Movies

“Let It Go” is a song of evil

By which I mean, the popular song from Disney’s Frozen is not an anthem for an attitude that would be at all healthy to have in the real world.  Embracing indifference is not exactly something to celebrate.

After all, let’s not forget what the song is about: a sad, scared, angry queen embracing indifference toward the world.  The philosophy she is deciding on is evil.

Let’s look at some lyrics that reflect the evil Elsa’s embracing:

  • Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know – Hints out how she was dealing with her problem wrongly from the beginning.
  • Let it go, let it go, Turn away and slam the door – She’d rather evade her problems than face them.
  • Let the storm rage on – She has no consideration for who that storm may be hurting.
  • The fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all – She’s replacing them with all new fears, particularly the fear of facing others with her uncontrollable powers, or letting others, like her sister, try to help her at all.
  • No right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free – Oh dear!  The most obviously evil lyrics here.  No right or wrong?!  Yikes.
  • You’ll never see me cry – She’s embracing indifference.  Not good.
  • I’m never going back, the past is in the past – It’s one thing to forgive yourself and move on, it’s another thing to stop caring completely, which is clearly what she’s doing.
  • The cold never bothered me anyway – Again, she’s embracing indifference.  And she’s lying.  Her powers have always bothered her and they’re still bothering her.

So, it’s a song about embracing indifference toward the world and her self-image.  Though cathartic, it’s clearly not the right solution to her problem.

And the storytellers know this, of course.  The song isn’t her climactic solution to her problems after which she lives happily ever after.  The song portrays her creation of even bigger problems, both in her own heart and the outside world that she’s cutting herself off from and plunging into eternal winter.  Her living alone in an ice castle out in the mountain boonies is never portrayed as a good thing.  In “letting go” of her concern for control of her powers and her self-image (an effort which initially came from a genuinely good place, even if she was dealing with it wrong from the very beginning, after being traumatized by injuring her little sister), she still holds on to the fear that keeps her away from her kingdom.  If she was truly “letting go” of what she needed to let go of (her self-image fear, her over-self-consciousness), she wouldn’t feel any need to stay away from her kingdom and those she loves, particularly her sister.

Story-wise, the song serves the same purpose as Sweeney Todd’s “Epiphany” (though Todd’s pledge is much more sinister – to murder innocent victims until he can get revenge) and as Elphaba’s “Defying Gravity.”  In Sweeney Todd and Wicked, such goal-changing decisions eventually lead to tragedy in one form or another.  Fortunately in Frozen, Elsa realizes her mistake and changes by the story’s end, thanks to her sister.  Still, her song is about a character who’s been struggling with something and is deciding to embrace a clearly wrong answer.

But of course that’s also what gives the song it’s power, in the dramatic sense; we can relate to Elsa’s emotions completely, even if we know she’s choosing the wrong thing.

But that’s also why it’s a bit funny to see videos of young children belting out the song proudly.  They’re singing about becoming evil.  Yes, I know it may be over some of their heads, but I still find it funny.  The music is great, but its beauty and power are misleading, as is Elsa being all smiley and happy about it; the philosophy she’s embracing is ugly and tragic.  After all, I don’t think we want children to actually let go of things like worrying about right and wrong.

The right answer to Elsa’s problem: love (as Elsa learns by the film’s end).  The wrong answer: cold indifference (as Elsa embraces with “Let It Go”).

So when you sing “Let It Go” while taking your evil shower (Sims joke), let’s hope you’re not singing the lyrics with actual conviction.  Because that would be, you know, evil.

By S P Hannifin, ago
Year's best

My 2013 favorites

I’ve been posting my favorite movies and books of the year since 2010.  This year, I’m a little late in posting, but there were still some movies from 2013 that I wanted to see.  So here are my 2013 favorites.  For books, the nominees are books I finished reading for the first time in 2013, regardless of their publication date.  Movies and film scores must have been first released in the USA in 2013.  I’m not doing a TV show this year because I didn’t really watch much, and wasn’t very impressed with what I did watch.  So, only five awards this year.

Year’s best live action film:

gravity

Year’s best animated film:

frozen2

Year’s best film score:

Year’s best nonfiction book:

zen

Year’s best fiction book:

neverending

By S P Hannifin, ago
Movies

Interesting movies for 2013

Here are the movies I’ll be interested in checking out in the upcoming year:

oz

Oz: The Great and Powerful

March 8, 2013.  Mixed feelings about this.  While I think the overall idea could be a ton of fun, I’m worried it will turn out generic and uninspired.  But I’ll give it a chance.

croods

The Croods

March 22, 2013.  This is the film one of my animation mentors from DreamWorks was working on while I studied animation.  The trailers were funny, but I still don’t know what the overall story is about.

host

The Host

March 29, 2013.  Yes, it’s based on a book by the author of the Twilight, but this one doesn’t look like romance, so hopefully I’ll be safe from such girlish daydreams.  The main reason I’m interested in this film is director Andrew Niccol, in whose work I have yet to be disappointed.

jp

Jurassic Park 3D

April 5, 2013.  This is one of my favorite films of all time.  I can’t wait to see it in 3D.  Roar.
Man of Steel

June 14, 2013.  I normally have no interest in Superman, and have yet to see any film or TV show featuring this silly flying alien man in tights.  However, the trailers were intriguing, and with a screen story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, a screenplay by David S. Goyer, and the awesome eye for fantastic visuals of director Zack Snyder, I’ll check it out.

mu

Monsters University

June 21, 2013.  While Pixar slips away from the glory it once was, and continues to descend into the depths of series-dom, we are given a prequel to Monsters, Inc.  Honestly, this looks rather uninspired, but I’ll give it a chance just because they are Pixar.

dm2

Despicable Me 2

July 5, 2013.  OK, even though I just said that series-dom was a depth to be descended to, some films have obvious sequel potential.  I still have no idea what this sequel will be about, but the first one was funny enough that I think I will enjoy seeing these characters return.

pacificrim

Pacific Rim

July 12, 2013.  From director Guillermo del Toro.  I guess it’s about giant robots fighting mystical monsters near the coast of the Pacific.  The trailer looked awesome; definitely a huge special effects film.

turbo

Turbo

July 16, 2013.  This animated feature from DreamWorks has something to do with a snail who dreams of being a racer.  But, wait.  Snails are slow!  Whatever will happen?  Don’t know much about this film yet, but I’ll keep an eye on it.

 

The Seventh Son

October 18, 2013.  I know nothing about this, but I like the look and feel of the production photographs that have been released, and the storyline from IMDb sounds interesting enough for me: “John Gregory, a seventh son of a seventh son and the local Spook, has protected the country from witches, boggarts, ghouls, and all manner of things that go bump in the night.  However, John is not young anymore and has been seeking out an apprentice to carry on his trade.  Most have failed to survive.  The last hope to the county a young farmer’s son named Thomas Ward…”  OK, let’s go.

 

Ender’s Game

November 1, 2013.  My favorite sci-fi novel turned into a movie?  Impossible.  While it’s based on the book, the spirit of the book is very internal, very thought-driven, making it un-filmable.  So the success of this film will depend on director Gavin Hood’s interpretation; what he adds to it as much as what he’s forced to take out.  I look forward to watching it, but I can’t imagine it living up to the book.  But if it helps steer some audiences towards the book, that’s not a bad thing.  And it’s got Harrison Ford, who is perfect for his role.

frozen

Frozen

November 29, 2013.  From Disney Animation comes an animated interpretation of my favorite Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale: The Snow Queen.  It looks like they’re changing around a lot of the story, though, as Disney tends to do.  We’ll see.

 

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

December 13, 2013.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was fantastic.  So of course I’m looking forward to the second chapter.

 

Saving Mr. Banks

December 20, 2013.  This Disney live-action drama, starring Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P. L. Travers, author of the Mary Poppins books, tells the behind-the-scenes (but surely embellished, because Uncle Walt never did evil) story of creating Disney’s classic film, Mary Poppins.

And that’s it for now.  Lots to look forward to.

By S P Hannifin, ago