The success of Frozen isn’t news to anyone. The movie is nearing $400 million in worldwide box office sales. After its initial release, Disney re-released the movie to theaters as a sing-along, inviting the public to belt out tunes with their fellow Ice Cubes (that’s my new name for Frozen followers). The DVD broke a record on its first day of release. All of these sales headlines have been in the news for months.
However, the movie’s success is due to more than its gorgeous animation, enthralling music and unique story (no wedding in sight!). Frozen has touched millions of fans in very personal ways. Whether you can relate to sibling dynamics, or finding out your true love doesn’t reciprocate, or wanting to run away from the world, Frozen has something to which everyone can relate.
I can relate to all of those things. At some point in my life, I’ve grown apart or reconnected with my sibling (adulthood); discovered my soul mate didn’t really have a soul after all (college); and yearned to run to the highest mountaintop where I can relish a little solitude (every day, although, if naked Alexander Skarsgard joined me, I wouldn’t fuss). But as I was listening to the soundtrack yesterday, I ruminated on a few other personal connections I have to Frozen.
I am a Marshmallow. Although, until recently, I didn’t realize fans of Veronica Mars have their own cutesy name, like Trekkies. When the Veronica Mars TV series first premiered in 2004, I remember reading about it in Entertainment Weekly, under the heading of something like, “The Best TV Show You’re Not Watching.” When Entertainment Weekly likes something, the magazine finds a way to mention it at least once a week, and so I kept reading about this series that starred the incredibly talented Kristen Bell. Somewhere along the second season, I caught an episode. Veronica Mars is as addictive as crack, so I went back to the beginning and watched every episode. (My first binge-watch?)
Kristen Bell isn’t the only reason Veronica Mars is such a fantastic show, but she’s the top reason. After she sang the theme song to Fame during the 2005 Emmy Awards telecast, the world perked up, wishing for an outlet for her lovely voice. Well, it is on full display as Anna in Frozen. Her sweet singing voice makes “For the First Time in Forever” and the end of “Do You Want To Build a Snowman?” just delightful. Kristen Bell is one of the reasons I love Frozen, and definitely the reason Anna is my favorite character. (Fun fact: The giant snow monster in Frozen is named Marshmallow.)
My first TV obsession as an adult was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I got hooked on Sunnydale during the summer after its first season, when The WB aired re-runs in order to snag folks just like me. At first, I would have the show on in the background while I worked, but Buffy quickly became appointment TV for me. Over the years, I attended various cons in order to meet and greet James Marsters (Spike) and dig for collectibles. My most treasured collectibles were bootleg soundtracks, featuring Buffy composer, Christophe Beck.
I wasn’t alone. Fans clamored for his music, sharing it illegally and shouting for the release of soundtracks. By listening to his score, we could re-live the moment (spoilers!) when Buffy had to put down the love of her life, or dive to her death in order to save Sunnydale, or quietly persevere after the death of her mother. Thanks to the music of Christophe Beck, every important scene in Buffy the Vampire Slayer was lifted into an epic storytelling realm.
Fast forward through several successful movie scores–The Hangover; Crazy, Stupid, Love.; Pitch Perfect–and we have Frozen. Christophe Beck’s eerie score is threaded through the trolls healing Anna. The music becomes insistent when Anna and Kristoff run from Marshmallow, then triumphant for Elsa’s town square demonstration of her power at the end of the movie. Seeing Christophe Beck’s name in the credits of Frozen wasn’t a surprise, but a confirmation of the musical prowess of the movie and the composer.
My connection to Jonathan Groff, who plays Kristoff in Frozen, isn’t terribly personal. But he provides one more interesting connection I have to the movie. Jonathan Groff grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where I live. Here in Amish Country, the local newspaper occasionally runs an article about him and his quick rise to stardom. In a recent article, I learned that his mom took him to New York to audition for a Broadway show, after he was passed over for his high school musical. He got the part on Broadway, and his career skyrocketed after, with a Tony nomination for Spring Awakening, a recurring role on Glee, and now a starring role in Looking, in addition to being part of the worldwide phenomenon that is Frozen. Maybe someday I’ll bump into him at Central Market.