How a snowman gave me new hope for Star Wars (FROZEN SPOILERS WITHIN)

AKA a pseudo review of Frozen (with SPOILERS) that lead me to writing this rant about the up and coming Star Wars films.

It took me a while to get out and see Frozen, and I admit it took some prompting before I gave it a chance. With the occasional exception, there have been some serious misses in the recent Disney playlist for me. I was raised in the Disney revival of the late 80’s and early 90’s where even after we had lost Walt himself, the touch of his “child in all of us” attitude was rekindled to a massive and impressive scale. Walt knew how to tell a story, and he knew how to find and encourage those like minded creators as well. He built an empire on it. And now, that empire owns another empire, Star Wars.

So where am I going with this? Right, FROZEN. So my friend Jimmy Burns, a fellow 501st member AND ‘Disneyphile’ posted his own review encouraging others to see the film:

I was really worried about Frozen going in. The Olaf character was just not hitting me well, seemed too JarJar for my taste. However, I’m ready to eat crow now, because the movie was very enjoyable and even Olaf was done really well.

I hadn’t even seen the movie, and yet I felt like I knew exactly what he was talking about. One of the biggest letdowns as a maturing person waiting for the continuing saga of Star Wars… was a Gungan. Although played by an extremely wonderful person, who is a joy to speak with and a fellow total fan if I might add, the character is almost painful to watch. When turning to Uncle George for an explanation, all we got was footage of him watching clips of Buster Keaton silently prat-falling into pseudo-disaster scenarios.

Jar-Jar-Binks

George Lucas wrote in detail the description of a sweeping war saga that was only hinted at before this, and put at the front line a bumbling buffoon. How does that have a place in Star Wars? In the originals, R2-D2 is cute but NOT dumb, and C3P0 is a great source for verbal comic relief but almost equally so to Han Solo’s quips and jabs. Why would he feel the need to include a character like this in the prequel?

Disney as a studio as done the same thing in their own storytelling on occasion. Animals that talk in inappropriate scenes, scripts with the potential to transport us to another world we’ve been waiting to see, and tearing us into reality because we’re watching something so absurd we can’t let go. But probably nothing as bad as HIM.

Which brings me back to Frozen (here be the spoilers). In trailers we have no context of the deep significance Olaf represents in the final film. Actually there’s an even deeper layer that’s not even acknowledged by the characters in the film, but your brain knew it was there. It hit me like a ton of bricks when he walked into frame. Olaf is literally the HEART of this film.

The royal sisters Elsa and Anna are story centric, but neither of them get to the final conclusion on their own. Both are guided by an unseen force, LOVE. And who describes that force in bittersweet and completely innocent agenda? Olaf!

olaf-frozen

Olaf is a thinking, BREATHING (carrot sneezes?), self sacrificing character that was conceived by the sisters when they were at their happiest, and then brought to life completely unknowingly by the Snow Queen Elsa when she embraces her powers. Actually he’s the first thing she creates! It’s so quick, but it’s there, she creates life when she embraces her own freedom. That is an incredible revelation in terms of character development. But when she realizes she has this power, when she’s scared and wants to be alone, she creates an ‘ice monster’ who fiercely protects her. The woman is practically a God who can create life itself, and NO ONE ACKNOWLEDGES IT except those who are scared of her and call her a monster. (By the way, that ‘ice monster’ has an equally deep revealing development in a delightful after credits scene, which breaks a few taboo barriers in my opinion, but I’ll leave that one to discover for yourselves.)

Just as a side track, I’d like to acknowledge the Hollywood process. These days, a good script gets treated over and over by so many writers, producers, directors, and anyone else who thinks they understand the imagination, that it’s truly a rare thing when the final product makes ‘perfect’ sense. I’m a jaded reviewer, it takes a LOT of good storytelling and production value for me to give something 5 stars. Actually I probably wouldn’t even give Frozen 5 stars. It doesn’t even slightly resemble the inspirational source material. It had some faults in terms utilizing the potential this story had, but the final product was in fact extremely heartfelt and entertaining.

So the creators of this final version of the Disney project really outdid themselves when they didn’t make a character that had the power to create life absolutely evil for what would have most likely been explained as ‘story purposes’. The Snow Queen is in fact just lonely, and finds companionship in her sister, and the very people she thought she was protecting by hiding her gifts. She could have created her own winterborn subjects and let the people possibly die. I could go on and on about the significance of the choices this script took, but ultimately that’s not my point.

frozenpalace

My point is this: I was terrified when Disney bought Star Wars. An entire trilogy of Jarjar Binks filled my mind. Will we ever get a sweeping epic space opera again? The announcement of JJ Abrahms to the project didn’t really quell that for me either, even when it gave fans of the new Star Trek reboot hope. Star Wars doesn’t need a reboot, it needs love and life. We as fans never went away, we’re still warming ourselves by the fire of classic storytelling the original trilogy presented. We learned to embrace the prequels in many ways because they are in fact the product of a great creator, BUT… there’s that but again mentioned so many times in relation to this subject. But with all of the canon mapped out so well in the expanded universe, how do we go on from here with Disney at the helm instead?

We go up! (No, not Pixar/Disney’s UP!) If the powers that be at Disney can produce a piece of work about a lonely girl who becomes a God, then becomes a Queen, with a walking talking snowman to guide her there, then perhaps I can learn to accept that some things are meant to change, and some things, however unlikely, should be given a chance, so that they can give us hope.

Why do we love Star Wars? Because a man named George wanted to show us an exciting story that would transport us to a galaxy of a scale greater than our own. Why do we love Disney? Because a man named Walt wanted to show us the exciting and beautiful worlds we are capable of conceiving.

I have hope for George again, thanks Walt.

starwarslucas

Star Wars Viewings

Everyone is putting their two cents in for what they expect in the new Star Wars films, and instead of piling up my opinion on the already dissected and really unimportant “what ifs” I’m instead going to share some of my favorite already existing Star Wars related videos of jokes, reviews, and commentaries. Enjoy!

Belated Media’s “What If Episode 1 Was Good”
Episode 2 and 3 versions are good too after this, but bottom line someone should give this guy a screenwriters job, stat! It’s always been said that one of the biggest problems with the prequels is no one but Lucas wrote and edited them, without anyone around to tell him what might have been a bad idea.

Red Letter Media’s Star Wars Prequels Reviews
Watching the entire series will take almost as much time as watching a full movie, but it’s so worth it. I’m a big fan of everything produced by RLM, even if I don’t agree with every opinion, the thorough break down of reality is honest and entertaining.

Red Letter Media predicting J.J. Abrams would make better Star Wars films and why, solely based on the success of the Star Trek reboot.

The People Vs George Lucas
If you haven’t watched this on Netflix yet, DO IT NOW! It’s an incredibly well made documentary with opinions from all sides of the “argument”, and caused me to rethink my words from now on before I talk down about the creator of my favorite fictional universe.

The Star Wars That I Used To Know
No further explanation needed.

Star Wars Filibuster
Just for fun, this is my favorite Episode 7 suggestion so far. The original one take rant put to animation, I think it should also be noted Patton Oswalt improvised this speech.

Episode 3 A Lost Hope
Almost a year before Revenge was released, a parody based on only the trailers and the previous 2 films was made available for download. It wasn’t too far from the final version in some ways, and better in others.

Star Wars Call Me Maybe
And finally a video that puts aside all differences and makes all 6 films come together in harmony.

Star Wars Celebration 6 and Dragon*con

Now that I’ve had some time to decompressed, here’s some thoughts about the “epic con trip” we just partook:

On day 11 I decided that 10 days was my limit. By day 12 I was sick. If they ever schedule Star Wars Celebration that close to Dragoncon again, that will be the first year I skip Dragoncon OR at least go home between.
Dragoncon

I say this every year, but next year I’m ONLY bringing one major costume. I mean it this time. I missed a lot of hang outs with some friends to wear other costumes that I didn’t even get decent pictures in.
Lady Loki

Jon and I got to participate a little in the greatest proposal of our friends Chris and Leah at the Rebel Legion group photo!
Chris and Leah

Celebration 6 was better than I remember C3 being, I will definitely be going back to Florida for C7!
Star Wars Celebration 6 Flagship Eclipse

Epic costuming is fun, even if people don’t remember the movie! The second day I went 6 hours in Charal from Ewok 2 Battle for Endor!
Charal

People REALLY like science fiction mash-ups, $15000 like (my husband made Epimetheus Fett):
http://www.thedentedhelmet.com/content/you-wish-artist-highlight-jon-wollack-52.html
http://www.facebook.com/asyouwishproj

As you wish helmet

Dragon*con burlesque is EPIC, performing it feels epic! A huge thank you to Talloolah Love!
Dany Burlesque

My photo collections:
As You Wish Helmet Project – Celebration 6
Star Wars Celebration Part 1
Star Wars Celebration Part 2
Rebel Legion Group Photo
dragoncon 2012