Review of the Movie Frozen :: by Christina

“In Arendelle’s fair kingdom, a ruler did appear, born with a secret power so great, alone she stayed in fear. Although the force was hidden, one day she let it go, and all the land was covered in eternal ice and snow.” —Narrator of Disney’s Frozen “Elsa” trailer

To continue the poem’s story, the ruler’s sister, Anna, pursues the icily powerful Elsa, determined to bring her back and “bring back summer.” With a little help from a blundering but handsome and smart young man named Kristoff, his intelligent reindeer Sven, and a snowman (created by Elsa) named Olaf, Anna eventually does find her sister.But Elsa refuses to go back. Eventually soldiers of Arendelle bring Elsa back by force and lock her up.Only when Elsa realizes she is loved in spite of her malevolent ice powers is the eternal winter broken.

My original plan for the review of Frozen was to argue in its defense.I had heard warnings from evangelical pastors speaking of the strong pro-gay message behind the magnificent animation of ice and snow, but somehow it seemed claiming such an underlying message was reading too much into the film.After all, several of the film’s strongest evangelical critics hadn’t even viewed the film for themselves.

Presumably, their information came from the many clips available on the internet, or on accounts of those who had seen the film and were disgusted by it. But the movie seemed alluring. I wanted to see if the accusations of people like Kevin Swanson were true—which ultimately I believed they were not. I fully intended to defend Frozen against such claims

But after seeing the movie, I have realized that I cannot do so.When the credits began to roll, I said aloud that I felt “cheated.” Snow White must have had such a feeling when she realized the apple in her hand was poisoned.The allure that drew me to see this movie in the first place was definitely still there and still strong.To Disney’s credit, the animation—particularly of the ice and snow Elsa magically creates—was incredible.

And the singing was excellent, particularly in Anna and Prince Hans’ love duet, Love is an Open Door. The snowman Olaf was continually a source of laughs as he obsessed over his carrot nose and struggled to keep his roly-poly snow body from falling apart.(For the record, he was rarely successful in this endeavor.) But when Idina Menzel (the voice of Elsa) used her incredible voice and the beautiful Disney music to sing the Oscar-winning work in spiritual manipulation known as “Let It Go,” the beauty of what I had seen so far faded to a memory

Positive Elements

Despite an overriding negative message, Frozen contains minor themes which I considered uplifting or even beautiful.Several characters talk about what it really means to love someone. Olaf the snowman later defines love as “putting someone else’s needs before yours,” a truthful if slightly inadequate definition.Several characters demonstrate this kind of love throughout the story, including Olaf himself when he chooses to stay by a fire to keep the dangerously cold Anna, warm.She warns him he will melt, and he replies, “Some people are worth melting for.” Anna later follows Olaf’s example and sacrifices herself for her sister in a display of true love.

Interestingly, Disney seems to use the film to almost poke fun at the typical Disney storyline. For instance, Anna very quickly becomes engaged to Prince Hans, a Prince Charming type of fellow whom she only met hours before.Both Elsa and later Kristoff react with surprise at the idea of marrying “a man you just met” although many Disney princesses have done exactly that before.Anna also seems impulsive and almost clumsy compared to past Disney princesses, even daring to throw a snowball at an enormous ice monster.

On a mechanical note, the animation and singing proved to be marvelous.The voice actors were clearly professional singers who put a lot of passion into their songs.And as Elsa brings a magnificent ice palace out of the ground, the breathtaking portrayal of her magical ice cannot help but stun the viewer. Clearly, Disney had a lot of fun producing this film, but ultimately all the talent used to create that fun presents a dangerous message.

Negative Elements

The movie overwhelmingly portrays Elsa’s embrace of her ice powers as a kind of “coming out of the closet” for her. Early on in the story, she hides her power out of the very legitimate fear that she simply cannot control it. Even when she flees to the North Mountain, where she believes herself “alone and free” to use her power without hurting anyone, she still shrouds the kingdom in dangerous ice. But once she is able to break the spell and the land thaws, she creates an ice skating rink for the townsfolk.

In other words, she learned to control her power by embracing it after realizing she was loved in spite of her power.Typical Disney stories often focus on being yourself, but Frozen carries this theme even farther by encouraging viewers to embrace their inner natures and display them publicly and proudly. Since the Bible tells us that the heart of man is wicked and deceitful above all other things, is embracing your heart’s desire really a message Christian parents should send to their children?

Furthermore, in a quick but blatant moment, Disney strongly hints at what aspect of sin they are trying to represent. A male character named Oaken offers Kristoff a visit to the sauna to warm up from the bitter cold. As he indicates the sauna room, Oaken waves and calls, “Hi, family!” The camera shows for about one second Oaken’s family in the steamy room.To my surprise and horror, the family consisted of four small children—and one grown man.Immediately the scene continues.

True, Disney did not have a character face the camera and say blatantly, “Any gay people in the audience, come out of the closet! Be yourself! You’re loved even though you’re gay!”But with this brief shot of Oaken’s “family” and the emotional journey of Elsa, Disney has done the best they can to send this message without those exact words.

The Public’s Response to Frozen

In my research prior to and after seeing the movie for myself, I discovered that the general public seemed to react in one of four ways to the movie. The first reaction was exemplified by the movie review website, “Plugged-In” and by World Magazine, both of which gave Frozen glowing reviews.Both reviews seemed more concerned with a vaguely sexual comment Anna makes about Hans, and with the magnificent animation and singing than with the big picture message.To me, it appears both camps focused on superficial problems while ignoring deeper ones.

The other two reactions seem to identify the problems for what they really are—but one side embraces those problems.A very good example of this reaction can be found in the article, “Let it Gay? Subversive Messages in Disney’s Frozen” written by a far from conservative woman named Libby Anne who understood the movie ultimately advocates acceptance of your inner nature, represented by Elsa’s ice power. [1]

When Anne discovered that her conservative, evangelical family was very excited about the movie, she was perplexed. “I had to ask myself—did they even watch the same movie?Did they not see the messages I did? Did they hear the same lyrics?How could they see Frozen and not realize that it was about self-acceptance and freedom from the expectations of others—and moral standards?” (emphasis hers)

Later in her article, she explains that when she heard the song Let It Go for the first time and heard the line “no right, no wrong, no rules for me—I’m free” she literally began to cry because it was, in her words, “beautiful.” Clearly, she believes the movie advocates unrestrained sinful behavior, which is why she is surprised more conservatives have not condemned this movie.

The third perspective on Frozen came from people like Kevin Swanson, who condemned the movie as “evil” when he had not even viewed it himself. By and large, the people in this camp seemed to be judging the movie based off flimsy evidence. For instance, several people in this category claimed that the relationship between Kristoff and the reindeer Sven constituted bestiality. Their evidence? A line from the song “Fixer-Upper” (sung by trolls) where it is claimed that “his thing with the reindeer/it’s a little outside of nature’s laws.”

But “his thing with the reindeer,” judging by other scenes, was nothing more than just a level of companionship and mock communication.(Kristoff would sometimes talk to Sven, than change his voice and put words in the reindeer’s mouth.) Swanson and others even accused the movie of advocating gender confusion because after the credits roll, an ice monster created by Elsa finds and playfully wears her discarded tiara.(I had to look this one up for myself.To be fair, “Marshmallow” really did don the crown, but he was clearly only playing around.)

Furthermore, this camp’s evidence for homosexual elements in the movie consisted of quoting the song Let it Go (which even Disney did not present as the final solution) and by calling Elsa a lesbian because she does not seem interested in her suitors.With only evidence like that, such claims appeared to be unsubstantiated and in fact slanderous.

My purpose in writing this review is to present a forth perspective from an evangelical. In “Let it Gay?” Anne quotes a female blogger who seems to have connected the dots expertly. Ironically, the blogger quoted is a Mormon. [2]

While I definitely do not agree with Mormon doctrine, this woman has understood from the film what many conservative Christians have either missed or willfully ignored. I hope to help her in critiquing the dangers of this mechanically excellent but spiritually dangerous film, and to help her with actual evidence instead of speculation and rumors.

“Let your conversation always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6). As Christians, we must oppose messages like those presented inFrozen.But we must also be careful to not burn someone at the stake or misrepresent their arguments. No matter how repulsive something may be to you, be somewhat informed about it so you can criticize the message with more than just name-calling and alleging it is evil.

Yet Disney would also do well to observe a rule of not using their movies to proselytize a perversion of God’s design. “An act of true love will thaw a frozen heart,” Anna promises at the end of the film.Tragically, Elsa and many like her have rejected the ultimate act of true love performed two thousand years ago on a rough, bloody cross. We must not let anyone follow Elsa down her destructive path.