03 May 2014

Looking Back: 157 Days Since ‘Frozen’ Was Released!

This movie is so fetch.

The recent retrospectives and tributes to the movie Mean Girls make me wonder why no one is paying tribute to another modern-day classic on its anniversary. Yes, it’s hard to believe, but it’s been 157 days since Frozen was released, changing American popular culture and the lives of countless little girls and gay men forever. My friends, this is no time to let it go.

Who among us doesn’t quote the unforgettable dialogue? “Who’s the funky-looking donkey over there?” “That’s no blizzard. That’s my sister.” “Wait, what?” And of course, “I’m Olaf and I like warm hugs.”

Who among us doesn’t sing “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” and “Let It Go” at least 157 times a day? And who among us doesn’t enjoy Ice Wednesdays? You know, where you freeze something, in homage to Princess Elsa, then say to everyone you see, “Have an Ice Wednesday!” I mean, everybody does that, right?

We live in a different world, thanks to Frozen. For the past 157 days, in classrooms and on playgrounds, and on car rides that seem much longer than they really are, we have seen the global empowerment of little girls, largely demonstrated in their refusal to stop singing “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” and “Let It Go” 157 times a day. Society has changed since the movie’s initial release.

You can just feel the empowerment, can’t you?

It’s time to take a closer look at how the movie was made. Did you know that Josh Gad was originally slated to play handsome Prince Hans — until directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee discovered that Gad really is made entirely of snow, and cast him as the lovable snowman Olav? Did you know that Frozen was originally planned as a live-action film — until the movie’s star, Adele Dazeem, froze to death on the set and had to be replaced by Idina Menzel? Did you know that Glee’s Lea Michele lobbied to play Sven, the reindeer? And did you know that Kristen Bell is also in this movie?

See? Kristen Bell!

But Frozen is held together by the extraordinarily energetic normalcy of Alan Tudyk as the Duke of Weselton. Yes, the character is very short, and yes, he looks like a weasel, two things that are not true of Tudyk. Unlike most of the roles Tudyk has played, the Duke keeps his clothes on. Yet in Frozen, Tudyk is an anchoring star who is, in effect, the Jamesian central consciousness. That’s where his art is most decisively revealed, and it’s why he’s perfectly, irreplaceably cast in Frozen. The Duke’s perspective — “Elsa is weird, and I can make a boatload of money here” — is also that of the Disney studio, and Tudyk brings it to life.

Ladies and gentlemen, your Jamesian consciousness du jour.

Frozen is certainly, deservedly a classic, sure to be remembered long after other movies from the same period — Philomena, Homefront, OldBoy — are forgotten. Also, did I mention that Kristen Bell is in this movie?

Coming Up!
What Might the Frozen Characters Be Doing 157 Days Later?
Can You Guess Famous Frozen Lines from Just a Freeze-Frame?
Take Our Frozen Super Quiz!
Tina Fey Says the Frozen Musical Will Be Better Than the Mean Girls Musical: “Disney Has More Money Than I Do!”
Looking Back: 158 Days Since Frozen Was Released!

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