Just two days ago, Rin explained some of the problems involved with this upcoming Disney movie, so I suggest you consider that post a companion piece to this one and go read.
You back? Okay, let’s start by picking apart this trailer until you no longer want to see the movie.
From the trailer we can gather several things. There are two sisters: Anna, our heroine, and Elsa, our evil witchy villain. There are two handsome men in the picture: our typical Disney prince, the Duke of Weselton, and our manly mountain, Kristoff. Both male characters seem interested in dating/marrying Anna, based on the trailer. There is also a ridiculous Snowman character who I bet is going to end up on my short list of ridiculous Disney sidekicks, right up there with the gargoyles from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
I’m going to take a not-so-wild guess about what is going to happen in this movie. Anna is supposed to marry or was being courted by the Duke of Weselton, whom she does actually like and think is attractive. Eventually, Elsa will go evil for some reason, probably because she’s betrayed by the man she loves. As a result of the heartbreak, she either freezes her heart or it freezes magically on its own because of the trauma. Then she goes crazy and freezes everything in her heartbroken rage. The Duke gets called by the King or some other nobleman to help stop this evil witch. Despite Anna’s pleas to him not to go, he does so anyway because of duty and honor. Anna will then set out on her own to stop this confrontation between Elsa and her Duke.
Along the way, she bumps into Kristoff, who will team up with Anna under the pretense of something (I haven’t figured out what yet) but really he will be scared that the bumbling blonde girl will die on her own without his help. Because they are both attracted to each other, Kristoff will constantly be on Anna’s case about loving the Duke. Eventually Anna will reveal that she is getting involved in this fight not just because of the Duke but also because the evil witch is actually her sister. Despite the fact a girl wanting to save her boyfriend seems like a pretty legit reason to go to battle (and it would be enough motivation for any male character), Kristoff will see Anna’s concern for her sister as her character having depth, instead of just being a “silly girl” who is in love. I’m not sure how the showdown will go, but I’m guessing Elsa will kidnap the Duke and by the end of the movie Elsa will fall in love with the Duke and Anna will end up falling in love with Kristoff. Unless, of course, the movie demonizes the Duke (who seems to have a much smaller role), making him a more Gaston-esque character who will either be revealed as the villain or will just be carelessly tossed aside. But I think the first scenario is more likely.
I think it’s pretty obvious that Anna has to save Elsa, but even with this sisterly aspect, I’m confident that most of Anna and Elsa’s motivations will be constantly shaped by the men around them whom they are or are not in love with. So I have no hope of this being like Brave, a movie for girls which doesn’t center on romance.
This is really a shame because, as Rin pointed out, the original story features almost all women with the exception of the one male character, Kai, who actually ends up being the damsel in distress who our female character, Gerda, has to save. Let me say that again: if Disney had stuck to the original story, we would have had an almost entirely female cast with our main female protagonist saving the male character, reversing standard fairytale roles. On top of that, every character is complex and interesting. Despite the Snow Queen being the bad guy, you sympathize and feel bad for her. Here is a short twnety-five minute cartoon based on the Snow Queen. I highly recommend you watch it. Not only is the art beautiful, but you’ll immediately understand how great this story could have been as an animated feature-length film.
These many problems aside, Anna does seem fun and spunky, which is a nice for a blonde gal like me, since every other blonde heroine in Disney (and yes I include Rapunzel in this) is pretty much a feminist nightmare who has no autonomy and constantly needs a man to save her. But allow me to smack myself in the face and say get over it, Lady Geek Girl. Because even if I hate most (if not all) of the blonde Disney princesses, at least I have several to choose from.
One of the biggest issues with this movie is that all the characters are white people. And don’t tell me it’s because the movie is set in Europe before there were any people of color in those areas, because 1) the movie is most likely set in a fictional kingdom, not any real place, and 2) if you really think there were no people of color in Europe before a certain time period then you maybe need to read up on your history a little more.
But even if none of the above things were true, Disney could have very easily decided to do a movie about characters of color. Instead they decided to do the same old typical white European fairytale. Just because Disney has a few princesses of color does not give them a pass. The vast majority of Disney characters are still white and there is almost always no representation for people of color in any capacity.
Out of all the stories Disney could have chosen, remaking The Snow Queen seems like the wrong move, not only because they are butchering the original version, but also because the story lacks sorely-needed diversity. It would have been easy enough to add more diversity to this movie, but Disney seems content to feed us the same cookie cutter bullshit they’ve always fed us. So I’m not expecting this movie to be anything new. It might be entertaining, but it’s just going to be the same old Disney crap. Watch at your own peril.