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Alethea & Athena
I don't think we've ever used this icon before. 
9th-Jan-2015 06:41 pm
Originally, I was planning to finish our Disneyland report today, but then coastal_spirit asked us why we hate Frozen. I was still going to finish our Disneyland report, but then it occurred to me that the majority of that report will probably be talking about the Royal Theatre version of Frozen, and I thought a proper review of the movie might give some perspective about some of our reactions. Of course, it might not, because it all depends on what ends up being included in the Royal Theatre review, but since neither review has been written yet...well, the point is I'm thinking about it.

So here it is.

It started when we went to see the movie... Well, actually, it started before we saw the movie, when we had already been inclined to dislike Olaf (due to his less-than-appealing character design and a promotional short cartoon that we found to be more than a little annoying) and Anna (due to an interview with Kristen Bell, the voice of Anna, who basically said, "Finally, a princess movie I can get behind." anyone who knows us probably already knows that that type of comment hits our rage buttons). So we did already have some misgivings about the movie that were not necessarily indicative of anything in the movie itself or its quality one way or another. Still, we have gone into things with the intent to dislike them and fallen in love with them in spite of ourselves (like Weiss Kreuz).

But anyway, as for opinions based on the movie itself, they started when we went to see the movie...and practically the first thing that happens is this saw cutting through ice, which of course we're watching from under the ice. Athena's immediate reaction was, "This movie is going to have Stunning Visuals." She was not wrong. Still, ice kingdoms are the kind of visual aesthetic that we tend to find very appealing, so in this case the stunningness of the visuals wasn't necessarily a bad thing. But Stunning Visuals does tend to mean there's a greater focus on visuals than storytelling, and the storytelling left much to be desired.

So they had the song about beware the frozen heart ("Okay, someone's heart is going to be frozen later on. Got it."), and then we meet the princesses for the first time. In the interest of fairness, I will remind the readers that we were already inclined to dislike Anna...and she never really did anything to change that. She started out by being a bratty little sister. "The sky is awake, so I'm awake, and that means YOU have to be awake whether you like it or not because you and your ice powers are my very favoritest toy." But Elsa's obviously a lot more forgiving toward Anna than we are, so she got up to play anyway.

Then, through her own stupidity and refusal to listen to anyone but her own impulses, Anna gets herself hurt. And everyone blames Elsa for it, including Elsa. It drives us nuts, because Elsa had full control of her powers, or at least as much control as she was capable of at that time (which was a lot), and she knew that Anna was moving too fast for her, and she WARNED Anna, but Anna wasn't listening and so she got hurt. And nobody even considers telling Anna that maybe she should watch where she's going sometimes. She turns out to be a major klutz later on, so coordination is clearly not one of her strong points.

So they take Anna to the trolls, and the troll king or whatever his name was says, "Fear will be your greatest enemy!" to which Athena added, "So go ahead and be afraid of that," and sure enough, they all were. And he said, "What you need is control, and that will make your powers a beautiful thing," so despite the fact that Elsa already had control, they decide that hiding the powers instead of training her to use them better was a great idea. And I have to ask too: the troll king asks if Elsa was cursed or born with powers, as if powers are a thing, and yet nobody else has any kind of powers ever, to the point that now the whole family is suddenly terrified that people are going to freak out if anybody knows Elsa has them. And that didn't even seem to be a fear of theirs until she accidentally hurt somebody, through no fault of her own.

And then came the snowman song. The song where Anna keeps asking why she can't play with her favorite toy anymore (even though she doesn't remember exactly why Elsa is her favorite toy). The only little tiny thing Anna tries to convince Elsa that playing with her might be worth Elsa's while is to say "it doesn't have to be a snowman." In the meantime, Anna is going nuts because she lives in a giant castle, which apparently is empty of all other human life. Theoretically, there's a staff. It's mentioned at some point that most of the staff was let go when they decided to lock Elsa in her room for eternity (never mind the fact that that staff probably knew about Elsa's powers and could have told the whole kingdom; maybe they only let the staff that hadn't found out yet go, or maybe they Silenced them), but they still had to have some people around, because they were there on coronation day and Anna clearly hasn't learned any decent skills like sewing or cooking, so she had to get her clothes and food somewhere. But for some reason, she can't talk to any of those people (maybe as royalty she's too far above them?); it's Elsa or pictures on the wall.

So this is maybe fifteen minutes into the movie and we're already rolling our eyes out of our heads at the ridiculousness of the premise, and all the while they keep throwing more songs at us, which are in a style that make us think, "Are we watching a Walt Disney Animation Studios movie or a Disney Channel movie? Because they kind of sound like the latter." And then Hans shows up and I've finally identified the surprise villain. Have you noticed that since Toy Story 2, John Lasseter movies all have a character who turns out to *surprise!* be evil? After Toy Story 3, Pixar stopped doing it and all the surprise villains moved to Disney Animation. It's kind of fun to see how early we can figure it out, but sometimes I wish for a good old-fashioned villain to shout "Fie!" at throughout the story.

There's also some crude humor in the songs, and we really don't like that. So that and the style, and the fact that most of the songs seemed to either be really repetitive or developing plot points we found to be ridiculous, made it so that after "Love Is an Open Door," anytime someone started talking in a sing-song voice, we would groan inwardly. And that's how it was when "Let It Go" started.

"Let It Go" was kind of interesting, though, because even though we weren't excited to hear another song, this one turned out to be musically interesting. She was singing about how she was done being the good girl, while we felt she wasn't being much of anything other than "the girl who stays locked in her room." I've said this before and I'll say it again, I feel like Elsa was a very passive character--she was always acted upon, she never acted for herself. Even when she ran off to build an ice castle and sing about letting it go, it happened because Anna's actions caused her to lose her temper, and then she was running from responsibility.

But anyway, the first Sailor Moon musical we ever saw was the Sailor Moon SuperS musical, where Ami gets brainwashed and sings "Ii Ko wa Yameta (The Good Kid Quit)," so I figured "Let It Go" was something like that. Now Elsa was going to start being an antagonist and the story could finally get interesting.

...Or not. We didn't even see Elsa after that until Anna came to "talk" to her, and she acted pretty much exactly the same way she did before, only now she wasn't keeping her powers a secret. But she was still trying very hard (and failing) not to use them. And by the way, Anna had to have her memories of the ice powers erased so that her head wouldn't freeze or something? But then she finds out about them and nothing happens except that she continues to make terrible decisions. But she was still doing that, as they frequently point out, after the first incident but before the second. There are no character dynamics is what I'm saying.

Speaking of Anna's journey to get Elsa back. First of all, this is generally listed as evidence that Anna loves Elsa soooo much, and I guess that might be true, except that...okay, so when we were in kindergarten (it might have been first grade), we noticed that if we started crying, suddenly we had a lot more friends. And then when we stopped crying, they vanished. It didn't take long to figure out that these people were only taking action to get us to stop crying, because that made them uncomfortable. Somebody had to go find Elsa and get her to stop the eternal winter, and since Anna was family and it was her fault, she was posta (short for "supposed to"). It's still good that she took responsibility, but not necessarily unshakable proof of her love for her sister. For all we know, it was just a great excuse to finally get away from the castle, which we know she was dying to do. (I admit that we are bitter and jaded, and that may have colored our opinion somewhat.)

We also finally meet Kristoff, who sings about how reindeer are better than people. The first time we saw the movie, we found this endearing, because we can totally relate to that sentiment. The second time, we noticed how big of a jerk Kristoff was to Anna, so we didn't like him that much. We hate people, and we hate Anna, but we at least try to be congenial and not insulting.

...And pretty much our opinion of the movie goes on like this until the end. The scene where Anna and Elsa "talk" is just both of them talking over each other and refusing to communicate. The scene where Hans tells Elsa not to be a monster is stupid because if he's really trying to meet his evil goals, he'd just let her get killed. And even when Elsa fights, it's purely a defensive battle, which means once again, she is not acting but being acted upon. Maybe it counts as acting when she chose not to stab the one guy in the throat?

And then there's the act of true love business. We actually didn't have any problems with that the first time we saw the movie, because we agree that love doesn't always have to be romantic love. But the public reaction, where they're all like, "Yeah! Finally princesses that don't need a man to rescue them!" is just annoying, especially because it was the movie itself that gave the misleading hint that an act of true love might be a kiss, so it was like Disney itself was saying, "Look, we're rejecting all our other movies!" We saw a thing on Facebook that started with a picture of Anna and Elsa that said "Frozen is the first Disney movie that proves a woman doesn't need a man to rescue her," followed by a series of pictures of other Disney heroines with captions like, (Alice) "You dumb f****," (Mulan) "Let me tell you why that's BS," (Pocahontas) "Please, b******, I can paint with all the colors of your ignorance." It made us happy.

Oh, and the other thing. They spent the whole movie telling us that Anna is impulsive and doesn't think things through, and then she does something impulsively, without thinking it through, and this is supposed to prove that she truly loves her sister? I mean, yes, it was certain death, but a lot of things Anna did were certain death. Plus, it got really actiony and boring at the end. The movie, we mean.

So that's why we don't like Frozen. And what really drives me nuts is all the people talking about how Frozen finally gives young girls positive role models. We've asked (before Frozen came out) why people think Disney princesses are such dangerous role models, and the answers are along the lines of either they're passive and don't do anything for themselves, or they're impulsive and make bad decisions because of their need for a man. We always like, "Let me tell you why that's BS." Now here we have a movie that has Elsa, a passive princess who doesn't do anything (except wear a pretty dress) for herself, and Anna, an impulsive princess who makes bad decisions because of her need to be loved, and everyone's like, "Finally! The princesses I've been waiting for!" And we're like, "So really your problem with all the other Disney princesses is that they didn't have the undesirable traits that you describe." Great.

Well, I knew that was going to get long. Ha, ha, ha.

Today I'm thankful for finishing the translation we were working on, getting our hand bells yesterday, finally getting the CTR rings we ordered, getting to watch Agent Carter last night, and getting to order a pizza tonight.
10th-Jan-2015 10:40 pm (UTC)
I think you have used that icon before, because it's familiar to me (and I don't think I've made too much habit of browsing your userpics gallery), but I couldn't say when I last saw it so it's probably been a while. It's a funny one but I can see where it would only work in specific circumstances.

It's amusing reading about your early impressions of the movie here, because I think you were the ones who initially gave me the encouraging report that Olaf was not as terrible and annoying as he'd appeared from that short. But I can totally understand a neutral-positive opinion of a thing turning sour when everyone else seems to be giving it far more credit than it deserves, and dragging down or ignoring other more worthy things. (it's not quite the same, but there's at least one manga series I had to stop reading, because whenever I read it I could only feel outrage that it was being published in English and getting positive reviews from bloggers when another series with a similar premise that was So Much Better (my opinion) was still Japanese-only.)

Anyway, this was a good (and amusing) read and I'm basically in agreement: thanks for putting it all into words! Your point about the trolls and the possibility of more widespread existence of Powers was one I hadn't thought about before but it seems like it would've made more sense that way. On another note: maybe it's just that I like detail and historical fashion, but I've always thought that Elsa's pre-transformation dress and look was a lot prettier and seeing her sparkle-ice-dress just feels disappointing. (Also, practical thoughts about snow and temperature and cover yo'self up already, I'M cold looking at you! (we've had some below-zero ºF days here recently, and I shoveled a full foot of snow off my stairs and sidewalk yesterday morning (and more reasonable amounts every other morning of the last week) so I'm not feeling overly romantic about snow. Winter Weather Preparedness is Serious Business! :) ))
11th-Jan-2015 04:31 am (UTC)
It is possible that we used it before for something. We made it because it was so perfect for Renge and we do tend to feel like Renge sometimes, but then we stopped making our rants public, and even when we do criticize things, we generally try to sugarcoat it a little more.

I remember telling you that Olaf wasn't so bad! And in fact, I realized after I posted this post that I should have included our feelings about Olaf, because it would support our claims that we didn't hate Frozen just because we decided ahead of time that we hated it. We stick by our opinion that Olaf in the movie isn't nearly as bad as Olaf in the promotional short, and in fact, he's one of the best characters in the film. He and Sven are the only ones that consistently care about anybody other than themselves.

(Now we're curious to know what manga you're talking about. My first thought was Missions of Love versus Kanoko, because the main characters share some important traits, but the premises aren't that similar and I don't think Missions gets very positive reviews past volume one.)

We're glad you liked the post! We like her coronation dress a lot too. I'm also a fan of sparkles and I like that shade of light blue, so I would be in favor of the ice dress, except for a few things. Normally I don't mind if a female character shows a lot of skin (Jasmine, Ariel, Yoko from Gurren Lagann, etc.), but Elsa specifically puts on a more revealing dress when she's singing about being "liberated," and that rubs me the wrong way because I happen to like dressing modestly. And in that vein, the Elsa costumes at Disneyland do some strange things with the skirt's side slit that make me go, "Whoa, hey! This is a family park!" When Elsa stepped onto the stage for the sing-along thing at California Adventure, it almost looked like we were going to see right into her nether regions. (Incidentally, I think the costume for the Royal Theatre show is slightly different, making the slit somewhat more reasonable and proving once again that the Royal Theatre is the best.)

Tangentially, why does Anna's coronation ceremony dress look more elaborate than the new queen's?
11th-Jan-2015 03:12 pm (UTC)
Haha, no, not Missions of Love. That and Kanoko do have some similarities, but the manga each one is trying to be is different enough, and they're both done competently, so I can read them without feeling I must compare and hold grudges (and after all, Kanoko did have an English release, even if it was cut short, and I'm more understanding of companies not wanting to license-rescue than companies seeming to ignore a series altogether). I was referring to Dawn of the Arcana vs Akatsuki no Yona (but now Yona has the anime and Arcana doesn't, so HA! (I don't actually believe existence of anime automatically equals "better series" but I'll take what I get here)). I get especially picky about (perceived) quality when it comes to fantasy manga.

Hmm, I hadn't noticed the elaborate-ness of the coronation ceremony dresses. I guess Elsa's is more sedate: it still has all the embroidery, but the colours are darker and less contrasting so it doesn't look so flashy. Maybe out of her not wanting to draw attention to herself? Or to suggest the cool/under-control persona she hopes to maintain? The fashion expected of a mature adult vs youth? (like how bright, colourful furisode could be worn by girls until they were married/turned 20, and then they had to dress boring. (haha) (don't mind me, I just first learned about furisode after I was already "too old" to wear one, and it's been a source of regret to me all these years...))
11th-Jan-2015 09:07 pm (UTC)
It's true, I guess having an anime doesn't mean a series is superior, but obviously people must have liked it enough that they felt justified in animating it. Looking into it, it seems like Dawn of the Arcana only got licensed because it's Shogakukan, which has closer ties to Viz. It is frustrating that politics has so much to do with it, but on the other hand, it gives us freelancers a better idea of who to hound about work. But on the other other hand, Shueisha is so unaffiliated that it doesn't make things look so bright for Hana to Yume fans, alas.

Oh, you're right, Elsa's dress does have about the same amount of embroidery. We were just distracted by not liking the movie enough to remember details followed by Alice's obsession with Anna's coronation dress (bolstered by Gaston's assertion that Anna's dress is "the most royal dress any Disney princess has ever worn"). Those are all good suggestions, though. (On the bright side, there are billions of other people in the world who never got the chance to wear furisode (ourselves included).)
11th-Jan-2015 09:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting this! And in such detail, too. :) As I said, I have not seen Frozen, and my only knowledge of it comes from the Frozen storyline which has just finished up on Once Upon a Time this season, and hearing from people who liked it, so I was curious. And now, if I ever do see it, I'll be prepared, come what may! I actually am blessed/cursed with the ability to see things from both sides/the middle of the road, so it's good to get opinions from people I actually know and like on both sides of the matter.

11th-Jan-2015 09:51 pm (UTC)
We're glad you appreciated it! We've been gradually learning to get both sides on things (I like to think we're good at listening to both sides on certain issues, whether or not we agree, but it's kind of a new thing with movies), so we've been really interested in hearing what people find so appealing about Frozen. But we never know how to ask, and usually all we get is the music and ELSA!.

Anyway, we have noticed that about you--that you're good at looking at things from both sides. It's one of the things we admire about you.
12th-Jan-2015 02:08 am (UTC)
I'm right with you from already hating the Olaf design to the end of the movie. And it's funny, because Olaf turned out to be the least annoying character (despite his hideous design). Even the reindeer was annoying. Reindeer shouldn't move and act like puppies.

Aaanyhow, yes. Anna remains deliberately short sighted, Elsa finally learns not to abandon her responsibilities, and Olaf never has to melt.

Kristoff would have died as an orphan in an ice cutting accident - though it's unlikely the men would have let him do anything at all up there. I'd like to think they would have found him a family to look after him. And the reindeer? 15 years is their average life expectancy in the wild. About 20 being taken care of, but it would be an aging reindeer.

And the TROLLS. Oh, man, They come off as magical, wise and caring in the first scene, then they undermine Elsa's SMART idea that you really need to know someone before you committ to marriage. They immediately, not listening to anything the humans had to say, not caring if this was a thing they were even remotely interested in or not, dress them up and almost force them to get married. Wise? Not so much. Caring about others' feelings? Nope. Magical? Sorry, just silly now.

The abandoned castle with no servants is how things fall into major disrepair. Everything was AWFULLY clean for having no staff. And yes - the food and the clothing Anna didn't look like she could make herself...

Hans, I get. Hans was making a smart move to secure a place and fortune for himself, and I can understand why he'd not be that impressed (fall head over heels for) the flutterbrained Anna. Sure, he was also a terrible person, and just cruel in his comments, but at least his character makes sense.

So... yeah. I'm so with you. Soooo many problems with this movie. So many bad messages. It was definitely Visually Stunning, but that just doesn't make up for... well, anything. Maybe I could watch it on mute.
12th-Jan-2015 03:58 am (UTC)
It's so true about Olaf! Sometimes it seems like everything about the movie seems like it's designed to be annoying--we have one good character but he has to be ugly.

Basically, we agree with everything you said. Especially about the trolls not listening. There's a lot of refusal to listen in the movie, and the second time we saw it was after babysitting our neighbor's very willful four-year-old and her equally willful (and angry) two-year-old brother several times, so that was more than a minor annoyance, let me tell you.

Hans's personality mostly makes sense, but there are a few parts where it seems like he's playing up the nice guy act a little too much in the filmmakers' attempt to surprise us later. The whole "Don't be the monster they fear you are!" bit, for example. His plans would have worked out so much better if he had let her be that monster, let one of the guards kill her out of self defense, and tell the people of Arendelle, "Oops, we had to kill her."

The sad thing for us is the second time we saw it, we even thought, "And it's not even as pretty as I remembered." Plus seeing the characters would remind us of their infuriating stupidity. So maybe we could watch it if it were an edited version that just showed, like, the establishing shots and stuff.

Alternatively, there's the Royal Theatre version that cuts out all the really stupid stuff, except for a few things that were important to the story, but they poke fun at it. And they even improved the Olaf design!
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