After spending a week hanging out with our two-year-old niece, I’ve memorized the words to “Let It Go” and “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?”
Those two songs–especially “Let It Go”–are what made this movie insanely popular among pookies.
The movie itself isn’t up to snuff. Compare it to anything from Pixar, also owned by Disney now, or to any Marvel movie (owned by Disney, which owns STAR WARS, too, and possibly America–somebody needs to check), and the story in FROZEN is meh.
That’s easy to say. What’s hard? Fixing the movie.
So let’s try that, in the tradition of THE PHANTOM EDIT, which radically improved the hot mess known as STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE.
How did filmmaker Mike Nichols fix this travesty?
Nichols shortened or deleted a bunch of scenes with Jar-Jar Binks.
He killed the lamest possible explanation of the Force, which George Lucas suddenly decided, four films into this series, comes from microscopic bugs in your blood called “midi-chlorians.” Yeah, no joke. I believe this was one of the terms I had to memorize when studying plant cell biology.
He trimmed a lot of political nonsense and added deleted scenes that should never have been deleted.
Basically, he recut the entire film. And it was Good.
How can we recut FROZEN?
First edit: We kill off Olaf the Snowman, who is the equivalent of Jar-Jar Binks in this movie. The silly snowman is supposed to be comic relief, but he’s just goofy and not funny at all. There’s already comic relief in the form of Kristoff and his reindeer.
Second edit: Let’s give Kristoff more to do. If he’s going to be a bigger hero, he needs to try to prevent the villain from doing bad things in Act 1 and get banished to the snowy wastelands in Act 2, when Anna travels by herself out there and meets him while searching for her sister.
Third and biggest edit: Who’s the villain? In the original cut, the villain isn’t clear. Elsa is sort of a villain for leaving the castle and causing winter. Hans the prince is the villain in the end, but he’s sort of a surprise to the audience. He’s not in the beginning of the film and doesn’t drive events. He shows up late and there’s nothing really suspicious about his courtship with Anna, then bam, oh, he’s actually evil and after the throne. There’s no setup to this payoff. It’s a cheat.
The Duke of Weselton is sort of a villain, but he’s not driving the Ship of Evil, either.
Elsa and Anna’s parents (the king and queen), but that’s because of a storm, not nefarious deeds, done dirt cheap.
So: let’s make a real villain who’s there in the beginning, middle and end. Combine the roles of Hans and the Duke and get him there from the start.
Our combined villain, Duke Hans:
(a) sabotages the royal ship to cause the deaths of the king and queen, an act of sabotage that a common worker (Kristoff) notices and tries to stop, leading to his banishment to Snowy Reindeerville.
(b) Meanwhile, Duke Hans has spent years grooming and courting the much-younger Anna so he can marry into the throne.
(c) The final piece of the puzzle is planting the idea in Elsa’s head that she can only prevent harming her sister again by living the rest of her life in the icy wilderness, which would also mean giving up her right to the throne, but hey, those are pesky details.
(d) Kristoff is now critical to the climax, since he knows the big secret that Duke Hans is who murdered the king and queen, a secret Duke Hans would kill to protect.
Better, right? I’d be happy just whacking Olaf the Snowman, though giving the story a true villain who drives events and making Kristoff more than a Random Nice Guy does a ton to help the story.
How would you fix FROZEN? And how do you get a two-year-old girl to stop playing “Let It Go” seven times an hour? Hit me in the comments.
Updated: Fixed the cases of mistaken identity, like calling the reindeer and his master by the wrong names and saying Anna when I meant Elsa. Thanks to folks for seeing that. My niece would never forgive me. 🙂