Monday, August 11, 2014

(Storytelling) Questions Raised By "Frozen"

I'm back! After only a week! Great, huh?

First news: apparently, Disney is planning to make a movie adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. Not to be confused with the 2003 TV movie. I am not sure how I feel about this. I have a number of questions, like: Is it going to be animated? Is it going to be a musical? Will they stay true to the plot or completely warp it like they did the plot of "The Snow Queen"? Will it keep the same title or be called something like "Wrinkled"?

As much as I like seeing my favorite books adapted into movies, I have to say I'm apprehensive about this one, about the same way I am about The Giver adapted into a movie. I'm afraid to see The Giver because, while I'm okay with the actual events of the book changed, the trailers make it look like the whole spirit of the story is altered for the movie, and I'm not okay with that. If they stripped everything that made Lowry's book special out and turned it into another B-grade ripoff of The Hunger Games, I don't want to see it. I love the book too much. Same with A Wrinkle in Time. If Disney removes the depth and power that makes this book more than a touching family tale or a fun space jaunt, I'm not sure I'll see it. If anybody from Disney reads this blog, please, be respectful of the book. Lots of people love it.

Anyway, purpose for the title of this post. My family got into town for a reunion, so I got to watch Frozen with my sister. We analyzed it to death, because that is what we do when we watch movies together. And here I am writing about Frozen yet again, because I, along with the rest of the culture, can't seem, stop talking about it. (Hah! Didn't say it!)

But I'm not here to talk about Frozen's impact on society or its feminism or even its precedence for future movies. I did enough of that in the last post. I'm here to list the questions my sister and I had regarding the movie's storytelling. During our last viewing, we noted a number of things that never got as fully answered as we would have liked. Some are simple, some could spark a whole new movie. Here are our questions:

1. Why aren't the ice-cutting men the least bit protective of little Kristoff as he cuts ice with them? They don't even seem to notice his presence. I realize he has no family at that point, but the adults seem rather unconcerned with the child's welfare.

2. The Troll King asks Elsa's father if she was born with her powers or cursed. WHAT? The casual nature of the question seems to imply that kids in this kingdom are occasionally cursed with magical power. Why is this not talked about in the story? Who else is getting cursed with magic? Who does the cursing? What happens to the kids who are cursed with magic? Are they shunned or even killed? Why is it a curse to have powers? Is there this whole X-Men-esque situation in Arendelle and no one is talking about it? I want to see a whole movie about this!

Has the Troll King had other visitors with similar problems? He seems awfully prepared.

3. If kids do get cursed with magical powers, is that why Elsa's parents are so worried about people finding out about her ice magic?

4. Likewise, if kids are also born with powers (I mean, the Troll King asks it first thing, so I image there's a precedence), wouldn't it be more widely talked about? Are there other kids with magic who have to hide it? Or, are there kids with magic that get it explained to them and are taught how to control it? If so, why didn't the King and Queen try this option?

5. Why couldn't Anna leave the castle her whole life? Wouldn't it actually be easier for her parents to makes sure Anna had friends outside of the family and wouldn't focus so much on the secrets kept from her?

6. Why couldn't Anna learn about Elsa's power when she was old enough?

7. What exactly does Arendelle export that makes them such a valuable trade partner?

8. Why did the sled explode into flames when it hit the ground? What is Kristoff carrying?

9. Why didn't Anna want to tell Olaf the truth about summer? Out of kindness (though he would be safer knowing) or out of fear that he wouldn't help if he knew?

10. Elsa can create life in the form of sentient snowmen. Why is not one talking about this? Can she also impart life to less humanoid snow? Flakes? Drifts?

11. Why was Elsa so surprised that she froze everything? Could she not see the unseasonal snow everywhere from her high-up mountain castle with walls made of clear ice?

11. Why isn't the Hans revelation satisfying? I keep finding foreshadowing and I still don't like that twist as a storytelling move.

12. Why didn't Olaf's lighting the fire count as an act of true love?

And last,

13. Is Kristoff's ice business in danger? I mean, Elsa can summon ice whenever she wants. I'm sure she would hold off to allow her sister's boyfriend to maintain his livelihood, but how long before the citizens of the kingdom realize their queen can make ice and demand it as a free service?

Overthinking this, as always. But that's what I do. And I mean it: I want to hear the stories behind the Troll King's question. How many other kids in Arendelle have magic, and how did they get it?


  1. Yeah, if they ignore that as a sequel/other movie tie-in, they're missing out big time. I would watch it. Sounds like a GREAT alternate universe X-Men thing. And I second all the questions.

  2. Other question: Anna talks about meeting "actual real live people"- what about the servants that take care of her? Do they not qualify? There were like 3 of them waiting for her, saying they were "worried sick," when she came back with white hair.

  3. I definitely agree. I was intrigued by the movie because of story potential, but there were way too many of these weird plot holes. Also, I really don't like the music. But on that note, I came across these deleted songs one day and listened to them (but especially the commentary between songs) and learned a lot about how the plot was originally quite different (and maybe answers some questions, maybe not). What I listened to was the full soundtrack on youtube, but I think this post works too: