I haven’t seen Frozen. The Boy and I will likely see it when it hits the cheap theater, since he has asked to watch it, but so far The Lego Movie and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 have been his priorities.
Even though I haven’t watched Frozen, I’ve read all sorts of things about it. Apparently, Frozen is being used to forward the gay agenda and your children’s well-being might be in trouble. (There was a rather amusing tongue-in-cheek response to all the hullaballoo at FMH. I LOL’d in several places.)
As my brain plodded through the post about the nefarious gay message being foisted on children everywhere, it occurred to me that, in many cases, hidden movie messages say more about us than they do about the movie itself. The “Well-Behaved Mormon Woman” (something I can’t really relate to in the first place) watched this movie (three times!) and, even though she confessed she enjoyed it, what really stood out to her was the gay agenda.
Interestingly, though, there were those who didn’t really read a bunch of gay-loving into the movie. “This Mormon Girl” looked at the movie and, instead, saw a message of the Atonement. Rather than freaking out about the gays being out to get her (as if the “gay agenda” is designed to ruin all our lives), she wrote the following:
[C]an we talk about the fact that “Frozen” has undertones of the atonement? That the act of true love Anna participated in was completely selfless? Elsa has struggled and struggled with her powers (sins) from a young age and it has crippled her. Anna (Christ) loved her anyway and was always there for her.
These two women watched the same movie and the hidden movie messages they saw were completely different. One woman watched the movie and immediately drew spiritual parallels that brought her closer in her relationship to Christ. The other watched the movie and reacted in a way that displays her own paranoia that, somehow, Frozen is going to *gasp* lead to homosexuals being treated as people who deserve the same legal status and protections that heterosexuals take for granted. Heaven forbid.
We Bring Our Own Experiences to Art and Entertainment
No matter the medium, we all bring our own experiences to art and entertainment. It doesn’t really matter what the filmmaker or artist or performer “intended.” Your worldview, experiences, and even your fears all contribute to the way you perceive the media in question, and the messages you receive.
Most hidden movie messages really aren’t so much about some deep agenda as they are about ourselves. The hidden movie messages that you see are more likely to say more about you than they do about the movies themselves. Take The Lego Movie. The pop culture references and satire resonated with me, and it didn’t escape my notice that Lord Business was named, well, BUSINESS. At first I thought there was something in that. But as I watched the movie, I didn’t see it as quite the liberal propaganda (of course, as a progressive, I’m desensitized to these things) that a Fox Business host saw.
Instead, I thought of Lord Business in terms of him being all work and no play. After all, he represented the “business” side of life, where we are always striving to get everything done, and have it all lined up neatly, rather than the “play” side of life. My experience was akin to the Deseret News columnist Aaron Shill’s, since I can relate to the challenges that come with having a Lego-obsessed child, and the pull between keeping those expensive sets in one piece and allowing for creativity.
Even when hidden movie messages aren’t all that hidden, what you get out of it — and the way you react — says something about you. The furor over the heavy-handed environmental message in The Lorax a few years ago is a good example. Yes, there was a very obvious environmental message in The Lorax. And if you had read the book, it makes sense, since it was pretty heavy-handed in the book. I watched the movie, bringing my knowledge of the works of Dr. Seuss to the table — as well as my knowledge of the fact that Dr. Seuss was a paid propagandist before he became famous for children’s books. If you didn’t know these things, you were probably surprised (and perhaps dismayed if you aren’t passionate about environmental issues) by The Lorax.
What you bring to a movie, or any type of media presentation, colors what you will get out of it. The hidden movie messages you see, and the way you either freak out, feel validated, or merely shrug it off, are more about how you view the world than what the movie is trying to accomplish.
And, of course, all the controversy surrounding Frozen is likely to color my viewing of the movie when it finally happens. I’ll probably be looking for gay themes, since I think they are probably likely to be buried deep, if they really are there. But, if I do find them, they aren’t likely to bother me. Because I don’t think it’s such a bad thing to teach children that they shouldn’t be depriving other people of rights on the basis that they don’t fit your own narrow definition of morality.