Learning Lessons From Frozen Songs

Disney’s Frozen is a fantastic movie about the power of true love.  It also has a series of amazing songs.  From the enthusiastic "First Time In Forever" to the touching "Do You Want To Build A Snowman" to the hilarious "Fixer Upper" and "Reindeers Are Better Than People", the songs never feel tacked on.  They are a part of the plot and advance the story as much as the non-sung dialog does.  They also can help teach some valuable lessons.

(Warning: I’m going to discuss some plot points in the movie.  I’ll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum, though.  If you haven’t seen the movie, go and see it now.)

"Let It Go"

Elsa has lived for years afraid that people would find out about her magic powers.  She’s repressed them and hidden them away.  However, once her powers were uncovered and she fled into a self-imposed exile, she found the experience freeing.

The lesson here is that fear can imprison us.  We can get so wrapped up in the fear of what other people will think of us that we put on an "other people friendly" mask to hide our true selves.  It can be very freeing to stop caring what other people think and just do what makes you happy.

I learned this lesson a long time ago.  There is a small group of people whose opinion I value.  Beyond that, I’m not going to stop doing something that I enjoy just because some stranger or acquaintance might think that I’m odd for liking that.

"In Summer"

Anna and Kristoff have just met Olaf.  He’s a nice fellow who likes warm hugs.  Of course, he’s no ordinary person.  He’s a snowman (brought to life thanks to Anna’s sister’s magic).  Olaf dreams of experiencing summer.  Despite his lack of experience with warm things (and they tend to do to snow), he holds on to his dream of one day experiencing summer.

Olaf teaches us to follow our dreams.  Other people might tell us that we’re crazy or that we’re destined to fail horribly.  Maybe they are right and maybe they aren’t.  If we don’t try, though, we will definitely fail.  So ignore the naysayers and keep pursuing your dreams.

If you haven’t already seen Frozen, go to the movies and see it as soon as possible.  It’s a wonderful movie, right up there with the Disney classics.  I’m also not surprised that Frozen is going to be a Broadway show.  This movie is destined to be a Disney classic.

NOTE: I’ve worked with Disney in the past, but I received no compensation for this post.  I just wanted to share some lessons that I saw within the songs in Frozen.

Frozen On The Big Screen And In Real Life

frozen-winterOn New Year’s Day, we took the boys to the movies to see Frozen.  It was a great movie which kept me guessing and had strong female characters.  The male characters, while important to the story, weren’t essential to the point that the female characters had to rely on them.  The female characters were definitely not damsels in distress awaiting a prince to save them from the danger.

On Thursday, I had taken the day off of work and so the boys and I indulged in some movie watching.  We had watched Star Wars on New Year’s Eve, so we watched The Empire Strikes Back.

As the Hoth scenes showed Luke and Han freezing in the driving snow, NHL, JSL, and I huddled under blankets.  I had gone out earlier to shovel snow and it was cold out.  Extremely cold.  The app on my phone said it was 2 degrees out but that the wind chill made it feel like -14.  Yes, NEGATIVE FOURTEEN DEGREES!

So even though I was under a blanket and should have been warm, seeing all the Hoth snow on TV, the recent memory of the movie starring a character who generated snow and ice, and remembering how cold I was while shoveling made me feel freezing cold.

Until the weather warms up a bit, though, at least I’ll have some good songs to sing from Frozen.  Like "Let It Go" (which I find personally applicable in some ways, but that’s a whole other post).  I’ll leave you with the video so you can sing the song as well.

Room On The Broom DVD Review/Giveaway

wpid-room_on_the_broom.jpgI’m a sucker for stories with lessons.  I also love when books are turned into films, though I’m always wary when a short story is turned into a longer movie.  It’s easy to bog down the story with unnecessary details, completely ruining the tale.  Thankfully, Room On The Broom is exactly the opposite of this.

The book was fantastic.  A witch and her cat would keep losing items of hers.  Animals would kindly return them and ask to ride on her broom.  The witch would agree until the broom was so overloaded that it snapped in two.  Unfortunately, one animal – a dragon – was not so kindly and tried to eat the witch.  The animals had to work together to try to save their friend.

The movie follows the same plot, but you begin before the witch and cat even take off for the first time.  Instead, you get to see some of the cat’s life alone with the witch.  As each item is lost and found, the animal returning it gets fleshed out more.  The dog is eager – bounding around the witch and sniffing the broom.  The bird is green – while all other birds were black and excluded her.  The frog was clean – in stark contrast to the messy frogs surrounding him.

While the witch is glad to have more friends, the cat sees each new animal as a threat to its life with the witch.  It tries to deny them access, but the witch is too kindly and takes them all in.  The cat must learn that these “intruders” are actually friends and work with them when the witch’s life is in danger from a scary dragon.

I loved how the movie not only used plot elements from the book, but took minor illustration components and turned them into scenes.  For example, one picture in the book showed them flying over a crane, sheep, fish, and beaver.  In the movie, this turned into a series of scenes where these animals turn up as they search for the witch’s wand,  In addition, the added elements (such as the cat’s annoyance towards the new animals) made the story even better.  I would definitely recommend both the book and DVD to parents for both entertainment value and the lessons they can teach children.


One of my readers will win a copy of Room on the Broom on DVDTo enter, follow the steps in the Rafflecopter widget below.

Contest starts today, August 21st and ends at midnight on September 7th. You do not have to be a blogger to enter, but must leave a valid e-mail address for me to contact you for your mailing address once the giveaway is over. I will select the winner using Rafflecopter and contact you via e-mail. You will have 48 hours to claim the prize. If there is no response, another winner will be selected. Open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.

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Disclosure: I received both the book and DVD version of Room on the Broom to facilitate this review/giveaway.  All opinions expressed above are my own.

Special Features

Chrisdesign_CD_DVDOver the weekend, we watched Disney Pixar’s Brave.  After watching the movie, NHL immediately had two reactions.  First, he loved the movie.  Second, he wanted to see the Special Features.

Special features are NHL’s favorite part of the DVD/Blu-Ray viewing experience.  He loves seeing deleted scenes (and figuring out where they would have fit and/or why they were removed), alternate endings, and even (sometimes) small featurettes.  If the disc has enough special features, he might even spend more time watching them than the spent watching the movie itself.

In the case of Brave, he watched two special features on the DVD.  The first was a short film that Pixar put in front of Brave during its run in the theatres called La Luna.  The second was an expansion on the Mordu legend that was introduced within Brave.  The one feature that NHL didn’t watch, which might have bored him but was highly interesting to me, was the audio commentary.  During this, the filmmakers talked about how Brave changed throughout the process.  They revealed how scenes were supposed to play out originally and how they morphed (for the better) to the version you see onscreen.  I love these little glimpses of the special kind of magic that it takes to put a movie together.

Do you watch the special features on DVDs and/or Blu-Rays?  Or do you just watch the movie itself?

Note: The "CD / DVD" image above is from Chrisdesign and is available from OpenClipArt.org.

The Movie Was Totally Ruined By The Book

The Movie Was Totally Ruined By The BookOnce upon a time, an author named J.K. Rowling wrote a series of books about a young wizard named Harry Potter.  After a few of her books sold an insane number of copies, some movie companies thought they would make wonderful movies.  (READ: Would sell tons of tickets, DVDs, movie tie-in toys, etc.)  So movies were made and released.

B, having read the books, begged me to see the movies.  I watched them initially because it was important to her, but quickly grew interested in the stories I saw on-screen.  However, for whatever reason, my love of the screen adventures didn’t translate to me reading the books.  We had all 7 books sitting in a box, but I didn’t read a single page.

Fast forward a bit and we introduced NHL to the first movie: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  He fell in love with it instantly and soon we had also shown him Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as well.  At this point, we made a decision.  He would see no more Harry Potter movies!  Not until he had read the book that the movie was based on.  Every night, NHL and I would sit down and read a few pages of a Harry Potter book.

As we got through the first two books, we would often stop and discuss how the book was different than the movie.  What scenes were longer in the book or omitted entirely in the movie?  What characters were left out?  How were events altered to fit the big screen?

NHL and I recently finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, so we’ve 1) started reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and 2) watched the Goblet of Fire movie.  I remember really liking this movie and sensing the peril that Harry is put through.  However, upon re-watching it after reading the book, I felt that it was rushed.

Harry and his friends go to see the Quidditch World Cup.  The players fly out onto the field and then… we flash back to their camp site post-game.  This was just fine when I didn’t know that the book described the entire game.  There were wondrous sights in the pages of the book that I’d have loved to have seen on the screen.

In addition, whole subplots were chopped out.  In the book, Rita Skeeter is a major thorn in the side of Harry and his friends.  Her stories, and how she obtains them, puts Harry through a lot of grief.  In the movie, however, she’s regulated to one major appearance, two minor appearances, and a mention or two.

Now that I’ve read the book, the movie feels like a faithful rendition… were half of the book ripped out and tossed away.  I still like the movie, don’t get me wrong and  I understand that you can’t make the movie 100% like the book.  (Otherwise, Goblet of Fire would be a 10 hour long movie and who would sit through that?!!!)  Still, I can’t help but miss the discarded sections, subplots, and characters when the movie skips by them.

Curse you Harry Potter books! You’ve totally ruined the Harry Potter movies for me!

Have you ever read a book after seeing a movie based on it?  How did the movie hold up after you read the book?

Note: The "book/movie" image above was created by combining the "Book" image from CrazyTerabyte and the "Cinema" image from Merlin2525.  Both of these images are available from OpenClipArt.com.

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