Reviews of The Snow Queen (1957) and related work

The Snow Queen (1957Moving picture, 74 minutes)

Its influences on anime, and especially Miyazaki Hayao, are quite understandable. I especially like the bandit girl, but the film as a whole is somewhat sterile.

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Frozen (2013Moving picture, 102 minutes)

Seen in 2015.

Swedish dub.

A witch is born. Her powers are obviously dangerous, very hard to control and religiously stigmatized, so her parents isolate her. She still accedes to the throne of quasi-Norway. The cat is out of the bag in a matter of hours.

Fantasy musical. Originally developed as an adaptation of, but ultimately almost completely disconnected from, Andersen’s The Snow Queen (1844). Another small step forward for mainline Disney musicals. The main innovation is the focus on familial love between two women, a brighter version of Tangled (2010) with men relegated to the sidelines. I also appreciate the almost total disavowal of Andersen’s Christianity as it might apply to Elsa’s powers. The humour is good: I often chuckled at little details. The genuinely dark parts are also good: The classicist death of the parents occurs almost on screen, and the main dramatic impetus has a suitably unclear internal source. This film would have been excellent if the musical element had been toned down or better integrated, if there had been less royalism, and if Hans had been neither face nor heel. The non-discovery of Elsa’s powers before she comes of age is terribly implausible, and her liberated appearance is that of a boring plastic bimbo, unfortunately the opposite of Rapunzel’s development in the preceding Disney princess feature.

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