The Disney movie Frozen has been praised by many for being “original” with its main conflict, that being the relationship between Anna, the film’s princess, and Hans, who is supposed to be the evil Prince Charming. However, I disagree with the view that the relationship issues Frozen presents are well written and worthy of praise, which damages the entire conflict of the movie.
Let’s start by addressing Anna and Hans’s motivations for wanting to marry and why they don’t add up. Anna is the princess of Arendelle, beneath her older sister, Elsa, who will become queen of Arendelle. Hans, similarly, is a prince of the Southern Isles and 13th in line to his throne. Now, you may argue that this gives them something in common, and it does. However, these traits are not what one would look for in a relationship when you factor in hypergamy on Anna’s part and Hans’s lust for power. Anna would not want to marry Hans because she has everything to lose and nothing to gain from the marriage, due to him having no chance of becoming king of the Southern Isles, making this relationship seem unbelievable from the outset. Not only that, but she barely knows Hans so there’s nothing in it for her spiritually either. All she knows about Hans is that he’s handsome and that he’s charming, so essentially Anna just wants to shag him. This relationship plot does not work at all and makes Anna look like a dumb, everyday teenage girl, which is not what she is as she is a princess and would therefore have been tutored to seek higher social power.
And as for Hans, his plan is to marry Anna and then murder Elsa to become king. However, I don’t see why Hans would rely on Anna stupidly wanting to marry him and why he would stoop to murder when his intended victim could just skewer him on an ice spike, so his plan fails on every level. The only reason why Hans gets anywhere in the movie is because of factors that are out of his control, such as the eternal winter, which he could not have planned for, and because of Anna’s badly written idiocy. And this is one of Disney’s best villains because why again? He has such a painfully obvious alternative, which is to marry Elsa. He wouldn’t have to murder anyone, he’d become prince regent straight away and … oh, hang on, Elsa wouldn’t marry him either because of hypergamy. This is the fundamental reason why the conflict in this movie is impossible for me to believe: neither Anna, Elsa nor any princess would ever marry Hans because he’s 13th in line to the throne. How does he expect to marry anyone socially higher than him?
However, despite Hans’s plan being total bilge that makes Baldrick’s plans from the Blackadder series look like masterfully genius works of art in comparison, I think the biggest problem with Hans is that he does not fulfil what the writers of Frozen intended him to fulfil. Allow me to explain: Hans is meant to be a dig at the Prince Charming character type commonly associated with Disney films of old. However, Hans is nothing like a Prince Charming in that he’s 13th in line for the throne, whereas all the other Prince Charmings were heirs to their thrones. In Cinderella, Prince Charming as he is called has no established brothers or sisters, meaning he is the heir to the throne. Cinderella, on the other hand, is a servant girl and as such she has an opportunity for advancement by attracting him with her looks. The same goes for Sleeping Beauty, in which Prince Phillip is presented as heir to his throne who falls in love with Aurora upon hearing her sing and seeing her looks. On the other hand, Aurora is living in the forest at this point in the plot, with no idea of her royal heritage. So when she meets Phillip, who is obviously a nobleman, she sees opportunity for social and political advancement, again appealing to hypergamy. And this is also true for Snow White, in which Prince Florian meets Snow White after she has been reduced to a mere servant of the jealous queen. Florian has no siblings and can only be assumed to be heir to his own throne. Florian falls for Snow’s beauty and Snow falls for Florian’s capability to help her reclaim her royal standing. All of these Prince Charmings hold something that Hans from Frozen does not. They are open doors for the social advancement of women. Hans is more similar to Lord Rathbone from Shanghai Knights, and even then, Lord Rathbone was a better character who could realistically kill off Queen Victoria and all the other heirs, which he could blame on Lin. Hans, on the other hand, intends to kill off a cryokinetic Queen who could kill him easily in self-defence. Hans also takes aspects from a certain other character type synonymous with Disney. Hans is handsome, charming, and seemingly virtuous. He entices his social superior Anna with his looks and seeks to use her for social advantage as he is in no position to do so himself. Obviously, this makes Hans evil, as he’s using his sexuality to move up in society. I mean, it’s unconscionable for a man to do what literally every Disney princess ever has done to achieve a higher social standing. For a man, this behavior is mooching and creeping around Anna, whereas for a woman this behavior is beguiling a man with your beauty and winding up the victim of male objectification. And herein lies the fundamental double standard of Frozen: Hans is doing the exact same thing that every Disney princess in history has done. Except Hans is evil. Cinderella, Snow White, and Aurora are all sweet.
Nothing about this villain makes sense to me. The moral message his character tries to convey about men not being what they seem is compromised by the fact that he’s not a Prince Charming in any way and as a result Frozen’s conflict suffers heavily. As conflict is the driving force of any work of fiction, this creates a gaping chasm of a flaw in the movie, destroying any enjoyment I could possibly squeeze out of it.
And remind me, why is this film praised again?