The Disney Vault- Elsa analysis
The cold never bothered me anyway… At last we have reached the final Disney Princess released so far: Elsa! (from Frozen) Like I mentioned in Anna’s post, I’m not going to discuss too much about Frozen’s production since there is an overwhelming amount of info. However in Elsa’s case, I will go in a bit more detail since she is without a doubt the star of the film. Elsa is based on two characters from the original Snow Queen tale; she is based on the Snow Queen (duh), and Kai. Therefore she’s the first Disney Princess who is based on a villain AND a male character from the source material. The Snow Queen’s role in the original fairytale was her desire for companionship so she freezes the heart of a boy named Kai and kidnaps him to her castle. She is more neutral than evil and in many ways she is the personification of winter. Disney found the original tale too difficult to adapt because the Snow Queen was a difficult character to portray on the big screen (their words, not mine) so slowly they changed the story and Elsa went through A LOT of looks and personalities. Firstly she was an evil and cold hearted woman who freezes anything in her path until a man ‘melts her heart with his kindness’ (*vomit*). Then they explored the 'sister’ angle, making Gerda (who had her name changed to Anna) her biological sister. Elsa at this stage had blue skin and was more villainous in appearance. Then John Lasseter (CEO of Disney) and co. found Elsa to be a very complex and interesting character and they slowly developed her to be more sympathetic. This made her design look 'softer’ and 'prettier’. I honestly think they did this to add her to the dreadful Disney Princess franchise but I’ll get to that later. When 'Frozen’ came out, everyone was utterly captivated and amazed on how relatable and complex Elsa was and I have to admit…I believe Elsa is the BEST Disney Princess up to date. You are free to disagree but I firmly believe this by looking at her character arc, backstory and personality. This does not mean she’s perfect, but within the Disney Princess franchise she is the one that stands out. Design Elsa’s design is…the weakest part of her overall character. It’s not 'terrible’ nor one of the worst designs (that goes to her sister Anna) but it’s incredibly distracting how her face is identical to Anna and her mother. Like Anna she has this weird muzzle thing that restrains her emotional range. Also despite being the oldest Disney Princess (and the only Princess who is a Queen and not a teenager!), she looks too young and teenagery. The worst part of the design is her animation’s emotional range. Now I’m not saying that it’s bad, for Disney standards it’s ok. What I mean is that during sequences where she’s feeling incredibly emotional or singing her lungs out, the animators try their best to make her show 'some’ emotion but she needs to look pretty while doing it. I feel that the segment 'Let it Go’ would’ve been stronger if they loosened up Elsa’s features and gestures. Here we have Idina Menzel BELTING her heart out and Elsa looks like she lost her car keys. What about havig her sobbing? Or making her look just a little crazy? Just give us something other than 'singing happily’ or looking 'mildly sad’. The animation doesn’t really reflect the emotions she’s going through. I also wished her skin was blue like in the original concept art, but other than that I think her design is alright. Her 'ice dress’ looks wonderful on the big screen and her hairstyle is fun. I just wish she looked a bit more intimidating (like the Beast from Beauty and the Beast). Elsa’s singing/speaking voice is…well amazing. Idina Menzel was born to do this part, she puts so much emotional range and energy to her performance. I do believe she’s one of the best Disney princess singing voices because it’s incredibly unique. Like Tiana, her singing voice is sharper and more powerful rather than soft and sweet. Personality Elsa reminds me a lot of an X-men mutant (in a good way). She’s born with a power that is beautiful yet dangerous and is incredibly misunderstood for wielding such magic. There are so many things you can say about Elsa, so let’s start from the beginning. When Elsa was a child you can see that she’s quiet, creative and loving. However this doesn’t keep her from making mistakes, especially when she accidentally hurts her sister Anna with her powers (almost killing her). From that day on, her parents forbade her to use her powers and locked her up from the world and her own sister. Elsa becomes scared, incredibly paranoid and bottles up her emotions (which makes her lose control of her powers). The only way she can keep them at bay is 'not feeling’ anything (numbing her emotions and keeping them inside). Elsa stays away from her sister so she won’t hurt her. You can see the pain in her eyes and actions when she does this. She is probably one of the most selfless Disney Princesses because she’s constantly thinking of the safety of others, even if it means her own happiness. When her powers are discovered, Elsa runs to a mountain and builds an ice palace for herself. In her eyes this is the solution to the problem. She can stay isolated in a place where she can be herself and not hurt her loved ones. Here you can see that Elsa is a person who’s incredibly creative and has a mind filled with ideas. It is also important to note that the first thing Elsa creates is Olaf the snowman; which indicates that what she desires the most is to go back to those carefree and nostalgic days with her sister. Elsa doesn’t realize though that she covered Arandelle with snow, and when Anna stops by to visit her and tells her about it you can see the devastation in her face. Her solution to the problem completely backfired since now she’s endangering everyone. Elsa feels more paranoid and afraid than ever knowing that she can’t control her powers or undo them so she panics and strikes Anna in the heart. During this incredible moment of weakness she also greats a monolith of ice that chases Anna and her group away from the castle. I believe that Olaf represents Elsa’s lost innocence and the monolith of ice (Marshmallow) represents the side of her that wants to push people away. Later on, Elsa fights Hans and the palace guards and almost KILLS them knowingly. This makes Elsa the second Disney Princess that ATTEMPTS to murder someone in self defense (the first being Mulan, but Elsa was way more vicious about her intent and Mulan was more sneaky). This doesn’t make her a 'better’ character but a more interesting and proactive one. It shows children that sometimes in a stressful situation good people make choices that are not easy. Elsa is arrested but later escapes (on her own) from her cell fightened out of her wits. She accidentally makes a blizzard as she makes her way through the frozen lake. Hans tells her that Anna was murdered by her so in her grief the blizzard stops. Hans attempts to kill Elsa and Anna sacrifices herself to save her. This is 'the act of true love’ that breaks the froen heart spell that Elsa casted on Anna, and through that Elsa learns that to undo the damage she has caused she needs to use her loving emotions to control her powers. Elsa gets her happy ending by people celebrating her true self. She is still wearing her ice dress and uses her powers to make an ice rink. Elsa found her happily ever after when she regained her relationship with her sister, realized the beauty within herself, and gained acceptance and respect from her people as their Queen. To me that’s a more emotionally fulfilling ending than just getting a prince and achieving their established dream. Elsa’s problems were real because she had a deep inner conflict that made her be at war with herself. Her dreams and aspirations were not a material possession, the romantic love of a person, or getting someone’s respect. Elsa’s dream was to solve her inner turmoil and hone her abilities in a way that it will make her happy and not hurt the people she loves. Now I’m going to talk about the importance of Elsa’s lack of love interest. Elsa is the first Disney Princess whom’s sexuality isn’t defined. This makes people of different sexual orientations relate to her immediately. Her inner turmoil and her feelings of being misunderstood are very similar to the issues LGTB people go through. Elsa’s presence fills the niche of a Princess who has no defined sexual orientation so she could be anyone. Now you might mention that Merida is the first princess to do this but I find her presence kind of weaker than Elsa. Merida is younger than Elsa which brings up the argument that she isn’t ready for romance therefore is natural she doesn’t think about it. Also, romance was a subplot of her’s (sorta) so it is mentioned in the film that she might marry someone in the future in order for her to become Queen (she just isn’t ready for the responsibility yet). Elsa however in an unmarried Queen, which causes a bigger impact in my opinion. Conclusion: There is another reason why I support and love Elsa so much. You see, I’m a person who suffers from anxiety among other things. Seeing Elsa’s struggle and story made me relate to her so much that I felt a lot of my worries melt (no pun intended) away. In many ways she gave me the strength to love myself and to keep my loved ones close even if I go through a lot of stressful situations. Elsa became my favorite Disney Princess because she embodies real issues. Her story is a fairytale; but it mirrors people from real life who go through these conflicts. Out of all the Disney Princess, I believe Elsa is the most human. She’s got flaws, understandable yet morally grey actions, and a relatable personality. I end with Disney Princess analyses with a high note! Elsa, The Snow Queen, is by far the best Princess. Thank you for reading! What is your favorite/least favorite Disney Princess and why?