Ok. I’m going to start this post with a HUGE SPOILER ALERT.
Disclaimer:- If you haven’t seen the Disney animated movie, Frozen (2014) and wish to remain spoiler free, then avert your eyes now and don’t read on. Just to make sure nothing is spoilered I will now post a large space-taking-up photo of Hans, one of the characters featured in the film.
If you have seen the movie I will see you on the other side of said big space-taking-up picture.
AHOY! I MEAN… AHEAD!
Warnings safely in place let’s talk about the character development of Hans in the movie Frozen.
There was none.
At least nothing that felt truly real or authentic.
After watching Frozen the first time and being mildly surprised by Hans’ “transformation” I was curious as to what it was I missed. Usually when you have a character do a total 180 degree shift in motivation and intention you have at least some foreshadowing.
So I figured there had to be something to let the audience know, if they were looking, that a character shift was about to take place, or at least possible. Surely there must be some seed of doubt planted in their minds of Hans true intentions. Of course all-too-soon it would be dismissed again by his displays of love devotion and integrity (surely, says the audience, I must have just imagined his evil-looking-eyebrow-raise).
I was ready to let it slide, thinking I had somehow missed said foreshadowing – it was probably because I was still blubbering after “Let It Go” or too busy staring at the beautiful background layouts/compositions to pick up on their subtle suggestions.
When I went in to the cinema the to watch Frozen for the second time I was forewarned. I put all emotion and artistic appreciation aside (tried at least) and was focussed; to pick up the hints, the innuendos, etc that would lead me to see Hans as a well-thought-out character with a truly dastardly dual purpose and a very effective mask of deception.
So what did I discover?
I stared closely at every posture, every gesture, every smile to see even the merest hint of cynicism. I logically examined every potential moment in the story where the scriptwriters could have inserted something (anything) to demonstrate his dual nature.
But, is this just me or, was there no foreshadowing at all?
One minute the guy is lovey-dovey, responsible and the pillar of integrity, the next he is willing to murder a woman by stabbing her in the back with a very large sword, all for social and monetary gain.
Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, I love your movie, I really do. But, as a storyteller and a storylover I have to ask, is there something I missed?
Hans’ character shift, while making sense in retrospect (being the youngest brother with no inheritance and all that) didn’t feel authentic to me and as a result the story felt weakened. Which is a shame because I love the Elsa/Anna storyline so, so, so much.
Yes, I will be buying Frozen in HD (after all I’m not crazy!) and I will watch it over and over again. But a part of me will always be watching in hope, waiting to see just a small hint of the real Hans.