|All manner of stuff that have some connection to me, including stuff that for whatever reason, I can't or won't post myself.|
I watched the latest Disney princess movie a couple of days ago, on information that it was actually surprisingly good, showing that Disney has in fact progressed on gender politics, that and if you're familiar with my characters, ya'll know that a badass ice-sorceress is of interest to me, so yeah, the movie did in fact deliver on those factors that got me in the cinema when I've given other recent Disney stuff a miss, always did have a fairly touch-and-go relationship with their movies... Pixar aside. But this movie not only delivered on those aspects I was hoping to have done well but delivered in ways I wasn't expecting, but were very pleased to see.
Firstly, I have to say the obligatory Disney movie songs sat better with me here than they have in the past, I've always felt that characters breaking into song in a movie just sends a fracture through suspension of disbelief, but (as far as my basic understanding of music goes) there were some pretty impressive vocals coming from the leads in their big numbers, and the character insights they provided worked brilliantly, the counterpoint between Anna and Elsa on their shared songs really showed their different perspectives, how they'd been shaped by their environment, and Elsa's songs gave me chills at some points, hitting a little closer to home than I expected.
There was also a very nicely executed twist that I won't spoil here that subverts classical Disney/fairytale tropes, that actually retroactively makes sense on both a logical level and a performance level, and casts one music number in a whole new light...
However, the main thing I took away from the movie that surprised me was how much it seemed to have LGBT subtext in a similar manner to how we all know the X-Men for example has, stay with me on this one, I'll explain.
See, Elsa really is the star of the story, despite Anna's tenuous claim to role of protagonist, Anna's arc of growing up starved for attention in a very insular environment (for her own safety naturally) and her need to get out into the world and eventually grow more wise about it is well-executed, but still takes backseat to Elsa coming to terms with her true self, proudly wearing her nature on her sleeve after getting forced out into the open and away from her family by the hostility of the narrow-minded and the fear and ignorance of the populace.
Indeed her initial mantra of "Conceal, don't feel" that she lives by in order to try and repress her powers rather than learning to use them safely is eerily reminiscent of equal parts closet-dwelling and "praying the gay away" And was crucially caused by a combination of both her upbringing, where her parents with the best of intentions thought it the best way to manage her differences, and her own outlook built on a lifetime of fear and self-isolation.
I've seen at least one review that rather superficially tried to paint this movie as still somewhat regressive on gender politics because "the woman's power ends up hurting those around her". That assessment annoyed me as it completely overlooked a few key factors, that a lifetime of repression prevented Elsa from healthily interacting with that aspect of herself, and so she lashed out or lost control when others pressured her because she never learned how to let power out the right way, her lifetime of isolation to avoid discovery also naturally hampered her social skills. That review also forgot that certain parties (including corrupt businessmen looking out for their own business at any cost) pushed her to the brink, harassed her, pursued her, tried to hurt and kill her, you really have no case to complain when someone strikes back when you're raining crossbow bolts (or regressive politics and ingrained persecution) on them.
Finally, and most tellingly, when Elsa gained full control of her abilities in the end, she was able to undo the harm she caused, she was able to repair relationships and expel from the kingdom those that exploited the prejudice against her for their own personal gain. She made the kingdom a more beautiful, loving, and overall better place, the castle festooned with icy decoration and the gates of the palace, formerly sealed for the protection of the royal sisters, now open to all.
Now... I don't want to claim I know the authorial intent, but it would certainly seem that the subtext is there if you choose to see it.