I knew this time was coming. I tried to pretend I could avoid it, but I should have known better.
Nugget got sucked in by the allure of things Frozen. Anyone who saw this coming can go ahead and raise their hands now.
Okay, fine. I get it. Everyone put your hands back down. And I do mean everyone, since apparently I was just about the only person who thought that maybe Frozen wouldn’t be a recurring part of my daughter growing up. I should have really been paying closer attention. After all, without having ever seen the movie, she was still entranced by seeing Elsa and Anna dolls anytime she walked past them. The sheer power that such marketing seemed to have, especially over a child who had no knowledge of any movie tie-in, simply the bright colors, was pretty incredible. So we eventually showed Nugget Frozen, figuring that it would be a nice little animated movie, but not necessarily one that would be in heavy rotation.
We were fools.
Now Nugget has her own copy of the movie, the soundtrack, and she has a talking Elsa doll. In fact, she literally spends hours every day walking around, carrying her Elsa, while saying “Go”. She begs HawtWife to let her watch the video to “Let It Go” at least once per day. And we’re letting it happen. Not without a fight, mind you. After all, I thought that maybe getting another animated feature with similar artistic styles would help give her something else to obsess over every third day. While she’ll happily Tangled, she isn’t wandering around with a stuffed Pascal asking for the flower song.
Ultimately, though, I’m not really all that upset. No, Frozen isn’t the best movie ever made in the history of movies, and it really isn’t as feminist as a lot of people want to pretend that it is, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad film. It’s a perfectly serviceable Disney production, one with some very cool animation for the snow and ice effects. Also, the music is really pretty good. Not the best Disney’s ever done, but it’s certainly right up there. HawtWife and I came to realize that, while Nugget has always enjoyed music, the first time she really displayed rapt attention and LOVE for music was when she heard “Let It Go” (she was also pretty enthralled with “First Time in Forever”, so at least we seem to be dodging a snowman bullet). Also, given that I’m firmly convinced that I will only ever produce daughters, and that we’re hoping eventually for Nugget to have a sibling to play with, the story of two sisters and the love between them, even a love that is somewhat uneven, is nothing to shake a stick at. Honestly, I would love for Nugget to take from Frozen the dual aspects of love displayed by Anna and Elsa, and blend them into one cohesive whole moving forward.
Of course, I mentioned above that a lot of people wanted to view Frozen as a feminist triumph. Having now watched both movies far more frequently than I was initially prepared to, I would like to ask if any of those people have even SEEN Tangled? Seriously, a better story, and a much stronger female character. Think about it for a second. In Frozen, Elsa is taught to hide who she is, and when it bursts out she runs away under the guise of protecting everyone. Along the way, she becomes a stronger, sassier version of herself, but she’s still more than willing to remain secluded. I get the potential LGBT-connection, but not really a feminist one. Anna, on the other hand, wants to understand what’s been happening with Elsa, and definitely has a strong love for her sister. That said, she’s also more than willing to drop everything and marry a guy she just met, simply because he is charming. Dedicated, but not really a feminist character. Meanwhile, over in Tangled, you’ve got Rapunzel who decides from the start that she wants to see the lanterns. The rest of the story unfolds because she is going to see the lanterns, and while she’ll take Flynn’s help, she is the driving force behind their voyage. Yes, they end up falling in love along the way, but none of that lessens who she is, or deters her from her initial goal. In fact, the only thing that really slows her down is her “mother”, who’s done a damned good job manipulating this young woman through the years, and trying to shut down every chance at freedom and exploration. While, I’m definitely hoping that Nugget gets the love and sibling message from Frozen, I want her to take the strength of will and follow-through demonstrated in Tangled.
And yes, it’s entirely possible I’ve spent a lot more time than a male in his mid-thirties should spend thinking about animated features. But that’s part of the territory of being a dad. Besides, until she’s a bit older, I’m going to have to make a point of checking them out beforehand, just to make sure that I’m either okay with what their presenting, or prepared to talk her through those moments that don’t shine in the best of lights.
That, and I really do love watching cartoons. That kind of makes this whole Dad thing the best job ever.