Why Disney’s “Frozen” Is a Bad Movie

I just finished watching the popular Disney movie, “Frozen”, for the second time. The hype surrounding the movie was obnoxious and everyone was saying that, “‘Frozen’ is one of the best movies of all time.” Watching it my first time around, it wasn’t great; the bar was set pretty high and my expectations didn’t meet up to the reality of the movie. But after my second time watching it, it has solidified in my brain that this movie is one of the worst Disney has ever produced.

There’s actually a funny history surrounding this movie. Walt Disney wanted to make this movie all the way back in 1943. “Frozen” was supposed to be Disney’s adaptation of the popular fairy tale, “The Snow Queen”, written by Hans Christian Anderson (Get it? Hans, Kristoff, Anna, Sven. Good job, Disney). “The Snow Queen” actually has, what would be Elsa, as the villain. They decided they couldn’t create the movie in the 40s because they couldn’t find a way to adapt it to a modern audience. They tried again in the late 1990s, but the project was scrapped when one of the head animators on the project, Glen Keane, quit. In 2010, they scrapped it again because they still couldn’t find a way to make the story work. Then, in 2011, they finally decided on making Anna the younger sister of the Snow Queen, which was enough for them to create “Frozen”.

“Frozen” was directed by Chris Buck (known for “Tarzan”) and Jennifer Lee (known for “Wreck-it-Ralph”). The bar was set pretty high for me seeing as both those movies were well above the standards of a “kid’s movie”. The story was going to be just like the fairy tale, but then, Christophe Beck composed the hit song, “Let it Go”. The production team went crazy; instead of trying to fit the song into the movie, they rewrote the entire plot and Elsa’s entire character to fit the song. I have never heard of an entire movie being changed to fit one song. Because of this, it’s blatantly obvious that no one could decide on anything in this movie. Since Elsa isn’t the antagonist, there really was no real evil force. The Duke of Weaselton is brought up to be the villain in the beginning when he states, “Open those gates so I may unlock your secrets and exploit your riches. Did I say that out loud?” Why do you want to unlock the secrets and exploit their riches?

The Duke has absolutely no development to the point where he doesn’t even have a name. He barely even gets screen time. So if he isn’t the villain, who is? Well, in the last 15 minutes of the movie, Anna’s fiance, Prince Hans, is brought up to be the villain, stating he wants to rule a kingdom and he can’t because of his 12 other brothers. This comes out of absolutely nowhere. There were no hints, no evil glances, no sidebars or monologues, nothing. He even gives out blankets and hot soup to every person in the kingdom of Airendale. Prince Hans even says, he will protect Airendale because Anna left him in charge and “will not hesitate to protect Airendale from treason” when the Duke states he wants to take over. I can’t stand it when they get so lazy as to just throw in a villain at the last few minutes because they couldn’t actually bring up a real villain. Prince Hans states that he wanted to take over and he was going to kill Elsa and all this other crap, but Elsa was just about to be killed and he saved her life. Why would he save her life if he wanted her dead? None of it made sense and it irked me the entire movie.

Frozen recycles animation and character models from their previous hit, “Tangled”. The main characters, Elsa and Anna, use the same exact model as Rapunzel from “Tangled”. This controversy has been huge around the internet, calling Disney “lazy” and the such. Personally, I was okay with this. Disney is known for recycling animations (which can be seen here). Even though it was really strange that Elsa and Anna had the same exact face and body structure and the only difference between them were the freckles and their hair, it didn’t bother me too much. But, during the coronation scene, Elsa says to Anna, “You look beautiful.” Pretty ironic if you ask me.

The movie starts off with Elsa and Anna playing together with Elsa’s ice magic. It’s cute at first, but then Elsa strikes Anna in her head and they have to “thaw out the ice” or something along those lines. So they ask the trolls to heal her and they wipe Anna’s memories of Elsa having magic. Then, they lock the castle doors so no one can ever see Elsa and lock Elsa away in her room to never speak to her sister again. This is where it all starts to go downhill. None of it made sense. Why would you wipe Anna’s memories of Elsa having magic? If it was easily fixed, why not just explain to her that they can’t play with Elsa’s magic anymore because it’s out of hand? She would’ve known the consequences afterwards. It’s like if you touch a hot stove; you’re curious, you touch it, you burn yourself, you never touch it again. The fear solidifies subconsciously. Even if you could explain why she needed her memories erased, why was Anna locked inside the castle doors too? Anna had no recollection of the events, even at the end of the movie, so why was Anna being punished for something Elsa did? They could have easily allowed her to talk to the townsfolk and have a good time outside the castle while Elsa was locked away.

There’s this motif throughout the movie about locked doors; they lock the castle doors, Anna knocks on Elsa’s door and she never answers, Anna and Prince Hans sing the song, “Love is an Open Door”, Anna says to Elsa, “All you know is how to shut people out.” I found the motif pretty clever until they forced it down my throat. When Anna reaches the ice castle, she knocks on the door. When the door opens, she says, “Well that’s a first.” It’s a giant punch in the chest when you think you’ve analyzed a motif and you can go on and on about how amazing the directors were for putting it in there, but then the directors hold your hand and forcefully say, “Hey! This a motif! You should totally love us for this!” I would’ve been okay with it too if they just didn’t put that one line in the movie. When you read a book and you analyze it, the author is trying to let you come to the conclusion yourself and let you discuss it. It’s the same with movies. There was no need to forcefully tell us that this was a motif. Doing so was actually counterproductive. It popped my bubble.

This lead me to the question, “Why was Anna the main character?” Here’s a checklist of every plot-moving event in the movie:

Elsa strikes Anna so they have to lock the castle gates and Elsa can never talk to anyone ever again
Elsa is becoming queen
The entire kingdom gets frozen over because of Elsa
Elsa arguably has the best song in the entire movie
Anna has to find Elsa so that Elsa can save the entire kingdom
Hans has to kill Elsa to become king

Everything centers around Elsa. So why have Anna be the main character? Anna didn’t have any real character development in the movie while Elsa was completely fleshed out in every scene that she’s in. Just watch the scene from her song, “Let It Go”The entire song is about her “letting go” of her fear and coming to terms with her powers and being herself. This would’ve made a for a better plot; a woman finally coming to terms with herself, society trying to shut her down, and her fight to be accepted as who she is. Instead, it’s about Anna trying to find her sister so her sister can save the kingdom. It’s like Phil being the main character of Hercules or Mushu being the main character for Mulan. It doesn’t make any sense. Anna isn’t as interesting as Elsa. Sure, she’s funny and relate-able, but that could easily have been Elsa. Everyone can relate to not fitting into the social norms. So I reiterate, why have Anna be the main character?

Speaking of Anna, they said the only way to save her was “one true act of love”. There were many “true acts of love.” Kristoff bringing her to the trolls, Olaf giving her that pep talk, Kristoff bringing her to Hans to save her. All of these were “true acts of love”, but none of them counted because it didn’t “fit the dynamic of sisterhood.” The whole dynamic between Elsa and Anna felt so forced to the point where I stopped caring halfway through the movie. Mostly because Anna doesn’t actually evolve as a character until the very end of the movie. Even then, the development isn’t that major.Olaf is another thing that felt so force-fed. It was cute that the snowman Elsa and Anna created when they were young became a real living being and helped Anna out on her quest, but he didn’t do much. At all. He sings a song about the summer, makes a ton of jokes, gives Anna a pep talk at the end of the movie, more jokes, then that’s it. He doesn’t really face much adversity, making him extremely 1 dimensional. It’s obvious they put him in there just to be cute and to target a wider audience. There’s a test that I use to explain 1 dimensional characters; if you can replace the character with a lamp, and the plot could still advance, then the character didn’t need to be there. I promise you, if you watch the movie again and follow that test, you’ll understand exactly what I saying. What’s worse is that he could’ve actually been a catalyst to Anna regaining her memories of her sister and finally realizing why she feels the way she does. But instead, he’s nothing but a comedic relief that has no part in the plot whatsoever.

The whole movie and plot felt so rushed and like no one could agree on anything. From the villains to the plot to the characters; it’s all rushed. It felt like they said, “Hey, “Tangled” was great! Let’s just take the stuff we used from “Tangled” and get this movie off our checklist after 70 years.” But, there is one thing that did surprise me; the soundtrack. The music was phenomenal. Every song felt very broadway-esque and fit the scenes perfectly. “Let It Go”, “Love is an Open Door”, and all the rest of the songs made my heart soar and gave me hope for the next Disney titles to have music on par with the classics like “Mulan” or “The Lion King”.

And that’s my opinion on Disney’s “Frozen”. Honestly, this movie was just plain bad. I say, wait for it to go on Broadway and see it there. I firmly believe that the Broadway musical will be light-years better than this atrocity. They’ll have more time for production, more time to explain and develop their characters and plots, and the effects will be really sick. I can’t wait to see how they bring up Elsa’s Ice Castle! If you don’t agree with any of my points, do feel free to leave a comment with your opinion! Unless you’re gonna argue that this movie wasn’t targeted to my demographic and that it was “made for kids”. I will then point you in the directions of the masterpieces known as “Tangled”, “The Lion King”, “Mulan”, “Brave”, and almost every other Disney movie before this. I would love to see what everyone else thought of the movie!

Top Ten Military Movies 2000-2009

Ready for a fight? Want to watch the best war movies that debuted in the past nine years? Here are the Real Military Network’s pick for the best War films of the past nine years:

1. Gladiator (2000): For the quintessential story of a Roman soldier, the fictional General Maximus Decimus Meridius played by Russell Crowe, who journeys from a General who led legions in battle, to a slave, to a gladiator who defied an Emperor. The opening battle scene is one of the most dramatic ancient Roman war scenes ever filmed.

2. Taegukgi (2004): This Korean made film is the “Saving Private Ryan” of the Republic of Korea and worth your time. It vividly portrays the Korean war (1950-1953), with superbly crafted battle scenes, from perspective of both South and North Koreans.

3. 300 (2007): Highly stylized, but exhilarating, this film depicts the passion and fury of the famous stand of the Spartan 300 against the Persians at narrow pass at Thermopylae. Thermopylae is an important battles to the development of western culture and this is a must see war film to understand why the story of the 300 Spartans resonates to this day.

4. The Alamo (2004): As much as I respect John Wayne movies, this is, bar none, the best Alamo movie ever made. Most historians agree that “The Alamo (2004)” is the most accurate depiction the battle for the beleaguered Texan fortress ever filmed. It is also the most dramatic.

5. “Flags of Our Fathers” (2006) and Letters from Iwo Jima (2006): For an excellent depiction of the ferocity of the fighting for Iwo Jima (1944) and for showing both sides of the battle.

6. Kingdom of Heaven (2005), for superb battle scenes of the Crusades and the depiction of the Battle (Siege) of Jerusalem.

7. Enemy at the Gates (2001), depiction of the Battle of Stalingrad; for the depiction of the dramatic and monumental Battle for Stalingrad, 1942-1943.

8. The War (in Russian: ?????) (2002) , for its graphic depiction of modern combat in Chechnya during the second Chechen War 1999-2000. This film provides accurate insights to the corrupt Chechen militia, incompetent Russian Army, and the Russian’s careless attitude concerning the plight of their soldiers who were captured by the Chechens. The film was made in Russia, but was produced in Russian and English.

9. Napoleon (2002) (TV mini-series): For an exciting view of Napoleonic Warfare. The first episode dramatically depicts young Napoleon’s first Italian campaign and his heroic leadership at the Battle of Arcole. This mini-series also depicts the Battles of Eylau, Austerlitz, Waterloo and the retreat from Russia.

10. The Great Raid (2005), for telling a forgotten story of great courage by a group of US Army Rangers who rescue U.S. and Pilipino POWs from a Japanese prison camp during WWII.

Honorable Mentions:

1. The Lost Battalion (2001), for the only WWII war movie of substance created within the 2000-2009 time period.

2. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), for brining to life the tactics of naval warfare during the Napoleonic Wars.

3. Saints and Soldiers (2003) for an excellent tale about the Battle of the Bulge during WWII, (December 1944)

4. Hannibal – Rome’s Worst Nightmare (2006), this BBC TV depiction of the Second Punic War). The epic battle of Carthage and Rome is dramatically shown in this excellent film.

5. The Patriot (2000), depiction of the American Revolution and particularly for the depiction of the tactics used in the final battle, which is based on the Battle of Cowpens. In the Patriot, Mel Gibson plays the Benjamin Martin, a character loosely modeled after Francis Marion, the famous Southern militia leader known as the Swamp Fox.

Maverick Approach to Movie Making

The term maverick is used to describe people that are viewed as unconventional and independent, and do not think or behave in the same way as other people. There are many aspiring indie filmmakers out there that take a maverick approach to making movies and end up failing. They waste their talent, time, and money trying to run before they can walk.

Being a maverick filmmaker is cool so long as you understand what it takes to succeed in the movie business. “Know the rules before you break them” is a good saying to remember. You can’t make a name for yourself in the movie business if you do not know how it works. If you’re the type of person that does not listen to sound advice or is a know-it-all, then there is no benefit in continuing reading. If you’re the type of person that is open-minded to new information then this will speak to you.

Some aspiring indie filmmakers are influenced by what they read and hear about famous filmmakers. So and so refused to compromise their creative vision and made the studio back down. That’s how they game is played in Hollywood, but not at the true independent film level. A independent filmmaker that lets their ego control their actions is doomed to fail. The cast and crew on a indie movie are not being paid enough, if they are being paid at all, to deal with a indie filmmaker that is too difficult to work with.

They will either walk off your project or turn in lackluster efforts that will be painfully obvious when you go to edit your movie. Post production never lies. Independent film budgets are tight with no wiggle room for extra shooting days. Many times the seed money to produce a indie movie comes from friends and family of the filmmaker. Not to compromise your creative vision when it’s absolutely necessary to finish the movie is insanity, not to mention selfish. If I personally invested money into a friend or relatives movie I would hope they would control their ego in order to finish the movie.

I’ve always felt making a movie does not give a person the creative license to waste other peoples money. Especially if that money comes from friends and family. I treat investors money as it were my own. Before you shoot your movie it’s a good idea to highlight scenes of your script that are crucial to your creative vision. This is only my opinion, but I have yet to see a movie where every scene is epic. I have yet to talk to another screenwriter that told me that every bit of dialogue and scene they wrote is amazing. Some dialogue and scenes are simply there to keep the story moving. I hang out with an honest bunch of indie filmmakers and we pretty much agree every movie has filler written into it.

It might hurt a unrealistic filmmaker to think that way, but brutal honesty is amazing for the growth of a healthy creative spirit. When you are going through your script highlight filler scenes that are not crucial to your creative vision. Those will be the first scenes to be cut down or removed all together when time and money begin to run out. At the indie movie making level time and money always run out. Be prepared to make changes to your movie and creative vision if push comes to shove. During production of my first feature Consignment I had to rewrite scenes on the spot or the movie would die. I do not feel I compromised my creative vision by making radical changes on the set. I was able to overcome obstacles to finish the movie. Isn’t finishing a movie what it’s all about?

That lead to what I wanted to share with you today, Avoid being a inflexible film snob. Sometimes the situation will demand you adapt your creative vision. Coming in with the attitude that you are flexible will help you deal with things that can kill a movie. Like an actor quitting, a difficult crew member, the loss of a location, or a equipment problem. A lot can go wrong when you are making movie. The more open you are to not to waste energy fighting against what is and finding a fix, the better off you will be as a movie maker.

By no means do you have to be a doormat when making your movie, but you don’t have to be a razor blade either. Blessed is the indie filmmaker that can find and connect with their creative balance. There are a lot of solid life lessons I’ve learned making movies. If you take nothing else from what you’ve read here, take this, “control your ego, do not let your ego control you.” This is indie filmmaker Sid Kali typing FADE TO BLACK.