Column: Why is 'Frozen' so popular?

Nov. 27: Winter warmth: Disney's animated "Frozen" is a 3-D adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tale "The Snow Queen." (Courtesy Disney/MCT)

It seems like "Frozen" has taken over the world, but is it deserved?

There are countless Internet memes, YouTube covers, Buzzfeed articles and now an Oscar for the Disney flick.

Not only does "Frozen" have the Internet buzzing, it has received critical praise and enormous box office success. I have even heard people say it's the best Disney film since "Beauty and the Beast."

But why has the film made such an impact and does it warrant such praise?

You cannot talk about the success of "Frozen" without comparing it with past Disney films.

"Princess and the Frog," "Tangled" and "Brave" were Disney's first attempts in experimenting with princesses who were strong and independent women, but the films never quite got it right.

Although Tiana has a strong work ethic and career ambitions, the plot line was too complicated and she ultimately still follows the "marry a man she barely knows" cliché.

Rapunzel is the new generation's version of Cinderella. She is not dependent on a man and her personality is more developed compared to some of the early princesses, but she is not complex or dynamic either.

I don't even want to start on Merdia. Yes, she doesn't get married and she shoots arrows, but she is also whiney and very self-centered, not to mention her appearance makes her look younger than the other princess, which is a cop-out to why she is reluctant to get married.

"Frozen" managed to have not one, but two strong and interesting female characters.

First, the relationship between Elsa and Anna is very complex. Being close when they were young, but being forced apart for several years makes for an interesting dynamic.

Anna is clearly hurt and confused on how Elsa treats her, yet wants her approval and hopes to have the same close relationship they once had.

Elsa, being the older sister, does everything she can to protect Anna to the point where she completely shuts her out and ultimately makes her situation worse than need be.

The film does a good job focusing on the two female leads without completely ignoring the side characters. Olaf, Kristoff and Hans all add to the film without taking over the plot.

Frozen also stands out with its music, featuring songs that are the most memorable and catchy Disney renditions since "The Lion King." However, compared to other films, most "Frozen" songs are a bit more mature.

Not to say kids can't enjoy them, but the music sounds almost like a Broadway performance as opposed to a children's musical.

The visuals in this movie are breathtaking. The animators put their best foot forward and it really shines, especially in the "Let it Go" sequence.

But is Frozen perfect? No.

Even though it develops it's character much better than previous Disney films, they could have expanded on them as well. An extra 15 minutes could have made the film a lot stronger.

"Frozen" is still a very strong film, and is probably the best Disney animated film in the last five years, if not longer.

For now, the success of "Frozen" has opened the door for Disney to experiment with more complex story lines and to create more dynamic female characters.


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