Fantasy and Frozen

I’ve scheduled this post a couple of times, and it never seems to post, so it’s originally from right before Thanksgiving. Maybe my server just hates Frozen.

I’ve been watching movies that give me a “fall” vibe, so I rewatched Frozen 2 recently. It’s got an autumn setting and plenty of pretty fall forest imagery. And I came to the realization while watching that I might like it a bit better than the original film. It doesn’t have any one song as iconic as a couple of the songs in the first one, but I think I like the story better, maybe because it’s more of a fantasy story and less of a Disney princess story. As much as the first one tried to interrogate the usual Disney princess tropes (like mocking the idea of marrying someone you’ve just met after you sing a duet together), it was still pretty princessy. In the second, I feel like there’s more worldbuilding and some actual development of the magic instead of there just being magic because it’s a fairy tale. Maybe that’s the distinction: the first one was more of a fairy tale, while the second was a fantasy story that actually developed the culture and history of the world and looked into what the magic was all about. We seldom learn much about the world where a Disney princess movie is set. There’s little culture or history. We just know there’s a prince.

I found myself thinking that you could take the story of this film and make a decent “serious” live-action fantasy — not in the way that Disney has been doing live-action remakes, but making a different movie with the same core story. Take out Olaf, the musical numbers, and the cutesy stuff like pretending the reindeer are talking — basically, the stuff aimed at kids — and treat the history and the battles more realistically, and you could have something that fits in the Lord of the Rings mold. Thinking about how I’d rewrite it, I think I’d pretty much ignore the first movie and just start with the given that there’s the queen with ice powers and her more extroverted sister, then bad stuff happens in their kingdom and they have to go on a quest to resolve it by facing their family’s history. I might make Kristoff one of the reindeer herders, so Anna meets and gets to know him on the quest rather than them being in an established relationship with all the waffling about proposing. Or possibly he’s someone she meets on the journey to get to the place where the enchanted forest is. Have real battle scenes in the flashbacks and real fighting in the present. CGI could make the water horse look really cool.

I noticed that on Disney+ you can get a version dubbed in Norwegian. I’ll have to try watching these movies that way when I’m a little more advanced in my language study. Right now, I can read a lot pretty well, but I can’t seem to understand much when I hear the language spoken. I don’t even pick up many words on the train announcements on Slow TV (real-time videos of train journeys in Norway — you can watch it online, and it’s nice and relaxing. They just put a camera in a train, so it’s like being on a train ride, watching the scenery go by). They’re using words that are in my vocabulary, but I don’t pick up on them when I hear them. The only time I’ve been able to actually follow and understand what a Norwegian was saying was in a video I saw of a speech by the current king of Norway. I could understand him, but he apparently is considered to have an American accent, since he spent a good chunk of his childhood and went to elementary school in the US during WWII. Maybe watching a movie with a familiar story in that language will help me tune my ear into it. I don’t think I can count on running into the king if I ever go there to travel, so I need to be able to understand what I hear. Most people there do speak good English, but it’s good to be able to understand some of what you’re hearing. That also makes eavesdropping more entertaining.

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