Monday, May 26, 2014

Kids Are Icebound by ‘Frozen’ Fervor - New York Times

Kids Are Icebound by ‘Frozen’ Fervor Disney’s Animated Film ‘Frozen’ Has Some Children Obsessed By JOANNA COHENMAY 16, 2014

Like a very large portion of the population with children of preschool age, we were caught up in the Frozen craze.  The movie came and went without much notice, but by the time that the singalong version came out in the theater, T's entire daycare was singing it.  He had even started to learn the words to 'Let it Go', and we felt compelled to find the video so he could at least learn it properly. We saw multiple videos of it, T somehow finds everything about Frozen, even a video series of styling hair according to  the main characters.  And we put it in our Netflix queue so that when it came out we got it and watched it a few times.  But with all that saturation, I still think it is a very good movie.

1.  The Let It Go video is a great level up sequence. In addition to the song being an anthem to independence, the music video is a great sequence of a character growing in capability. The character of Elsa is shown creating ice and snow figures in increasing complexity as the song progresses, which is how people learn skills in real life.

2.  The characterization is meant for good role playing. I found myself thinking of the characters as Fate core, Fate Acceleated, or Risus characters, with strengths, weaknesses, troubles, character traits that get compelled and applied in many ways.  And the way the characters act is basically a superhero team-up story line, with the main characters learning how to work together as they go.

3. The characters have strengths, weaknesses, and character traits that help and hinder them (a plainer way of stating 2).  The things that makes each character strong and compelling are also the things that gets them into trouble. No Mary Sue or damsel in distress characters. Even the bad guys have strong characterizations (which is why it is hard to recognize the bad guy)

4. Even the ditzy one has strength of character, to include strength in the physical world, not just amorphous inner strength.

5. A female lead has as part of her characterization "likes math" (specifically geometry).  Math, physics and chemistry matter in this world.

6.  Relationships are not just about romance. The tendency of people to think that relationships are only about romanced is addressed by the problems it causes and the fact that the key plot point is that the characters make this assumption and forget that the prophecy could be referring to other types of love.

Now, we still think that other sources of songs such as Sound of Music and Les Misarables are more welcome than Frozen, but for a film that is a source of influence, Frozen is not all that bad.  And, to answer the question in The Motherlode (NYTimes) article on the subject (Parents respond to the 'Frozen' frenzy), we are of the opinion that the Idina Menzel version of 'Let It Go' over the Demi Lovato version.
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