The warm aroma of buttered popcorn and the screams of excited young girls wearing various Anna and Elsa paraphernalia surrounded me as I sat in my uncomfortable movie seat, ready to watch the second installment to one of the highest grossing animated films of all time.
I laughed at all the jokes, cried at all the tender moments, and cheered when they all lived happily ever after. But one thing really stood out to me about the film: female empowerment.
Disney doesn’t necessarily have the best track record of strong female characters. For example, Ariel gave up her voice for the chance to be with a man in “The Little Mermaid.”
In almost every film, the archetypal prince rides in on his shining horse to save the day — literally.
When I was young, this was the image of Disney princesses I had. Without even thinking about it, I had grown accustomed to assuming the princess would always be rescued by the prince.
Of course, the first “Frozen” (2012) film broke boundaries, featuring sibling love instead of romantic love. But something was even more special about “Frozen 2.”
(Minor spoilers ahead!)
At the very climax of the film, it seems as though all is lost and no one will be able to fix the disaster that the world has come to. Then, off from the horizon, Elsa is shown riding a horse (a horse made of water, to say the least). After her dramatic entrance, she manages to save Arendelle from destruction.
As I watched the high point of the movie play out, goosebumps covered my arms as my brain flashed to the scene in “Sleeping Beauty” that highly resembled this one, and I almost wanted to cry. Instead of Prince Phillip fighting the dragon, Elsa was fighting her own metaphorical dragons.
My heart grows full to think of the little girls in the audience who will watch this film and know that they can save themselves. When the film finished, I heard a little girl behind me say, “Mom, I can do anything just like Elsa.”
For those who say movies like these are just dumb, childish fantasies, I challenge you to tell that little girl that Elsa means nothing in real life.
Whether you like it or not, children’s movies have a large effect on the way our children perceive the world, and I applaud Disney for empowering that little girl to do anything, just like Elsa.
“Frozen 2” is now playing in theaters.