see the historical version inside my head. In this context, the line in the song about how the plague was created by jealous witches looms large, because it explains the fear felt by Elsa and her parents over revealing her powers over ice and snow. In the movie, the danger this represented takes the form of the Duke of Weselton, who talks about how terrible it is that there is a sorceress at large and advocates killing Elsa. But almost no one else seems to really take the buffoonish Duke seriously. In a historically accurate version, accusations of sorcery would be terrifying, because they would tap into the pervasive superstition of the populace, and would likely lead to terrible persecution. But this is a Disney movie, so that is glossed over, and everyone ends up loving Elsa's magical snow powers.
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