I like the movie Frozen. There, I said it. I'm not afraid to admit it and I will happily wander around town in my Olaf t-shirt, singing "let it go!" at the top of my lungs. I know many of my contemporaries are so tired of the songs that they want to rip their hair out every time they hear a note. The movie was just released on DVD yesterday and already their eyes are bleeding from the repeated viewings their children have made them sit through.
Countless hours have surely been spent by some parents combing through the aisles of Wal-Mart, Target, JCPenneys and the Disney store looking for the latest and greatest toy, and probably even more time hanging around on eBay, waiting to put in a last minute bid on that plush Olaf that everyone seems to want. Disney seems to have dropped the ball big-time on the merchandising for this one, but we can talk about that later. Today, it is about me.
Before we even saw the movie, (several weeks before it even came out in theaters) Olaf and Elsa moved into our house. This is what happens when Daddy takes K to the mall because Mommy and B are at a Girl Scouts event and Daddy doesn't know what to do with K. A trip to the mall almost always includes a walk through the Disney store and K convinced Daddy to buy her Olaf (the 12" plush version.) Not wanting B to feel left out, K picked out the plush Elsa for her. Over the next few weeks, we would hear from our girls how much they wanted to see the movie, every time a trailer came on the Disney channel or we saw a billboard or poster.
Seeing the movie late in November did not dampen the girls' ardor for the movie and I knew as they walked out signing the songs that we were in trouble. The soundtrack quickly joined our collection and made its way to both Rob and my iPods and various books followed. For Hanukkah and Christmas, Anna and Elsa dolls appeared, along with an Anna plush to match B's Elsa plush, and of course, the costumes. I happened to track down the Else costume in B's size at JCPenney's before Hanukkah, along with Anna for K.
In the midst of all of this, the girls were (and still are) singing and smiling and engaged. They know the words, they know the characters, and they love the story.
As a Mom, I love seeing this, but these are not the only reasons why I am drawn to this movie. As a child, the Disney movies I was introduced to all included some type of damsel in distress. That was the mold and model and there did not seem to be anything wrong with that. (If it ain't broke, don't fix it.) Forget Dreamworks or Sony or any other animation company. They did not exist. Disney was the only game in town at that time and they stuck with what worked.)
You've probably seen the video or pictures or articles that circulate on Facebook, giving the pared down version of the princesses and why we should not be so quick to glorify them. It is funny and has more than a hint of truth, but this is more personal. Much of what I saw as a child, was girls who had things that I did not - money, a big house, a pet tiger, beautiful dresses, a fairy godmother, the list goes on. While I felt I had a certain kindred spirit in Cinderella, especially on those cold days when I was forced to trudge through several feet of snow to haul firewood, I never had a fairy godmother show up and shuffle me off to the ball in a pumpkin.
And the men. Of course all of the Disney stories I grew up with had a prince, a rescuer, a guy to solve all of a girl's problems. Although I probably knew somewhere in the back of my mind that I did not really need a man, I always wanted one. A romantic at heart, those movies fed my need to have someone sweep me off my feet and take all of my cares away. As a young girl, I doubt I identified with that part of the story as much, but it certainly laid a foundation for that high school girl that I grew into, looking for love in all the wrong places. I had no idea of my own self worth and really had no concept of how a girl was supposed to function in life without a man by her side. I think much of this was sub-conscious, but it was there nonetheless. (It did not help that I lost my dad at 14, so really never had a guy's input into the whole "dating" thing as I got older.)
So what it is about Frozen that speaks to me? One part is the sisters. I have 2 and although we fought like cats and dogs sometimes (have I ever told you about the time Candy threw a potato at me?), we still have that bond, which has grown stronger (I think) as we've gotten older, despite living so far apart. With B and K, I see that bond. Yes, they fight like cats and dogs, but at the same time, B is very protective of K and K tries everything she can think of to be included in B's world. I only hope that as they get older, they appreciate each other.
Beyond that, I love what the movie tells my girls. It is o.k. for a girl to go out and try to save the day. It is o.k. for the girl to tell the guy "no, it's o.k., I've got this. You stay here and keep the home fires burning, I'm going to save the world." I love that my girls have a strong example (besides me, of course), of a girl charging headlong into the fray and slaying dragons (or giant snow marshmallows.) Because we know that at these ages (3 and 8), they aren't going to listen to a thing Mom says and would rather do what Disney tells them to do. And as a reformed (not quite) choir geek, I love the music. I love that my girls walked out of the theater singing the songs and that I find myself singing them even after the kids are out of the car. I love that the music was good enough to make it seem like a large production and that they are already considering making it into a Broadway show.
So that's my reasoning, in a nutshell. Just don't ask me how I feel about Disney's merchandising on this one and the efforts to locate more plush Olaf dolls. (We keep ours hidden sometimes, because we don't trust the world not to try and steal it. He didn't get to go to Disneyland the last time either.) Come and talk to me in a month or two, when our dvd copy is a little more worn out. I might be singing a different tune at that point but for now, I still like the movie and I'm not afraid to admit it.