When you are not very fluent in a language, watching cartoons is a great way to help improve your listening and understanding skills. Yes, cartoons – you understood correctly! Disney cartoons are a case in point – they are absolutely perfect because they always guarantee perfect language and impeccable pronunciation, which, when added to the simplicity and clarity of the dialogues result in a winning combination.
The latest Disney cartoon, and which has so far been an overwhelming success, is called Frozen and it tells the story of two sisters who are princesses and who live in their castle in Scandinavia. The eldest of the two, Elsa, has always had supernatural powers which allow her to create, throw and shape ice in any ways she likes. Unfortunately, when she was a little girl, and because she had never learned to conceal and control this gift, she ends up injuring her younger sister Anna. The girls’ parents got very worried and asked Elsa to stay away from her sister, therefore, the two girls grew up in the same castle but never used to meet or play or do any of the other things that little girls normally do with their sisters. Time passed, and on the day of her coronation as Queen, Elsa lost control of her powers again and scared all her subject to a point where they started believing that she was dangerous. This made Elsa run away into the mountains, and when she realised what her sister had done, Anna went after her and set off on a journey to get her back.
In its creations Disney has always included secondary characters who are always fundamental to the evolution of the plot. In Frozen we come across a snowman named Olaf, who comes across as being a little dumb but extremely good-hearted. Olaf is in love with summer and wants to live in warm climates badly. What Olaf doesn’t realise is that if his wish had to come true, he would melt in no time. However, no one has the courage to burst his bubble! Obviously, all Disney cartoons have a Prince. In this case we have Prince Hans, with who Anna falls in love at first sight. During her journey to get her sister back, Anna also meets Kristoff – a big, loud and rude guy but who turns out to be a real friend, and Kristoff’s companion Svenn, his beloved reindeer.
Frozen is based on a fairly tale by the famous Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen (the same author who gave us several masterpieces for children such as The Princess and the Pea, The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling and The Little Match Girl). The book does not have much in common with the Disney cartoon but one can find similarities between certain characters such as the Snow Queen, who becomes cold and icy after great suffering. Another character that can be recognised from the book is Gerda, a young girl who goes on a journey to the castle of the Snow Queen with her reindeer Kiki.
The names of the characters in the film Frozen were chosen to pay homage to Hans Christian Andersen (Hans – Kristoff – Anna) and Elsa Beskow, a Swedish writer equally specialized in fairy tales for children, and who illustrated many of the works of the same Andersen. There are also two servants at the castle called Gerda and Kai; these are the two protagonists of Andersen’s story. In pure Disney tradition, throughout the film there are mentions of and appearances by characters from other stories, including Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas and Wreck-It Ralph. If you are a fan of Diseny try to find them (without peeking in Wikipedia though!).