by DICK CHENEY
dir. Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee
The racism is back and better than ever. I complain, loudly, when Amazon puts an anti-Semitic hack like Agatha Christie on my kindle screensaver, but when it comes to Disney's relationship with bigotry and hate, most turn a blind eye. Every single person in Disney's feature length animated musical Frozen is white except for a Mama Troll who is voiced by a black actress, Maia Wilson.
The white protagonists of Frozen must be distinguished by their hair color. The blonde, Elsa (Idina Menzel), is the evilish one. Both Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa's parents perish in a vicious, parent-killing storm that capsizes their ship, and the next scene shows a group of cagey servants pulling a curtain over their portraits. This makes no sense, because portraits of loved ones who have passed help us remember them. There are a lot of things in Frozen that make a similar kind of sense.
But hey, you object, pausing a moment to gargle a rabbit's foot in your mouth for good luck, at least animals don't talk in Frozen. You will be half right, since many sociological experts consider trolls to be a different species, and also a snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad) is present for merchandise considerations and because having to hear the voices of Anna and her poor-ish friend Kristoff warble their way through their songs is quite painful, no matter how amusing the lyrics.
Frozen would be much better as a stage musical, since it only uses three sets: an ice castle, a village and the tundra. Without other races and creeds, things are for the most part boring, and the lives of the girls in Frozen are occupied by nothing more than pining for the world outside their castle, waiting for the "gates" to open that will signal their adulthood. (You didn't seriously think this movie wasn't going to be sexist as well? Was there even a woman in The Lion King, and don't say a female lion cub, that doesn't fucking count.) Eventually the metaphorical vaginal gates open and the citizens are tolerably pleased with the shape of the aforementioned items.
Bah! you remand me with. Why can't you just enjoy things that are utter shit, like the rest of us? So what if the main antagonist in Frozen is basically an anti-Semite caricature that has Walt Disney nodding somewhere in the depths of hell? Who cares if the disturbing racial stereotype of a wacky black troll saying, "Lawddd" is totally inappropriate for children?
I have no real response to this other than to quietly post skeptical things about global warming on reddit, but I think you know most of what I'd like to say.
On her seventeenth birthday Anna finally is introduced to the village that surrounds her deceased parents' lonely castle. (They are never mentioned again after they go to their watery graves.) In one day only, she agrees to wed a local prince who she "unexpectedly" meets in this position:
This movie was rated G. Think about that, or I mean, don't.
Elsa becomes quite upset when she learns of her sib's engagement, which I understand is typical. (I am not totally unfamiliar with the conflicts sisters have with each other.) In response to this betrayal, she shoots ice out of her fingers and brings eternal winter to the land. Since it was basically already winter before this, it's hard to quantify what "eternal winter" means, but it involves a new hairstyle and a musical number.
I tire of all this obfuscation. One thing is most definitely not another; we may indeed regard what a thing is as its primary aspect. A mermaid is not a charming young woman; she is a siren who lures young men of two legs to death by true love. A lion is a savage predator, not a friend to warthogs and primates alike, while I have never met a deer who could talk, at least outside of a few sentences like, "Liam Hemsworth is too full of himself" or "Whatever happened to Everything But the Girl?"
Eventually Anna tells Elsa of the harm she has inflicted on the local area, especially the money-driven Jewish landowner. She implores Elsa to end her isolation and the accompanying cold deluge. Elsa's response to her sister goes along these lines, "I have no way to melt ice, only create it. Therefore your complaints are noncupatory." The talking snowman is fairly displeased by this turn of events, but he tries to lend a certain lightness to the proceedings:
Musicals are fairly hit or miss unless they involve Stephen Moyer, in which case they consist of poor singing and acting. Frozen's songs are jaunty and amusing, although they do seem to largely revolve around one key joke: it is cold when it snows. I have always taken this for granted, but I suppose on some level it is worth mentioning, just not at the expense of women and minorities.
Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording and a writer living in an undisclosed location. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here. He last wrote in these pages about The Hobbit.
"We Made It Through Another Year" - Nerina Pallot (mp3)
"I Wish" - Nerina Pallot (mp3)