A couple of months ago, I wrote a snarky little piece about shitty memes that writers like to share on Facebook and Twitter. On it, I provided an example of a shitty writer meme someone made with a still from the movie Frozen, which I went on to call Disney's shittiest movie. One of my Facebook commenters took issue with my assessment of the film, and so now I'm going to back up my claim.
I have a young daughter, so I've been forced to endure Disney's Frozen more times than I could ever want to (none), and every time I see it, I hate it just a little bit more.
Now I know what you might be thinking. This is just the grumbling of a cranky old man who has no business complaining about a movie that wasn't targeted at his demographic. That's not the case. I have no issues with most Disney movies. In fact, I quite enjoyed Tangled.
Nor is this a case of my sanity finally shattering after years of hearing that same goddamn song blasting out of every storefront I pass.
From a storyteller's point of view, Frozen is a big steamy pile of horseshit, and that's a stone cold fact. The entire plot hinges time and time again on some character or another making inexplicably stupid decisions. If there had been one character in the whole movie who stopped to think for a minute before doing something completely fucktarded, there wouldn't be a movie. Don't believe me? Let's take a stroll through the kingdom (or city? or both?) of Arendelle. But if you haven't yet seen this two-year-old film, be warned...
Here there be spoilers!
Princess Elsa was born with magical ice powers, which is wicked cool until one day when she injures her younger sister, Anna. The king and queen, loving parents that they are, hurry the girls into the forest to meet the troll king, who is best equipped to handle magic ice injuries. (Note: If you ever find yourself a king with an ice-magic-wielding daughter, it's probably a good idea to have someone trained in the ice-magic-injury-healing arts under your employ at the palace.)
Not only does the troll king fix Anna, but he throws in the added bonus of erasing all of her memories of Elsa's supernatural powers, because ignorance the best defense against any potential danger.
The immediate problem resolved, the king deals with the issue of Elsa's special powers the way any good parent would. He locks his daughter in a room indefinitely and hopes she'll learn to sort it out.
Sadly, before Elsa learns to control her powers, her parents are killed by a clumsy plot device.
After years of being made to feel like a dangerous freak of nature by her parents, Elsa opts to spend the three years following their deaths in continued isolation, even from her sister, who is going stir-crazy in her empty palace.
Finally, as Elsa comes of age, it's time for her to be coronated as queen, an event which requires her to interact with other human beings for the first time in close to a decade.
The celebration goes about as well as you'd expect for two girls who have been isolated from human contact for a decade. Anna falls for a guy who we'll later find out is only interested in Arendelle's throne, and Elsa flips the fuck out and starts icing shit.
Her big secret out in the open, Elsa fucks off into the wilderness, leaving a plague of eternal winter behind her. The only person who seems to give a shit that the queen has just abandoned her kingdom is her sister, who decides to go after her. The only person who seems to give a shit that the only remaining member of the royal family has also scampered off alone into the wilderness is absolutely no one.
Before riding off after Elsa, Anna decrees that Hans, the guy she just met, is in charge of the kingdom. And because the laws there are pretty fucking lax, everyone is cool with that.
It's a testament to how important it is to maintain a certain amount of communication with those you govern that, upon the return of Anna's horse, sans rider, the only two people who show any interest in going after the sisters are the cartoonishly evil Duke of Weselton, who sends out henchmen with explicit orders to murder the queen (in order to dispel the eternal winter Elsa has accidentally cursed the land with), and the only slightly more capable villain Hans, who also intends to do some murdering, but only after he marries one of the girls.
While shopping for dry clothes at a general store located in the middle of nowhere, Anna meets Kristoff, a wandering ice salesman, and enlists him to escort her to North Mountain (the naming of which is when I presume the writers officially stopped giving a fuck), as this is where he claims the cold is coming from.
Meanwhile, Elsa creates a bunch of sentient snow creatures for no reason, conjures up an ice castle, and sings the song.
Anna and Kristoff run into Olaf, one of Elsa's random, pointless creations from the previous sentence, who will be a source of annoyance for the rest of the movie. He leads them to Elsa's ice castle.
Anna enters the castle alone, and the two sisters catch up briefly before Elsa accidently ice-blasts Anna again, then decides that, for the safety of Anna and her companions, they need to leave. To enforce this safety measure, she conjures up a giant, violent snow monster to chase them off a cliff.
After surviving an 800 foot drop, Kristoff becomes concerned that the white streak in Anna's hair has become more pronounced, and takes her to see his friends, the trolls. These are the same trolls that treated her (and stole her memories) all those years ago.
While the specter of death looms over Anna, the trolls engage in a cheery musical number about what a great couple she and Kristoff would make.
Hans and the Duke of Weselton's two thugs, in the meantime, have made their way to Elsa's ice castle.
One of the thugs lines up a crossbow shot to take down Elsa, but Hans intervenes, saving her life. Why does he do this? I have no idea. His plan all along has been to marry Anna and kill Elsa. What difference does it make to him if the order of those events is reversed? This would be a perfect opportunity for him, as he doesn't even need to get his hands dirty. The only explanation I can come up with is that he isn't supposed to be revealed as the villain just yet.
Elsa does, however, manage to knock herself out with a falling ice chandelier, and is taken back to Arendelle in chains and thrown in a cell.
Back in the forest, the king troll has determined that the only thing that will keep Anna from freezing to death is an act of true love, because whatever. She rushes back home to Arendelle for some Hans lovin'.
This is when Hans chooses to reveal his sinister plan to Anna, Bond villain style, up to and including leaving her alone in an easily escapable situation to die. Seriously, he locks her in a room so securely that there's no way some moron will wander by in a few minutes to pick the lock with a carrot.
Hans goes on to inform the palace staff that Anna died in his arms just after they exchanged vows, which is totally legally binding, and that Elsa is a murderer and a traitor. And everyone is cool with that.
Then we get to the climax of the movie. There's a bunch of running and jumping and ice. Hans tries to kill Elsa, and fails because of love or some shit.
Anna and Elsa learn a valuable lesson that day. The true love required to heal Anna's frozen heart and bring summer back to the land, indeed, the truest love of all, is the love shared between two siblings.
Tragedies averted, it's time for the movie's villains to get what's coming to them. Hans, for his crime of attempted regicide, is sentenced to...
...wait for it...
...go home and be with his family. No, I'm not joking. They worded it a little more strongly. Something along the lines of "Let's see what his twelve brothers think about him now!" or some kind of bullshit. But the clear implication is that they were just going to up and send him back home.
As for the Duke of Weselton, also guilty of attempted regicide (though perhaps more difficult to prove), it is declared that trade sanctions will be imposed on his town (or duchy or whatever), which will no doubt affect the innocent commoners in both places much more severely than it will affect the duke himself.
I'm not suggesting I wanted them to go all Game of Thrones with these guys in a kids' movie, but some kind of consequence, even just an implied one, might have been in order.
The movie ends happily. Kristoff gets a new sled, Anna makes a joke about cup holders, and Don McClean starts writing a forty-minute song about the day comedy died.
More importantly, Elsa declares that Arendelle's gates will never be closed again, and her subjects don't seem too bothered about their queen being an ice sorceress.
So there you have it. Let this be a lesson to you fellow writers. If the plot of your story is dependent on every character doing the stupidest thing possible at every turn, you might want to consider writing a different story.
Or alternatively, your story might just go on to make all the money in the fucking world.