Frozen, Disney’s smash iteration of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, has shown absolutely no signs of slowing down. In fact, both the film and the soundtrack have defied all expectations; the film has raked in over $1.2 billion in box office receipts alone. There’s not a chance that the film or the soundtrack will be frozen in place as the summer months finally approach.
Jeff Galak, associate professor of marketing at Carnegie Mellon University, says that part of the key in the attraction with Frozen is that people continue to discover new significance with every time they listen to the soundtrack. With Idina Menzel’s soaring vocals on the hit anthem, Let it Go, in addition to Kristen Bell’s surprisingly emotive voice on songs like Do You Want to Build a Snowman and For the First Time in Forever, it should come as no surprise that anyone who listens to the soundtrack discovers more appeal behind the lyrics. There are very few people who cannot connect to the sentiment behind For the First Time in Forever, where Bell’s Anna excitedly prepares for a party that she has not seen in her home for years, thanks to the lockdown mode that the castle had been under due to Elsa’s curse. She longs to feel the excitement of new people and experiencing new things, something that virtually anyone has felt at some point or another.
Add to that the childlike wonder that is often expressed on the soundtrack, particularly on songs like Love is an Open Door. There is nothing like first love, and the song has sparked a variety of YouTube takes between lovers of all stripes. Whether it’s one of several clips of Frozen stars Bell and Santino Fontana or parents or new loves, this is a song that harkens back to the first days where love is just beginning, and who can’t connect to that sense of excitement? There is something to appeal to everyone on the Frozen soundtrack, and there’s not a chance that the movie or the soundtrack will be stopping its incredible run of success.
Perhaps one of the biggest draws for Disney’s latest hit is the transformation of Elsa, who in Andersen’s original story became a significant villain but in the film becomes a very vulnerable, appealing young woman who is both wounded and wondrously beautiful in that vulnerability. She is a character who is deeply feeling, flawed, and does not know how to control her powers, which were “gifted” upon her as a result of a curse. The connection which is lost and found between Menzel’s Elsa and Bell’s Anna is sensitively dealt with and creates a great deal of tension for the film. Viewers find themselves rooting for the vulnerable young queen of Arendelle, who neither understands her powers nor intends to inflict the eternal winter that ultimately hits Arendelle because of the storm that rages within her.
Regardless of why the appeal exists, one thing remains clear: Frozen is an inherently appealing piece of cinematic history that will draw audiences for years to come. Its soundtrack is designed to appeal to both classical music lovers and those who are drawn to the emotive lyrics of the songs on the soundtrack. Add to that the inherent talents of every single one of the cast members, including the buoyantly optimistic snowman Olaf played by Josh Gad, and Frozen will continue to be a significant draw.
by Christina St-Jean