Many Disney films have a remarkable way of showcasing compelling themes wrapped in a witty package that appeals to both adults and children. They never get too complicated, but these movies don’t shy away from presenting thoughtful and emotionally impacting realities about life.
Entertainment geared toward children is often rife with dumb plots and cliché platitudes that do nothing to stimulate a young mind, but Disney is not afraid of putting deep concepts in their stories. The Disney movie that perhaps best encapsulates what a good children’s film should be is “Frozen.”
The first time a person watches “Frozen” they might walk away with a slightly wrong impression of it. On the surface, it’s standard fare for a film of this genre, seemingly only offering superficial entertainment.
“Frozen” definitely contains some elements that are very common in these kinds of movies. It has many over-the-top characters such as Olaf the snowman and the mystical troll tribe. Throughout the film, there are musical scores so grand that they almost seem too majestic for this simple tale. There are many funny lines in the dialogue, and it has tons of goofy moments. It even has a happily ever after ending that concludes with the heroes joyously celebrating their victory while all of the villains get punished. It’s easy to see how somebody could disregard this movie as a bunch of nonsense.
However, if you watch it with a keener eye, it’s clear that the plot has an incredible message.
Agape love, a bond more powerful than all others, is the incredible central theme of “Frozen.” This movie demonstrates how the most potent force in the world truly is self-sacrificing love. The main characters are Elsa and Anna, two sisters who cherish each other more than anything else in the world.
Elsa was born with innate magic, having the ability to manipulate ice and snow to create amazing things. They were born into the royal family of Arendelle, and Elsa, the eldest child, knows one day she’s going to be anointed queen and undertake tremendous responsibility. However, as young kids, they live a relatively care-free life and enjoy having fun playing with Elsa’s special powers.
Things take a dark turn when Elsa accidentally injures Anna with an ice beam. Anna recovers with the help of a mystical troll tribe, but Elsa is greatly traumatized by the incident. She believes her powers are too volatile and vows to contain it for the safety of her family and the kingdom. Even though Elsa enjoyed using these supernatural skills, she makes the tough decision to stifle them.
The troll tribe wipes the memories Anna has of Elsa’s magical powers. From that moment, Elsa keeps her distance from Anna because she’s petrified that she’ll accidentally end up killing her. Elsa isolates herself from the rest of the world and chooses a secluded lifestyle so she won’t ever cause another person harm.
On the night that Elsa comes of age and is officially anointed the ruler of Arendelle, she gets into a heated argument with Anna. With her temper brewing, Elsa’s powers are accidentally triggered, and after being contained for so many years, it unleashes a powerful flurry that encapsulates the whole kingdom in ice. Elsa quickly runs away and reaches a remote mountain where she can be alone for the rest of her life, totally cutting herself off from society. She’s willing to give up her title of queen and all of the privileges that come with it just so everybody else can be safe.
Elsa doesn’t realize she has inadvertently caused Arendelle to be shrouded in an eternal winter. Anna takes it upon herself to brave the immense cold, so she can bring back her sister and save everybody. She is willing to go on a harrowing trek to help rescue the nation she loves and not give up on her sister. Even though Anna knows her sister’s powers are very unstable, and that she would be putting her life in grave danger to go near Elsa, she disregards her own safety in favor of convincing Elsa to come back and save the kingdom. After braving extreme weather conditions with the help of Kristoff, a friendly mountain man, Anna finds Elsa and tries to plead with her to go back to Arendelle. Elsa refuses, and in a moment of unbridled rage where she can’t contain her powers, accidentally shoots an ice beam at Anna’s heart. Anna slowly starts to freeze to death, and only an act of true love can save her.
Toward the end of the film, after many events filled with dramatic tension, Elsa is sentenced to death after the two-faced evil prince Hans falsely accuses her of intentionally murdering Anna. At the same time, Anna, who is not dead yet, believes she needs to kiss Kristoff to stop the ice from overcoming her body. On the brink of death, as she’s running toward Kristoff, Anna sees that Elsa is about to get beheaded, and she quickly puts herself between Elsa and the sword. Anna was willing to give her own life so Elsa’s could be spared. Anna seemingly freezes to death, and it looks like Elsa’s worst nightmare has indeed come true. Devastated by the loss of her sister, Elsa starts to weep uncontrollably, and her tears fall on Anna’s frozen body.
At that moment, Anna miraculously unfreezes and it becomes clear that the “act of true love” was her self-sacrifice for her sister. This act saved both of their lives, and Elsa realizes that with the embrace of love and affection, she can control her powers. Elsa unfreezes Arendelle and liberates it from the brutal winter.
“Frozen” shows us that we should never underestimate the astounding strength of a love so strong where people are willing to lay down their lives for others.
Eric Goldin is a Santa Clarita resident.