Disney’s Frozen: Commentary, Observations And The Effects of the Song Changes on the Film’s Narrative

So of course there are many reviews of this film by now and they have by now covered the same points and statistically will have use the exact same wording unintentionally due to the limited number of words in the language to articulate their views. It is inevitable with such a major success. Even by social osmosis if you haven’t seen the actual film itself you can probably tell someone the general story and key points of the narrative and so reviews are redundant.

I think wouldn’t it be better to have a bit of a running commentary and observations about things? Really get that person’s perspective on it. I find reviews tend to become formal no matter how informal they begin and the reviewer feels the need to get certain points across but a commentary, especially on some DVDs, is like a side story and gives you a glimpse behind the curtain of either the creation process or, by a third party, their mind set. I know on Youtube there are a few people who create their own commentaries to be run while you simultaneously watch the film so I thought maybe I could try that for a blog entry. So here, with very little editing as I couldn’t remember Kristoff’s name and called him ‘THE BOY’ throughout, are my typed observations on a second watching of Frozen. I include where certain deleted scenes would have been so you can get a better idea of where the story changed over the production time but obviously it can never be 100% accurate.


Vuelie (The opening chanting) – sounds quite African/Native American in rhythm but presumably is Scandinavian… it doesn’t fit with the music of the rest of the film and only reoccurs when Elsa’s magic recedes. Is it to act as a bookend indicating ‘the magic has arrived’ and ‘the magic is fading’? A bit of research and the answer is: “Vuelie” is the opening music inspired by indigenous Saami and Scandinavian culture written and composed by Norwegian composer Frode Fjellheim. The song is a combination of Saami yoiking and the Danish Christmas hymn “Dejlig er jorden” (“Fairest Lord Jesus”) composed by Frode Fjellheim. The original hymn is composed by the Danish composer B.S. Ingemann. It appears to be the only lingering openly-Christian element of the film, as other Christian imagery (such as the crosses on the Bishop’s mitre and Elsa’s scepter and crucifer and the banner of Joan of Arc) was removed.

Frozen heart’ song – it reminds me of the music from ‘Paint Your Wagon’ manly men singing musical numbers in chorus as they do hard labour. We are introduced to Kristoff as a little boy and Sven the littlest reindeer. It occurs to me on a second viewing that we see him here with a number of men, as if brought to work by his father, but why is he later alone and raised by trolls if he had a community here? It feels like there is a plot hole here that is never addressed. Potentially Disney wants to leave such a thing in case they need an excuse to make a sequel since the main narrative is resolved except for the origins of Elsa’s powers. Perhaps then Kristoff’s search for his real parents, if he is not implied to be an orphan though I saw no evidence of this, could be the third of a trilogy if they ever chose to go down such a route? It would however paint the trolls as negative figures rather than the cute, if pushy, figures we meet in the ‘Fixer-upper’ song if they ever addressed this. For all we know there was a cut sequence where Kristoff also loses his parents but having two parent loss sequences within the space of 10 minutes was deemed far too dark a tone to establish. At least the song serves the role of an overture to introducing the tone of the film and concept of a frozen heart.

What is the age difference between the sisters? Elsa seems larger than Anna when little so perhaps 1 to 2 years? The deleted song ‘We Know Better’ suggests maybe 3 to 4 years. This song would have been effective in establishing how close the sisters are but it seems tonally out of place with the scenes that would have surrounded it of gruff ice cutters and the parents’ death and the sisters’ remorse. A shame as it is a very nice song. Potentially it could have served to make the ‘injury’ scene a bit more tragic and impactful but the start of the film isn’t too badly affected by its omission however the reference to doing things together later would in itself have really established the message of the story’s narrative where they overcome their differences and achieve this in the end. If anything it makes Elsa more sympathetic as we see how much she dotingly adores Anna and how upset she is by hurting her and how great a divide is created between them by the time of ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman’.

Where Elsa’s magic comes from is never discussed unless you watch the television series ‘Once Upon A Time’ where the central characters guest star. However I have not seen that part of the series myself and cannot comment on the quality of the storyline and only saw a brief synopsis of it involving an aunt with the same powers who was an ‘evil snow queen’ more in line with Hans Christian Andersen’s original character. Is that story line considered in canon with the film’s universe then? It at least could justify why we only see or hear the father being the one to condemn the magic while his wife… I am not sure if she has any lines of dialogue or if she does they are inconsequential but she does not challenge his decisions openly.

Troll prologue sequence – The film would have been better served not having this aspect revealed until much later when we meet the trolls again and so maintain a mystery regarding Elsa’s flashbacks and how things became as they are. It serves to comfort a first viewing audience but then dilutes the narrative in doing so by over explaining the situation. We do not learn alongside Anna, who is the focal protagonist, but are already established to understand things now from Elsa’s perspective all too easily. Had they just introduced that Elsa had powers and had hit Anna by accident, explaining her repression, especially after it being one of the last requests by her parents prior to their untimely death, then skipping to the ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman’ song sequence the narrative would be more compelling. We would be lead to assume that Elsa chose to isolate herself without reason thus ‘freezing her heart’ by not letting her sister in but due to the prologue we know of the amnesia and more importantly the reason for Elsa’s self imposed isolation which instead of being cold is in a sense an act of self-sacrifice to protect her sister from her though it hurts them both. The troll woman says she will keep Kristoff and Sven – so they were kidnapped from the previously established community but this aspect is never addressed! As I mentioned this is something never really addressed nor justified and is a dark undertone regarding the otherwise comical trolls. There is a nice moment where they introduce the ‘proto-Olaf’ and I wonder if his original design was more in line with this version. As is common in such films due to miscommunication certain things are misunderstood. If Grand Pabbie explained himself properly the film wouldn’t occur as Elsa would embrace her powers immediately and learn to work with them. The old troll just needed to say ‘embrace your powers’ but no instead he words it in such a way the parents misinterpret it. And it seems to be the father making the decisions and wanting it hidden… I do question, with the addition of the ‘Once Upon A Time’ story arc if there were any previous plans to establish the origins of Elsa’s powers? In the later story it is established it comes from the mother’s bloodline but at no point do we see any hint of her being involved in the decision. Ultimately patriarchy still reigns though the film has been marketed as a more feminine orientated film.

Do You Want To Build A Snowman’ – This song sequence is very effective in setting up the dynamic between the sisters but unfortunately what we are presented with here and the coronation scene immediately after creates a contrast in our perceptions of what the sisters relationship actually is. At the coronation as we then get the impression Elsa hasn’t been completely isolated but watching this song sequence implies she remained completely isolated for the next 3 years before the coronation similar to Beast in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ keeping one wing of the castle for himself to be isolated and telling Belle never to enter (which inevitably she does). The coronation implies they do spend some time together as they are not completely formal when speaking with each other, uncomfortable certainly, but not formal. The parents’ death is well done in the nonverbal style seen most memorably in Pixar’s ‘Up‘, during the setup of Carl’s life story with his wife prior to her death, before the current day events of the film. Personally to me this is the strongest song of the film as we are told so much of the characters’ relationship in so brief a time and that there is a mutual affection shaded by Elsa’s sense of guilt which Anna is not aware of. The visuals also strongly enforce the narrative as, although Anna is upbeat and extrovert, we see her running around empty hallways seeking any companionship, even paintings, to pass the time when in other scenes we see a number of servants around populating the palace. In the closing moments of this sequence we see the sisters on either side of the closed door mirroring each other to indicate that they are in the same situation. The staging non-verbally illustrates Elsa reflecting her sister’s desire to be together but the barrier, represented by the opaque door, remains in place though Elsa could remove it if she desired to. More so the final image, Elsa curled up by the door, subtly indicates to the audience that she is introverted and restraining herself there are snowflakes drifting in the air just as when she later loses control of her emotions her powers act out on her behalf and immediately it fades into Anna sat in the exact same position but not hiding herself by curling up thus reinforcing that she is the open, more extrovert, sister. Also as it fades from Anna at the funeral between the gravestone monoliths to her walking down the halfway to Elsa’s door it is again non-verbally enforced she is the protagonist more so that her sister (who originally was the be the villain until decisions during the production process). Elsa is not present at the funeral which we can justify in the narrative as ‘she was in too much grief for a public appearance’ though we are aware of the more likely reason as this is defintely a point where off screen she woud be unable to control her powers, and we only see a glimpse of what her room looks like during this time at the end of the song, but it feels as though we should be accepting that this isolation exists for the next 3 years in the story but this doesn’t appear the case in the next part.

Spring Pageant (Deleted Song) –  In early versions the writer’s intended there to be a prophecy where the kingdom would be brought down by someone with Ice magic. I presume that the film would then frame much of Weselton’s comments about sorcery and monster within this frame work by claiming Elsa is the realisation of this come to pass. There is a song where a teacher and his class would be performing the ‘Spring Pageant’ song detailing to the audience what the prophecy is. From the end of the track it suggests this takes place just before the ballroom scene as they refer to ‘Queen Elsa’. Potentially it could have opened the film instead of the ‘Frozen Heart’ song as I think it would fit in with ‘Vuelie’. Tonally it has a more traditional part in the middle and would have eased the audience into why her parents and people react to Elsa’s powers the way they do with terms like sorceress and monster being declared at her coronation.

3 Years Later – We assume Elsa was in complete isolation due to the closing imagery of the previous scene of her sat alone behind a closed door in a darkened room but the dialogue during coronation ball implies they have spent time together at some point. What sort of interaction did they have during this time? There was a deleted scene involving Anna borrowing a dress from Elsa and I think it would have helped the audience better understand them as it was a lighter scene with the two prior to the coronation showing their siblinghood but reiterating how they contrast with Anna acting before thinking and Elsa being overly restrained but interacting stoically with her sister after time has passed from the shock of their parents’ death. We see Sven and Kristoff in town sharing a carrot and selling ice. I do question how he could have been raised by the trolls yet somehow has a job as an ice carver. There is a brief moment involving a man named Percy and a girl, or his wife, bothering him about his hat. They never appear again and it just seems random and unnecessary to introduce characters who, unless used in crowd scenes, play no other role in the film. Perhaps at one point they were meant to be part of the palace community scenes but were cut? Weselton as soon as he walks on screen is talking out loud about his intentions and I found that unnecessarily heavy handed informing to the audience even in a children’s film. They could have had something like the servant announcing his arrival and him being pompous, as he is in the ballroom scene, to indicate him in a negative light as a figure of ridicule. Anna having ‘bed head’ is funny and a good contrasting of her ‘wild’ personality compared to her sisters pristine appearance. It feels like this is the sort of Anna they initially were really going to go for but in time toned her physicality down though we still get glimpses of it through the film when she sings ‘For The First Time In Forever‘ and later tries to climb a cliff face without equipment.

For The First Time In Forever’ – Another good sequence and very traditionally ‘Disney’ in style with musical flourishes. Usually this sort sequence is seen far later in Disney films so it is interesting how they mix up their own usual narrative progression by having the song much earlier in the running time. Little ducks instead of he expected songbirds we would expect to see with many Disney princesses when singing in other features to reiterate that they are a ‘friend to all living things’. The sequence as a whole shows how Anna feels restrained in her position as a princess but while girly as a princess is still very much a tomboy by nature while Elsa is willingly restrained and more mature if not womanly in her conduct both demurely early on and later on more provocatively in her attire. The juxtaposing in front of the paintings is a very nice moment illustrating Anna’s flights of fantasy to fill the days and prepares the audience for her all too quick acceptance of Hans‘ proposal as an extension of her thought process being based on romanticised notions of love. The deleted scene where Anna chases a pig, while helping to further contrast the sisters I believe was a good decision to remove as it adds nothing to the narrative which hasn’t already been demonstrated otherwise.

If anything it makes her come across as a menace to the townsfolk. The refrains of ‘Let It Go’ are good foreshadowing when we see Elsa stood alone in her room already dressed in her coronation robes waiting for the event to begin. Then it gets a bit Broadway in the ‘open up the gates’ duet moment. This sequence finishes with Hans‘ horse bumping into Anna.

I think ‘More Than The Spare’ was at some point the song meant to be at this section and ‘For The First Time In Forever’ is a far more fitting song as the spare one makes Anna a far more downbeat character than she should be when contrasting Elsa. I wonder how it would be introduced had it been included. It suggests someone called her the spare, most likely Weselton, but the butler who seems to be present in many key scenes yet has no dialogue may have at some point been the one saying it in passing to another servant unaware Anna was listening to them. It actually helps to reiterate that Anna is still as isolated as she was as a child but now can recognise it instead of making friends with the paintings. She refers to Elsa as ‘the scholar, athlete, poet,’ but at the very least athlete would be questionable and in fact conflict with the impression we have of Anna as the ‘extrovert’ sister who we see so physically active throughout the film. Of course you could read it as her displaying self-doubt by considering herself ‘the screw-up’ thus reflecting that despite their differences the sisters have common ground in their vulnerability and low self-opinion (which Anna later attempts to resolve by accepting Hans’ proposal. It has a negative defeatist kind of tone though it is meant to be uplifting in its message. She is dreaming of being better but suggests she is completely out of touch with reality (which could be quite realistic really as without the pig chasing scene there is no indication she has ever left the palace grounds) which would aid in understanding her sudden acceptance of an idealised romantic engagement but makes the audience all too aware of how dangerously naive she is to go after her sister later rather than it seeming heroic. Overall has a unfortunate negative implication of the message the song sends to children by saying ‘it’s okay to not be the best’ which would be a fair message, as seen at the end of Monsters University, except the song follows this with the implication that ‘there is nothing you can change about being the useless spare in the lives of others so just accept your place in life’. It has her question her own metaphor changing from a button to a horseshoe. Had it been included the interpretation of Hans saying ‘Sandwich’ during their duet later would not be deemed foreshadowing of him not being as synchronised with Anna as he wants her to believe and having ulterior motives. Personally I always found that a bit of a stretch in interpreting the line in the song but as I later state there is no other real foreshadowing of his true intentions before te reveal.

Citron (Hans’ horse) bumping Anna and boat tipping moment – A sudden intro of the faux love interest Hans… I actually prefer this new idea of naming the princes unlike the generic Charming, etc, in the older films. Those princes were stock narrative conventions with no personality while many of the recent ones are decent characters in their own right with Flynn/Eugene in Tangled being a great example so perhaps was seen at the time as quite jarring due to how comedy orientated he seemed compared to previous Disney leading men like Aladdin who left comedy exclusively to the sidekicks. Anna falling so quickly actually is in character for her in all version and again contrasts Elsa’s more cautious, glacial, approach to life. The dropped in the water moment while funny jars with the reveal later but does set the audience on the wrong path as villains rarely have such moments in Disney films, although in Robin Hood they were quite comical figures, so no doubt was intentional.

The Coronation – “The gloves” the minster utters insisting she takes them off but why is that a thing? I have seen rulers wearing gloves doing this? But for the sake of the film it is inevitable as a demonstration of how focused Elsa is on controlling herself and a bit of tension to foreshadow how stress causes Elsa to be unable to control her powers. I do wonder how the gloves actually help to stop it. I assume it’s actually more of a placebo effect and she could easily use her powers anyway as she does later when breaking out of imprisonment. The Old Norse chanting again feels a bit out of place as we get so little Scandinavian aspects to the film though it obviously has the overall setting of this region. I would assume the coronation induction to be conducted in Latin but that is from my own bias regarding how things are conducted for the British royal family.

The Ballroom – Why introduce Anna as well at her sister’s coronation? Presumably she would have been up there already or not as they would have practised this moment or at least discussed it. It seems to be here to except to allow them to be stood next to each other and let the audience see them interact. I again think it would be better to clarify if they had spent time together or to indicate if they remained completely separated as ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman’ suggested the latter was the case.

Weselton’s Dance Request – I remember a one shot character once in the 1980-90s Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles animated series who had the same ‘my name is not pronounced Weasel’ characterisation… the same joke is apparently fair game 20 years later. Why does he do martial arts poses? The dancing while funny reminds me of Mr William Collins from Pride and Prejudice due to the pomposity and self-aggrandising. He is clearly not to be considered a ‘man’ in the films sense of design as not only does he have an immense comb-over covering his bald spot, which flaps when he dances, but apart from Percy (he of passing the screen with a hat concerned wife/girl) all the prominent men in the film are tall and broad shouldered. Hans changed clothes which is realistic compared to other times I have seen humour points like the boat spill where the character later appears in the same clothes (though admittedly you could argue the first set were his travelling clothes and these are his ballroom clothes). They get a surprising amount of space in the dance floor to further instil in the audience their being the focus of the moment. Anna being so quick to fall for him at least seems set up well with how absorbed in romanticised fantasy she is. This entire ‘courtship’ is well done and in accord with the similar scenes in previous classic Disney fare. Apparently the creators believed it would ‘set off alarm bells’ that this sequence occurs so early in the movie. Although Elsa was the original villain for the film as we all know the creators had a change of heart. What I find difficult to figure out though is how we were to have the following sequence and such unless Hans was initially meant to be sincere during these sequences. The creators later say that when he kisses her it doesn’t work as he only ‘likes’ her and it is not true love but I find Hans a difficult character to have in the film with this knowledge and sadly poorly implemented due to it despite the good set pieces he has throughout the film as you have to read along the lines and the lines even when you are aware of them are very weak in their suggestion of his motives. If anything is revealed then later repeated during his villain reveal it is quickly skimmed over so even now I don’t take it in and doubt a first time viewer would either.

You’re You (Deleted Song) – Originally there was a song ‘You’re You’ which is more whimsical that the eventual one used. He doesn’t let Anna get a word in and this would work better for ‘villain’ Hans as he is forcing his statement on her. Although I do not know what the imagery would be accompanying the song if it were in the film but he is serenading her in an overly complimenting saccharine way which with her naivety would work on her.

Love Is An Open Door – In the actual film we get ‘Love Is An Open Door’. The ‘sandwiches’ moment I suppose is meant to indicate they are not as ‘on the same page’ as we are otherwise led to believe but the reveal later is still too arbitrary to consider this foreshadowing of any ill intent by Hans in the finale version of the film. In the earlier ‘he just likes her’ version of the character this would indicate they are not a perfect match but he does like her and would have been a nicer moment rather than the unfortunately darker tone people have associated with a single slip up by the character saying the word sandwiches in the song. The lighthouse reminds me of ‘A Monster In Paris’ which bothers me a bit. Did they rip it off? Though of course AMIP may have been referencing something itself so I don’t think it is a directly intentional parallel.

Anna is very much in the mould of a ‘Disney’ princess so I can see how given the earlier placing of this event in the narrative compared to previous Disney films Elsa is sided with much more easily by the audience. Ironically, in hindsight, we are meant to deem this same rapid pace of relationship development, in the classic films, where this ‘meet, propose, marriage’ sequence occurs in the last ten minutes of the classics as romantic. The exchange involving the question ‘what do you know of true love’ should have had more emphasis considering the denouement later in the film regarding what is true love. This argument is very effective in portraying Elsa’s discomfort and restrained emotions, including the anger shown here, in contrast to Anna’s ‘act/speak before you think’ mentality.

Weselton – what does he hope to gain casting judgement on his trade partner so quickly? This seems a holdover from the earlier drafts involving a prophecy but in the actual film’s context makes him seem like he over reacts with such terms rather than just shock or awe as most of the supporting cast react with. And why does he wish to stop/kill her instantly? Going as far as calling her a sorcerer/monster? His men are in the colour coding black and red of ‘bad guys’ through most visual media but in truth the film’s creators seems to have at some point had difficulty as without Elsa as the villain they felt obligated to provide one. Certainly Weselton fits the mould of many secondary villains as being diminutive as arrogant while a figure of farce but otherwise it feels forced. His henchmen are in a position where they are no bigger nor intimidating than many of the other men in the film so they almost seem little more than filler roles so that we do not see depictions of Elsa’s own soldiers from Arendelle attacking her since they offer no distinctly villainous actions otherwise.

The running across the water sequence with no one able to follow is very well done and visually impressive cinematography wise. It is unfortunately at this point I think the film suddenly loses its pace and structure rapidly which is ironic as its when Elsa is about to cast everything into a severe winter. If anything they fit so much of the core narrative into this opening part of the film it feels glacial for a lot of the film afterwards until the climax. There is almost a sense of narrative burnout having covered so much ground in the story so far when much of it should have been perhaps the first half, if not three quarters, of the film.

Watching a second time – at what point are we meant to guess Hans has ulterior motives? Why lead the people in Arendelle in making sure they are protected from the sudden severe cold? Why go after Anna later? Why go ahead of the other soldiers and confront Elsa? His plan, as far as it is explained later, was more or less set to gradually succeed had he just sat back at this point and let one or the other of the sisters return. Admittedly Elsa could have potentially returned but when confronting her he had the perfect chance to eliminate her from the equation. I suppose he took her back for the drama and to be heralded a hero by punching her but again this is all aspects of his character the audience have to assume by themselves with no true foreshadowing.

Let It Go’ – Personally there is something off about the song. Initially it was meant to be a villain song and there are certain notes or cords that seem forced and at least one high note I found unpleasing. How would this have been a villain’s song when Idena Menzel first sang it? I assume the lyrics were rewritten and the tempo altered but that is all guess work. Oh she makes Olaf! It was a throw away moment but at least the creation isn’t off screen. The particle effects for the snow are excellent. I do question how she becomes so happy though. She just left behind everything she cared and sacrificed her own happiness for. This wouldn’t be a moment for thinking ‘I’m free to do as I please’ as much, according to how she has been portrayed so far, as ‘I am alone/isolated now but unable to harm others’. If anything I think this is the point the film begins to fail. For someone so dedicated to duty she just abandons it all too easily. The dress… doesn’t make internal logic to the aesthetic of the film’s setting. The sequence is a big lipped alligator moment I feel just to justify some impressive visuals and the style change of Elsa from restrained heir to sultry singing sorceress. Although it could be interpreted that without obligations Elsa is carefree to the point of ignoring her surrounding environment (or in this case the potential effect of her magic on Arendelle without her holding back) like Anna in a way. I learnt of the animator’s short cut of letting her braid pass through her left shoulder but now I know that is all I can focus on in that moment of the scene. It would have been better not to announce that even if it was interesting to know because I would like to see what the problem would have looked like when they state the braid would have crumpled like paper if they didn’t allow it to clip through her shoulder.

Anna Gives Chase – She rushes off without provisions. It’s in character but it seems the ‘cold doesn’t bother her’ either then or she is too focused to let it… which reflects Elsa’s focus in restraining her powers earlier in the film. What does Anna know of tropical things when she asks why Elsa couldn’t have had tropical powers? She doesn’t seem the sort to read, etc and wouldn’t have gone travelling to know of such things nor does she associate with anyone to be informed as far as we are aware as an audience. The dress freezes over which is funny though forcing her to have a costume change like Elsa but, in this repeated mirroring of the sisters, the new outfit is more reserved than anything she has wore previously.

Oaken’s – this scene seems randomly inserted to break up the mountain climb although it explains where Anna gets winter clothes during summertime when the film is set. Is Oaken a bit of a… caricature of Scandinavians? And his family populate the sauna… which came across a bit creepy a visual though it wasn’t intended to be. After all we don’t see the rest of the building but it sort of suggests they spend all their time in there as the building, from the front, doesn’t seem large enough for everyone to have their own room. Kristoff is introduced to Anna as surly but we have met him a few times now where he was shown to be carefree and joking around with Sven. So again, like the earlier troll sequence, less would have been more if they had chosen to omit his earlier appearances giving the audience more information than we need. Why does Sven act like a dog? I noticed that in other films aimed at kids and it seems a bad idea to give kids as they will assume all animals are approachable. It was a nice moment showing that Oaken is a man of his surroundings, who lives nowhere near people (though with his family who are all stuffed in a small sauna room) in the mountains, stands up and is a mountain of a guy thus indicating that the informal ‘yoo hoo’ welcome was him being friendly to customers, who themselves are obviously not in company, but Kristoff crossed a line in his behaviour. I like the Oaken character as he seems one of the few characters to reflect the concept of family and kindness without judgement in the film but otherwise is an easily ignored figure. I imagine if Disney ever expanded on Frozen he and his family might reappear but then I grew up watching all the Saturday morning cartoons like Aladdin where they did expanded universes for the characters. Oddly I feel the deleted scene of meeting Kristoff, perhaps set prior to Oaken’s, would have been an interesting alternative and gives a more world weary looking Sven which I would have lied to see but the one in the film gives a greater immediacy of why Anna would ally herself with Kristoff… though from that clip having a ‘I don’t care’ version of Sven with weary eyes would have been nicer compared to the ‘all animals are dogs’ version in the film proper.

Reindeer Are Better Than People’ song – This song seems to be much overlooked. Admittedly we have the acoustic version here which lasts only a minute but there was initially meant to be a longer remix version which would play over the start of the credits but… I guess they ran out of time or the actor had a schedule clash which they themselves admit was a shame.

It is a private moment between Kristoff and Sven to show their friendship and seems often forgotten when people talk of the songs from the film. I like the little interaction between him and Anna trying to seem more a capable than he is and demonstrating a bit of princess like arrogance which we don’t see otherwise further endorsing how sheltered her life is despite her being presented as the more outgoing sister. His attitude to caring for the sled, and spitting on it to shine it, is true to someone with his line of work relying on it and spending little, if any time, with other people. The interaction discussing the marriage arrangement is nice and showing Disney again acknowledging how unreal the agreement was thus knowingly acknowledging the fantastical romanticised view of love they have often portrayed in their films. My issue is he asks questions regarding how well she and Hans know each other but I doubt she knows these things about him either at the end of the film either when they kiss. Then follows a bit of a slap, slap, kiss sequence very reminiscent of 1980s films like ‘Romancing The Stone’ or the Indiana Jones film series where the protagonist and the leading lady start of in conflict before being drawn to each other romantically by facing dire situations together.

The Wolves – I wish they were a bit more of a recurring threat later on considering how much time is spent in the mountains. They could even be used to show Hans as ruthless should he have killed them in a later scene rather than only seeing them attacked in self-defence when fleeing as is the case with Kristoff and Anna. Anna’s endangering actions throwing a flaming barrel and leaping a gorge without hesitation further cement that she is a person of action not thought. Oddly I feel perhaps if she had caused Elsa to initially use her magic on purpose and cause the frozen head sequence at the start, rather than Elsa being distressed by Anna endangering herself thus becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, it would have made more sense in regards to what later follows where in the available versions Elsa knows she has struck Anna in the heart but still forces her away (which I will further discuss at that scene). Talking for Sven… it’s a bit odd but a character trait and I can’t remember if Flynn/Eugene did the same with the animals in ‘Tangled’. It works however and is one of the things I really enjoyed in the film when it occurred as Sven made the appropriate facial gestures so for all we know the things Kristoff were saying actually were his friend’s thoughts. I assume it’s done as we move away from speaking animals in recent films but does give a sense of how lonely and a bit ‘off’ the leading men are when it is meant as an endearing character trait.

Olaf Appears – The scenery is excellent with blue and purple hues to pick out the detail of the landscape. Olaf… why has he just wandered so far from the palace? Elsa consciously made him so it seems maybe in an earlier draft he was the comedy relief sidekick to the villain like Iago for Jafar in Aladdin or the hyenas to Scar in The Lion King previously just to mention two examples. I feel sorry for any kids ever trying to make him as his head defies gravity… and no doubt someone will have made the terrible joke about ‘defying gravity’ in regards to Idena Menzel’s most famous role in ‘Wicked’…

In Summer: very nice funny song showing his naivety but Olaf does seem redundant a lot of the time later and even ruins the impact of certain moments. The seagull tap dance moment is nice. The sauna snowman bit I get the impression was a rejected design for Olaf as we see no other snowmen except Marshmallow the snow golem who no doubt is a holdover from the ‘Evil Elsa’ drafts. The moment when he says ‘and you guys will be there too’ strongly reminds me of ‘By The Sea’ from Tim Burton’s film adaption of Stephen Sondheim‘s musical Sweeney Todd which, intentional or not, I found very funny considering how inappropriate the scenes are in each of the films with Sweeney Todd sullen faced as he is consumed with his desire for revenge and the Frozen character are in full Winter wear on a sunny beach.

Back in ArendelleHans is helping people. Are we meant to be misguided by Weselton’s behaviour? I suppose so as he has the heavily built non speaking henchmen by him at all times but this suggestion of him as the villain of the story still isn’t convincing. The apparent need for a clear but villain is perhaps the weakest aspect of this film by far. You can argue Hans is just trying to give a good impression so people will be on his side later but it still rings false.

Back Walking Across the Mountain – Interesting the stalagmites grow sideways though we are not given the impression that Elsa’s powers acted like an outgoing wave but rather descended onto the land (although admittedly the spreading effect just after the Coronation would suggest they would be facing away from the direction the couple are now walking from. The impalement joke is a bit grim considering the target audience and I can’t help but think it was one of those key points which contributed to the film being a PG rated film unlike many of Disney’s other films. ‘Nobody wants to be alone’ – an interesting view for Anna to express and says more about her than her sister so is a nice subtle character building moment as she won’t let Elsa feel as she did. Anna’s inability to climb is good showing that for all her energy she is still a indoor living, palace based, princess not an outdoorsman. Going back to my previous references to the leading ladies of older action films it is interesting to see that this moment too is a subversion as often we are on the side of the gruff adventurer whose view point we have followed rather than the girl he is helping. ‘I might cry’ Kristoff admits upon seeing the ice palace and Anna replies ‘go on, I won’t judge’ which again was a very good moment of character building and challenging gender stereotypes though admittedly it’s more of a pun playing to gender roles rather than challenging them. Sven on the ice calls back to the first look trailer

Olaf and his ‘why isn’t she knocking’ question ruins the emotional impact of this moment and should have been excised as we are distracted by how Anna is faced again with a closed door by her sister and the likelihood even after her journey it will not be opened to her. The moment goes by so fast without a beat to allow her the trepidation it feels as though the creators did not have confidence that the audience could deal with this brief moment of silence in the film and needed to fill it. Then Kristoff and Olaf begin counting giving Anna time alone although I would have liked it is they had rushed in exactly at the allotted countdown time although it would have rushed Elsa and Anna’s reunion.

In The First Time In Forever [Reprise] / Life’s Too Short (Deleted Song) – This scene I know was heavily altered. There was meant to be a song, ‘Life’s Too Short’, where Anna asks her to put the gloves back on so everything goes back to normal which infuriates Elsa who now feels free and she unintentionally lashes out. if that song, viewable as a deleted scene, had occurred it would have made far more sense showing that Elsa hasn’t rejected everything and does love her sister still but when confronted with being made to hide herself again, by the person she is closest too, feels the utter rejection of her true self she has been unable to express again since childhood. The fact this sequence would have ended with Anna bursting through a shut door rather than knocking would have actually fit thematically with the knocking on the door during ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman’ as this time she doesn’t knock and wait respecting Elsa’s boundaries and the inevitable, which Elsa had feared for years, finally occurs.

Instead we get ‘For The First Time In Forever (Reprise)’ which suggests Elsa chooses still to be isolated now she is confronted by her sister who in the other version she welcomed. Being isolated is her area of comfort which sends a sign to the audience that ‘Let It Go’ wasn’t as much about letting go of the pressures she had placed on herself as isolating herself even further than ever before as she thinks, wrongly, this is what will make everyone happy due to the outbursts by Weselton. Anna displaying she is there for her sister (which works for the act of true love scene later). It is meant to make her a tragic figure but the gestures of the character and tone of the music unfortunately disguises this. I could imagine the line ‘… go enjoy the sun and open up the gates’ being said far more spitefully as though Anna had always gone on about these things previously to the point of ignoring the torment her sister was going through for her sake. It could easily have been done in this manner to make Elsa come across a bit more antagonistically without becoming the antagonist as the creators seemed to fear happening once they chose not to make her an outright villain. ‘Stay away and you’ll be safe from me’ is responded to with ‘actually we’re not…’ which I could easily see being a kicking off point causing Elsa to lose control as Anna just, unintentionally, agreed with her self preception as a threat to those around her.

In the following exchange I find Anna acts as expected but not as a person with her experience would. She reassures Elsa that she can control her powers but it seems now she is through the metaphorical door she doesn’t know how to give Elsa emotional space having lived a life where Elsa had remained behind closed doors a number of times. This scene then has Elsa in the foreground and, perhaps just to my ear, being more dominant in the volume of their exchange as though the audience is being subtly told to see things from her perspective. Interestingly Elsa refers to not being able to ‘control the curse’ and while we can see her viewing her powers as a curse I again wonder if this is a holdover from the drafts where there was a prophecy. She tells Anna she will just ‘make it worse’ and I find that this moment is meant to be far more tragic as Elsa now does what she had feared all along for years when hiding herself away. ‘There’s so much to fear’ she declares and looks at her own reflection in the ice which, if they had held on the shot more, would tell the audience that while Elsa is ‘free’ in isolation, so she doesn’t fear hurting people around her in the mountain but she is not truly free as, in fact, she is just running away from her responsibilities which isn’t the same thing. In this moment she now confronts this seeing her own reflection and cannot accept the schism between the two versions of herself. This inner conflict, as previously demonstrated, is visually shown by snowflakes but unlike ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman’ where it was only a few easily ignored flakes in is now a full blown flurry which keeps Anna at bay despite her sister’s efforts to approach her. Thus we also are shown again how Elsa throughout the film is allowing her powers to be a barrier between them. Losing control she hits Anna in the heart. I find the next moment perhaps the second worse point in the film’s narrative direction besides Hans‘ villainous reveal.

Elsa knows, both in the final and the deleted versions of this moment, she has struck Anna but, instead of acknowledging the moment she has spent years dwelling on in fear has now come to pass and go to the trolls again, she acts in an odd mix of fear and anger which doesn’t ring true of the character. The expulsion of her injured sister becomes such a false moment in the film. If she remained true to what we have previously been shown she would place Anna‘s safety above her own and go to the trolls which could have been done by having Hans and Weselton‘s men leading a whipped up crowd after her or something to that effect. I find that perhaps due to them not wanting Elsa to be a villain in anyway whatsoever they actually harm the narrative. However I concede the build up with the snow storm flurry was very effective but then the castle begins to crumble which doesn’t make sense. During Elsa’s emotional distress before we have seen her powers increase not diminish. It could be inferred that on some level that the palace beginning to crack represents Elsa’s inner turmoil and on some level she acknowledges she injured her sister and her love for her is weakening her powers but as the finale has the Arendelle’s snow lift in the air prettily and not shattering it is hard to really infer what this single moment of cracking ice, which is coloured quite darkly in contrast to the rest of the structure, is mean to confer to the audience. After all cracking ice is a destructive process not reflected elsewhere with Elsa’s powers. Had the surface of the fjord/marina begun to crack when Elsa later shows sorrow at least there would be consitancy as we could associate cracking with the negative emotional reaction her powers display but this doesn’t happen. I think again this could be a holdover from a previous version where Elsa perhaps did have shattering ice as a part of her powers but the closest we get to this is Marshmallow the ice golem who arises in this scene and also seems out of place in the films tone. To me he/she is another hold over but I am certain this comes from the ‘raising an army’ moment of the evil version of Elsa.

I have to assume they had put too much effort into the ice golem creation process and needed to use it somewhere but it still comes across as out of place in the film. The closest imagery we get of Elsa’s powers being evil is when the ice of the fountains in Arendelle’s palace freeze in a batwing like shape (which during my first viewing I thought looked like ice dragon heads), the horizontal stalagmites, the cracking of the palace and Marshmallow’s fingers and back spikes. Though the snowball moment of defiance by Anna is funny and again reinforces that Anna often acts before thinking. If anything it seems a very childish sibling act of rebellion so feeds further into how perhaps Anna has reacted to Elsa’s inability to interact with her before.

The snow anchor scene – While Kristoff says it is like landing on a pillow I appreciate they can not just have the characters leap off a cliff for fear people start linking children doing the same with seeing it done in the film. Sadly that’s a sign of modern times that everything has to be overthought and so we have terms like ‘may contain mild peril’ which previous generations just accepted as an event in narrative progression. The sequence of Marshmallow pulling them up in order to tell them to leave just seems pointless. It wasn’t even in the trailers to give a false impression of danger so it is completely unnecessary as they were already running away. I do note that, unlike Olaf, Marshmallow has ice in his/her structure as part of the fingers so again it makes me believe the design is a remnant of a more violence orientated version of Elsa.

Kristoff I should address never really comes across as a love interest despite the closing scene. He is always there to help and the film seems to be heavy handed later on in inferring he is a romantic lead but everything leading to that point really doesn’t confirm it to the audience… but I will address that later. Olaf saying he doesn’t have a skull or bones – was that meant to be funny? It’s stating a fact in a very flat way and contributes nothing to the scene. Olaf works as a representation of Elsa’s remaining affinity with Anna but much of the dialogue given to him negatively affects the narrative except for the fire side scene.

Anna’s hair turns distinctly white in one section Olaf dulls the moment indicating Kristoff hesitated when addressing this. Olaf seems to be there to fill gaps of dramatic tension and for an older viewer it ruins quieter moments of drama though I understand children need to be introduced to these concepts so noting it helps educate them in the aspects of narrative e.g. a hesitation demonstrates the speaker isn’t necessarily telling the truth. Kristoff advises Anna where to speak but we would expect a romantic lead to be more tactile and protective during this scene. Also I would assume the steam would negatively affect Olaf here.

Kristoff and the trolls – again was he kidnapped? It is never addressed but that’s the reading I have as he was amongst the ice cutters at the start, presumably as someone’s son, but then only calls the trolls family. The declaration by Olaf that ‘[Kristoff]’s crazy’ would be illustrated by Anna’s actions alone and Olaf seems to be there to underline and make explicit these moments so for once I understand the issues people have with sidekick characters when I have usually been happy to justify them for one reason or another before. The troll saying ‘take you clothes off….’ While a throwaway line gives unnecessary implications and raises a number of questions about Kristoff’s upbringing. So he never wore clothes growing up? Where did they get his clothes? He has the ones seen around the point of ‘In The First Time In Forever’ in Arendelle and his standard outfit seen here. If he was raised by the trolls where did the sled come from? If he was raised by the trolls why doesn’t he seem as comfortable about their opinions in the song as you would assume someone raised with their societal views would be? There is a barrage of stone based puns so obviously they couldn’t decide which was best and just decided to throw them all in.

Fixer Upper – I find this song troublesome although it is meant to tell the audience that the trolls are unlike the society of the human characters. The trolls seem a bit keen to force romance and I get the feeling that in some way they represent the creative team feeling that not only does the film need a villain but also a romance and this is meant to tell us that the trolls, with their insight into magic and being ‘experts in love’ can tell that Kristoff and Anna are meant to be when there have been no real signs of romantic affection only friendship up until now. I think because of the films core message about what true love is this song therefore flies in the face of it and undermines the film when seen as a whole. The song while instrumentally good has lyrics that are worrying like saying his relation with the reindeer is ‘a bit outside nature’s laws’ when it implies to an older audience bestiality. They refer to his isolation but ironically he is perhaps the least isolated of the main cast as he has Sven and the trolls as family who embrace him as soon as he arrives back. However they do mention love and a healing hug so in a way it prepares the audience to accept how Elsa’s crying while hugging Anna in the climax works to undo the effects of the magic. Then they go on to say getting her fiancé out of the way is acceptable as ‘her quote engagement is a flex arrangement’ to which the little one makes a point of indicating there is no ring visible (beneath mittens…) so there are quite materialistic values being portrayed. Then ‘kidnapper’ troll does a mock gospel sequence saying you can’t change people, they don’t really change. People make bad decisions if mad, scared or stressed. They are dropping hints about how to remedy Elsa’s problems but it is hidden behind some quite bluntly anti-social ideas. The cloak and crown look quite Hawaiian or more likely Pagan which would make more sense. Why are they marrying them so quickly? That is worrying in and of itself as earlier we were told not to rush into things by Elsa in Arendelle’s Christian settings (albeit they removed the iconography but the minister and cathedral like settings betray what it was) in contrast with this pagan setting which endorses Anna’s quick to agree to marriage behaviour earlier. That she rejects it perhaps is meant to show personal development by her and a growing understanding of Elsa’s perspective on the matter however she is still engaged with Hans so the point is moot narrative wise.

Then she collapses and Grand Pabbi finally appears with a very serious moment which comes as quite jarring with just 20 seconds ago the hectic sociopathic humour of the other trolls.

They discuss what the act of true love is and Anna’s hair whitens even more. Is Elsa’s hair meant to be white naturally as she is Scandinavian or is it an effect of the ice magic as neither of the parents were fair haired. Olaf again seems excess to requirements here asking who Hans is though, for him, it would be a valid question. I hope someone didnt think this would make the audience question who Hans really is and his true intentions. I think that would be expecting a bit too much of the audience to do for a children’s film without decent foreshadowing.

Hans gives chase / Elsa imprisoned – Why does Hans go after her himself if he has no affection for her and just wishes to claim the throne? Perhaps to cover his own back so had she nor Elsa survive to claim they had shared their oaths, as he later does, but all this is just an assumption to fill a plot hole. He most likely went to make a good impression on the others so they would elect him ruler in lieu of there being any remaining heirs to the throne. Why ask for no harm to the queen when Weselton and no doubt others have demonised her and are willing to do what is necessary to return things to normal? Again the different drafts seem to have been forced to merge here and there are discrepancies. The action sequence with Elsa portrays her as a cornered animal. She isn’t defenceless and could easily erect more barriers so it seems a needlessly dramatic battle though an impressive sequence nonetheless. If anything she nearly kills the ‘slick back hair’ henchmen as she isn’t fully in control and using is using stalagmite shards to impale him to the wall which we earlier saw to be sharp enough to impale. ‘Don’t be the monster they fear you are’ Hans tells her and if you really want to stretch it you could argue he was making sure she believed all of Arendelle had turned against her when the only person we have seen do this is Weselton. At this point he could, if wanting the throne, have killed her so why take her back? And why are there such unique manacles in the castles basement? It is almost as if they were aware of Elsa’s hand fixation in regards to her powers. A part of me wants to believe these were actually made by her parents (or if you have seen Once Upon A Time some even earlier ancestors dealing with ice powers) with a mind to controlling the ice powers if they could not be controlled otherwise.

I can’t [bring back summer]’ – There should have been some suggestion here. Kristoff carrying Anna back riding Sven seems a moment where he is being demonstrated as the true love interest. This moment is implied to be an act of true love but also it can be seen as just the act of philia, the love of a friend, not ‘true love’ as usually defined by Disney as eros or the romantic love. But of course the creators hope you fall into this trap and assume it is Kristoff (or Hans upon a first viewing) who will save the day. I feel the foreign leaders should have had a little bit more development and I assume there are unseen ideas about more scenes in Arendelle during Anna’s quest which got quickly discarded for time.

True loves kiss’ – In earlier drafts he was going to kiss her and it would not work as her only liked her (philia) but didn’t know her long enough to be familiar with her to be affectionate (storge) nor romantically (eros – as Disney usually depict such kisses) nor unconditionally (agape). If anything in the final version he is in direct contrast to the concept of agape which may have been intentional but too subtle a reference to the 4 loves of Christianity when references have been excised and Disney is an international company appealing to many non-Christians. He only wants her for the condition of ruling over Arendelle through a union with her and even then he would kill her I assume as there is no point to reveal his plan at all during the events of the film if that was his plan. The whole villain monologue scene is just terribly conceived and implemented forcing Hans to act far out of character compared to earlier events. It’s too jarring a change in character with no previous indications of his true intents as I have addressed briefly earlier. If he had been set up better with hints of his intentions this scene is basically a villain’s monologue without the lead up. It could be suggested he has adapted to the situation at hand and is stating his original plan now as he feels things have gone beyond being salvageable but still there is no reason for him to monologue to Anna. Due to the events of the film we would expect him to have taken better advantage by taking defensive actions for the people and not pursued either sister himself. Overall the monologue has been put in to give the film a villain when there was no need. Weselton represents the overtly violent reaction by others Elsa, and her parents, feared regarding her powers. His henchmen act as an extension of this prejudice though they have no lines of dialogue (do they?). Even ignoring that these aspects of the narrative were incorporated from the ‘Elsa is the bad prophecy come to pass’ drafts of the film. There was no real need for a villain and arguably Weselton or one of his henchmen could have been the one to swing the sword at Elsa so Hans just seemed to be selected to send a message that beauty doesn’t equal moral good but that itself fails when everyone is either attractive according to their gender stereotypes of physique or a gonk due to being middle aged, a figure of ridicule or just someone to fill the background in the scene but needing to be differentiated from those around them. The trolls, who are the most questionable, if they are meant to be cute or grotesque but depicted in the films art style, are themselves a sort of moral grey area where they will help without payment but they don’t make their answers clear and seem all too willing to force their own views on others. In short Hans is not so much a villain as a plot device of a figure to demonstrate Anna’s naivety and later be the assigned villain because a mandate apparently demanded there be one in the film.

You would think someone would have challenged the marriage having occurred as there would have had to be witnesses and the minister there. Weselton is well set up to be the one to state his support for Hans claim without being given any proof so in that sense he has been well developed for this moment and to be an accessory to Hans’ scheme. I do question how Elsa escaped as the stonework is presumably built to withstand severe frost. Obviously it was too expensive to do the wall breaking but would have been appropriate as a lead into the next scene.

‘Life’s Too Short (Reprise)’ –  At this point, while Elsa is in the dungeon with the hand manacles on and Anna in front of the fireplace, we were to have ‘Life Too Short (Reprise)’ but I assume as the early song was taken out then so too this had to go which is a shame.

It demonstrates the character development of both sisters and their respect for each other. It shows them acknowledging the others perspective and needs which were denied. This would lead to a slightly stronger impact for the point where Anna sacrifices herself and Elsa embraces her but it is not as severe a loss as some other parts but would have been a good way to reinforce the film’s message of appreciating you siblings. Many of the parts taken out demonstrate more clearly the duality of the sisters and in some additional materials like the ‘A Sister More Like Me’ book still have clear remnants of this version as they were composed prior to the finalised stages of the film’s development.
Kristoff and Sven race back to help – Sven forces Kristoff to go back but I question why did he depart so soon when things had not been resolved? It gives them the chance to show his rushing back to save Anna but nonetheless the scene is questionable even if Kristoff does like the company of other people unless completely necessary when selling his ice as shown in one of the opening scenes. Again the audience has to make assumptions here presumably that he thought everything was fine now and there was no need for him to remain.

 Olaf and Anna at the fireside – representing Elsa’s love for her sister gets his one good scene of dialogue in the film. ‘Some people are worth melting for’ showing not just his alliegence but affection towards the sisters but unlike them he can’t quite bring himself to sacrifice himself which is a nice preparation for younger aundiences to better understand the extent of Anna’s later intended self sacrifice. There is a good PSA about not touching fire here just to make sure little kids are weary of going near open fireplaces. I do wonder, now we see Anna’s hair in its fully white state, if Elsa is meant to be white haired naturally. What is true love is discussed and interesting what they talk about here, though I disagree Kristoff coming back is true love, is not so clear cut an issue here now Disney have subverted their usual ‘true loves kiss solves everything’ tradition. If they had played wanted to play Kristoff rushing back as heroic I again protest that he wouldn’t have left anyway so there must be an omitted moment where he decides he is no longer needed and leaves by himself or is told he is no longer needed by someone (although having an ice cutter when the palace is frozen over would probably be something they would pay over the odds for though he doesn’t have his tools. Why does the ice only now invade the palace interior? Perhaps due to Elsa’s proximity and emotional turmoil though previously it seemed immune to it for the most part? The frozen fjord while nice doesn’t seem a very dramatic location in and of itself except allows for a clear demonstration of the snow effects in their full glory without having to account for walls or other obstacles. If the ice powers are passed down maternally wouldn’t Anna have some resistance even though she doesn;t have these powers? Admittedly without seeing their effect on a non-royal we cannot say if someone else would have automatically become an ice sculpture or not under similar circumstances.

Hans approaching to kill Elsa: this is a good scene but the setup of him as a villain was far too little to be satisfying. So we can assume that when Elsa displays anger or distress she unintentionally generates a snow storm while sorrow induces a stagnant cold seen here and during ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman’. Where did Hans get the sword? He didn’t have it on him and it would have sunk under the ice if it were in the ford or extremely brittle if it had been sat on a boat all this time. He just gets it from nowhere it seems and it’s a bad moment of non-continuity which can’t be explained away easily.

Act of True Love: The sacrifice is a good moment. Somehow I feel there should have been a few more beats before she began unfreezing but they show everyone, including many secondary characters, in remorse so it does work out but I have found the entire film is slightly too fastly paced so scenes and moments don’t get to ‘breathe’ and have their full impact. The film shows Anna throwing herself selflessly in the way of Hans’ attack as an act of true love as she doesn’t consider her own safety. I feel, and hope, though that the film also has a secondary act of true love displayed by Elsa crying openly thus admitting her sorrow for what has come to pass between them without blaming either herself nor Anna. Then she weakens the moment a bit by repeating the word love over and over as if its a great revelation, which admittedly it probably is to her, until it is a bit too saccharine but it’s that kind of feel good film so I can ignore it. It is however an immense coincidence they are stood on a ship when clearly they were in the middle of open space previously. Until that ship somehow got trapped suddenly under the ice they should all be in the water at this point. They whole fjord/marina sequence seems to have not been staged out well or the omission of things in the landscape was a short cut to get the film out quicker and they would excuse it saying ‘the snowstorm obscured you seeing them’. Then the Vuelie chanting gets a reprise to indicate the magic is fading away from the land. At least they acknowledge Olaf is part of her magic and begins to melt which is the sort of thing I have seen ignored in other works to give a happier ending to everyone. Anna gets to punch Hans, instead of Kristoff or Sven who would be able to get the leverage to knock him overboard. In regards to the diplomatic implications I imagine Weselton must be the ruler of his nation and so inevitably due to his overt behaviour towards Elsa the ceasing of trade with them was inevitable (and the very least he could expect considering he was attempting regicide and an accessory to Hans‘ attempt within a foreign country) but what happened to his henchmen? Maybe I missed them in the background. I wonder what the consequences would be for Hans’ nation as the other diplomats/rulers state his twelve brothers will no doubt have things to say but we know nothing of them. They could very well have directed him towards taking such action as we don’t know their ages nor their statuses. If anything they could be like the princes in Neil Gaiman’s ‘Stardust’ killing each other over the succession.

The sled moment is sweet and funny with Sven’s ‘look at my ride’ posturing but Kristoff is still just a friend from what we have seen and with Elsa’s abilities his job is presumably redundant so the job title is honorary with no real responsibilities. I suppose Anna and he hooking up at the last moment is in line with Disney’s usual quick hook up at the end of the leading man and woman. So did things really change with this film for Disney as people seem to hope? Maybe not but it was a nice gesture to not have the man save the day and at least take a step towards gender equality in some aspects even if they ultimately reinforce others. After all for all Elsa’s power what did she achieve with them and didn’t she follow her father’s decision even after his passing? I do question everyone so suddenly accepting Elsa’s powers, even if she is their queen, and being willing to go skating. What I find awkward is that the palace is set on its own in the marina/fjord which though never addressed seems an odd location for a royal palace. I expected it to be a shoreline docked palace on the edge of a sea trading city similar to say to Novgorod or Cardiff (though the castles are set a bit more inland but for the sake of this film I assumed coastal erosion or the palace was once the medieval dock fortifications and the royals moved in at a later point). This sequence just seems to be there to rap everything up which for a Disney film is excusable though it leaves questions for older viewers such as the origins of Elsa’s powers which would have been addressed in previous drafts via the prophecy no doubt.

The credits were meant to begin with a reprise of the ‘Reindeer Are Better Than People’ song and I honestly feel it would have been a much more fun, upbeat, way to finish the film than the Demi Lovato cover of ‘Let It Go’.

It is an honest shame this didn’t make it into the final version. Especially funny as Kristoff has finally got some people in his life besides Sven and the trolls so he is still clearly a little too close with Sven and would like . It was obviously a joke song as the final line is ‘why didn’t I get a real song?’ although he did get to sing it partially just after being thrown out of Oaken’s. I did find it funny throughout the film when he would speak on Sven’s behalf and the reindeer would make the appropriate facial gestures. It was probably one of the things I found most enjoyable about it and I hope we have more of it in the sequel instead of Olaf who sadly doesn’t really work though he is obviously the more popular mascot.

Post credits sceneMarshmallow the ice golem takes the tiara/crown. It’s a pointless bit of fluff but nice they added it so people didn’t question if s/he ‘died’. Logically when Elsa’s magic receded, including Olaf melting, the same would have happened to Marshmallow although you could argue that the much colder conditions of the mountain meant s/he didn’t melt. I assume it is a male but maybe that was the ‘stinger’ that actually it was female and the tiara/crown made her feel feminine. A nice little clip to send you on your way if you have got used to such end of credit stingers from the Marvel films recently.


The 4 loves are present in the film although Disney chose to excise other Christian aspects of the story:

Storge – fondness through familiarity: Elsa and Anna, Kristoff and Sven, Kristoff and the trolls, Oaken and his family.

Eros – the romantic love: This is how Disney usually defines ‘true love’ so it was refreshing to see and alternative in this film even if they still have Anna and Kristoff pair up at the very end. Anna confuses Hans actions as this, as it is the normal progression for Disney princesses, but only in the closing do we have this when Kristoff and she kiss after time has passed and presumably she has grown to know him better.

Philia – The love between friends: This is the love that Anna and Kristoff have for most of the film and is definitely there between Kristoff and Sven (even if it is commented on a little odd by others). In earlier drafts when Hans was not a villain he would have shown this and so his ‘true loves kiss’ would not have worked because of it unlike for example the versions seen in ‘Snow White’ or ‘Cinderella’.

Agape – Charity or the unconditional love brought forth regardless of circumstances: This we see most evidently when Anna throws herself in front of Hans’ sword as he is about to strike Elsa but it could easily be seen in how far Anna goes to be there for Elsa in earlier parts of the film though Elsa cannot reciprocate. Arguably the same could be said in reverse that Elsa sacrifices her own happiness to protect Anna from her but in doing this we ignore that isolating herself in fact is a selfish act (albeit endorsed by her parents) which denies the love between the sisters. If anything Elsa’s open display of remorse towards what has happened to Anna in the finale shows she has finally ‘let it go’ but now in the true sense as she doesn’t hide herself away from others, as she was doing in the mountain ice palace, but now shows her actual true self (unlike the version of her ‘true self’ she has through self imposed exile isolated on the mountain) and now demonstrates her love for her sister by embracing Anna’s frozen form weeping without concern of what others think.


No doubt there are many mistakes above but this has become quite the rambling essay. I may go back and read over it and edit it a bit better soon but it’s been quite the task to create it in such a brief time.

I may go back and take a better look at how the alternative scenes would have changed the story in any significant way and how I believe they would have been implemented. Certainly I am aware that many of the Christian aspects of Hans Christian Andersen’s original story were removed but we still have the four loves represented as I briefly address above.

Comments, Likes and discussion are welcome.

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On My Walk Home…

On my walk home…

I saw two men dressed in the colours of Mario and Luigi…
On my walk home…
I smelled burning and knew it was Autumn…
On my walk home…
People walk their dogs on long leashes…
On my walk home…
I smelt fish and chips though there were no shops around…
On my walk home…
A man in a wheel chair hurtled down the slope making an old woman step into someone’s garden…
On my walk home…
I smelled burning plastic…
On my walk home…
I unconsciously race anyone who overtakes me…
On my walk home…
It should be a healthy walk but as it’s alongside a major road may be walking in a corridor of fumes from vehicles…
On my walk home…
A school girl waits near a bus stop for someone to meet her…
On my walk home…
There is a part hidden and unlit behind tree cover where someone could attack in the bleak midwinter undisturbed…
On my walk home…
There is no cover from the harsh sun of high summer…
On my walk home… I am alone.


A short vignette based on things I have seen while walking home from work. Written without editting. A ‘flow of consciousness’ piece I suppose you might call it.

Today I Wrote Nothing Like Daniil Kharms

16. Today I wrote nothing. Doesn’t matter.

Daniil Kharms,The Blue Notebook, 9 January, 1937

23. To have only intelligence and talent is too little. One must also have energy, real interest, clarity of thought and a sense of obligation.

25. Enough of laziness and doing nothing! Open this notebook every day and write down half a page at the very least. If you have nothing to write down, then at least, following Gogol’s advice, write down that today there’s nothing to write. Always write with attention and look on writing as  a holiday.

Daniil Kharms,The Blue Notebook, 11 April, 1937


So I didn’t update for a few days due to my cat dying and issues at work. Over the next few days hopefully I will be able to knock out a few reviews of some DVDs I watched recently. Now I made the effort to type something it should hopefully come back into motion again.

Daniil Kharms  (Russian Даниил Иванович Хармс; 30 December [O.S. 17 December] 1905 – 2 February 1942) was an early Soviet-era surrealist and absurdist poet, writer and dramatist..He came to be known for his children’s literature. Not too much of his work is available in English, or at least it doesn’t feel like it is as so much of it was composed of notebooks, letters, etc which were passed around as he was deemed to be in direct conflict with the state approved and enforced Realism movement in the arts. Kharms was arrested on suspicion of treason in the summer of 1941. He was imprisoned in the psychiatric ward at Leningrad Prison No. 1. and died in his cell in February 1942—most likely, from starvation, as the Nazi blockade of Leningrad had already begun.

If you are at all interested in Russian literature or Absurdist/Surrealist writing I would recommend hunting out some of his works as, despite their fragmented style, they are amusing and an insight into the repressed counter-culture of Stalinist Russia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniil_Kharms

Dorotea Apricot Filled Pastries

Today let us look at some Italian confectionaries purchased for £3 from Marks and Spencers. And where do you find these confections in the store, in the Culverhouse Cross store just outside Cardiff to be exact, where, where you ask? …Oddly enough by the other biscuits and confectionaries but don’t think there is any ethnic confectionary integration here! They are displayed across the aisle and set aside on another shelf along with the others from continental Europe and America on a small set aside group of shelves with nothing to draw your eyes to them. There are however a few description tabs on the price displays should you look carefully but not for everything has an explanation so you would probably do you best just note down the name and do your research without purchase. A brilliant sales tactic!

… or like me you want to try different things and go buying something like these because hey, ho, DiMaggio, it’s not as if they will sell anything offensive and you want to try something different even if the purchase may, even at the first bite, be something that revolts you for one reason or another (rarely but it has happened once with a drink).

Though they have an interesting range of produce on offer M&S always gives off an austere air as everything is muted tones of white, brown and green, no music playing, the displays starkly lit, it’s offers so numerous and heavily labelled you feel you are a consumer and not a customer. They seem to insist you buy not what you want but an entire three course meal so earnestly; all three separate courses sold separately but should be bought together for savings, that by the end you don’t want to buy anything because your free will is called into question by being given a mandatory set course from which to select. Certain foods apparently should not be mixed. How dare you even contemplate such a thing? Potato for the British, pasta for the Italian, rice for the Indian, Chinese and Thai ranges and never the twain shall mix! Noodles? An abomination! Often I have gone here and wanted to try something but the offers, in their restrictive nature, have put me off completely. The food is good, I do not question, but the offers are so heavily displayed with tabs and stickers on everything that you feel it is some sort of faux pas to even dare considering buying something in an offer with anything outside it. This isn’t just any food; this is M&S telling you the proper cooking etiquette of eating their food… until they release a fusion range of pre-prepared foods and even then only certain things will be allowed to mix. Nothing culinarily xenophobic about it at all…

…Nonetheless let’s return to the review and put the Italian information of the box into [google translate] and see what quasi-inaccurate translations we get:

Naturalmente Dorotea
(Naturally Dorotea)

Dolcetto all’ Albicocca
(Trick to ‘ Apricot… whatever the programme things that means but it probably translates to something like ‘Apricot Treat’)

Delizioso scrigno di frolla con un cuore di morbida confettura all’albicocca
(Trove of delicious pastry with a heart of soft apricot jam)

…and of course the ingredients list but that has an English language version: Wheat flour type ‘O’, sugar, non-hydrogenated vegetable fat, butter, free-range eggs, glucose syrup, raising agent (ammonium bicarbonate, sodium bicarbonate), salt, emulsifier (soy lecithin), preservative (potassium sorbate), natural flavours, Apricot filling (30%): Apricots, glucose-fructose syrup, thickener (modified tapioca starch, pectin), stabilizer (glycerol), acidifier (citric acid).

… Got to love those ‘O’ type flour and the glucose-fructose ‘sugar + sugar = sugar’ ingredients. On the bright side they used free range eggs in case you are the sort to be so concerned about that you read ingredients in store.
So we are going to be eating a pastry filled with apricot jam? Exciting. Can’t wait. When will I get on with the review?

BUT WAIT! Before we get to that what does the back of the box say in English for the English speaking market?

  • 250g/8,882 oz
  • Product of Italy
  • Tiny pastries filled with apricot jam

Each Portion contains:

  • Calories: 65.5
  • Sugars: 2.8g
  • Fat: 3.1g
  • Saturates: 1.3g
  • Fibers [sic]: 0.2g

And in the Italian information:

  • Valore energetico in Kcal/100g: 504
  • Valore energetico in KJ/100g: 2108
  • Proteine: 4,5
  • Carboidrati: 67,8
  • di cui zuccheri: 21,8
  • Grassi: 24,2
  • di cui saturi: 9,8
  • Fibre: 1,2
  • Sodio: 0,3

Warnings:

  • Produced in a factory where it makes use of gluten, peanuts, milk and eggs
  • Baked product subject to natural weight loss
  • Store in a dry place away from direct sunlight

Fascinating… and in English so there was no need to use google translate after all. It was all a dream. All a dream of a supermarket that is constantly finding itself behind the times struggling against its competitors.

Oh Marks and Spencers stop trying to be ‘hip’, in such an award middle aged way, by referring to yourselves as M&S. If only you catered only to the tastes of the (in their own minds) socially elite like Waitrose do offering a free coffee with every visit for joining their loyalty club or if you whored it out like those village bikes by the names of Asda, who slap their jingling bottom in every advert with a cheeky smile, or Tesco who act like an abusive pimp to their produce suppliers. But of course not like Aldi or Lidl… they are the 2AM pubs are closed kind of markets. And B&M… they have a seat reserved down the STD clinic at the end of every week so don’t even bring them into the equation.

The Dorotea pastries? Oh right… well when you open the box there is a plastic bag with about 17 of them in it. They are extremely crumbly when bitten into, as you would expect of some forms of Italian biscotti, so there will be some crumbs already in the package caused by handling in transport but nothing that damages the appaearance of the contents and may have already been there as residue from the factory.

If you have never eaten any biscotti before it is hard to describe these… the best comparison I could give is they are like a jaffa cake if they didn’t have the chocolate on top but more of the soft pastry/biscuit (actually there was a serious question if jaffa cakes were classed as biscuit or pastry as one was taxed while the other wasn’t) and the jam was much softer. Not soft enough to leak out like the picture on the front of the box would suggest but far more pliable than the rubbery kind found in a jaffa cake. Biscotti have a particular texture with a crisp outer layer and a soft cake like interior.
The jam is indeed strongly flavoured of apricots and very nice. It holds the pastry shell together so although I mentioned there being crumbs you will never find any which are broken with the jam exposed.

They are enjoyable and you will more likely eat one with a warm drink than try to eat multiple of them in a single sitting. It is perhaps better to think of them as the sort of biscuit or pastry accompaniment you have provided at a café with a cup of tea or coffee. In truth continental Europe is apparently not as big on eating multiple biscuits or confectionaries in one sitting as the British are so this makes sense while we tend to prefer things like digestive biscuits which are blander in flavour (save for any chocolate or flavouring added to diversify the biscuit’s product range usually in orange, double choc, caramel or mint) and have developed a cultural habit of eating biscuits or confectionaries as a snack on their own rather than an compliment to something else.

These are perhaps best served alongside other confectionaries at a cream tea or similar event.
I would buy these again sometime down the road but there are other things to try. They are nice but not something I will be rushing to buy again though through no fault of their own. If you were served these they would be a pleasant surprise and you might be interested to know where to get them. But would you actually go and find them? Probably not. In a word they are pleasant.

Ripieno di confettura di albicocca
(Product and confezionoto by)
Prodotto e confezionoto da:
DOROTEA s.n.c.
Via Piero Della Francesca, 15
86070 Montaquila (IS) Italy


For something I felt I had nothing to talk about this is an impressive amount of rambling…

Comments and feedback are welcome.

Brother Door-Keeper and Brother Gate-Opener

In my town strange things happen… Let me begin not by telling you where the grotesques featured at the top of my blog come from. They are from the oldest church of the town, with the midnight cross, that overlooks the town and are for another time to discuss.
Let me first tell you of the clergy who frequent one of the churches on the edge of the town centre so you may better understand the people whom frequent this place at the end of the bridge.

Once it was a small cattle market town prone to flooding, as all low lying land is, and nothing more than a pleasant wayside stop gap for those journeying between the whitewashed capital and the major Western port city where a poet once lived and is forever immortalised for his debauchery more so than his words. This town, my home town, is no longer such a place and many have doubted it ever was except in rose tinted memory. Now it is a sprawling cesspit of various architectural styles, built one on top of the other, with no unified design,: Georgian, modern, gothic, 1980s Avant-garde, red brick, black tar, sandstone and slate, concrete and cement like a mottled patchwork rag with equally disparate housing developments spreading like cancer into every crevice not yet rid of its greenery. No single parish council ever wished to concede to another, before or after, and so the town is a homunculus writhing in its own filth screaming to be put out of its misery. But it cannot anymore because too many have staked their claim and now find they are held within its grasp.

There is a church on the edge of town, the youngest of the three, with large iron gates and ivy covered trellis. A sandstone wall stops anyone looking in on the church’s grounds and slick black burglar-proof paint sits ever ready to stop people climbing over it. Behind this fortification two men, dressed in the dour cassocks of their faith, sit on three legged wooden stools in the courtyard under the dappled light of a tree. Neither is exceptionally young nor old but of an age that would suggest authority, knowledge and above all wisdom has been gained with the passage of time.
Brother Door-keeper, who speaks in husky tones, and Brother Gate-opener, whose voice is a lilting warble, while away their hours giggling between themselves furtively. One holds a heavy iron gate-padlock and the other the key with which to unlock it. Listening carefully at the wall you may hear this conversation repeated time and time again:

“Brother door-keeper has a lock…”
“…And Brother Gate-Opener, a key, a key which fits into this lock I have upon me.”
“It is an impressive key to look upon is it not Brother Door-Keeper?”
“Indeed as surely must this padlock be too to the uninitiated. But please be gentle, my dear Brother Gate-Opener, when you insert your key. I doubt my frail clasp may withstand such a forceful insertion as this key is capable of.”
“Fear not Brother Door-Keeper. I have been commended on the delicacy with which I handle this shaft I hold in my hand.”
“Then do as you must Brother Gate-Opener. Penetrate the hallowed darkness of this lock’s sanctity. I feel there is no choice for us now but to proceed apace…”
“I shall do so Brother Gate-Keeper with your blessing, but be reassured, you are in seasoned hands… the insertion may cause some discomfort but, be confident, it shall be only momentary…”
“Brother Door-Opener!”
“Brother Gate-Keeper!”
“Oh, Brother Door-Opener!”
“Ah, Brother Gate-Keeper! Do you feel the sweet release?”
“The unveiling Brother Door-Opener is indescribable!”
“Let me mop your brow Brother Gate-Keeper!”
“Oh that you would, Brother Door-Keeper, that you would…”

It is for this reason no one visits this church. They are silly people and perform this pantomime every single time the grounds must be opened be it Sabbath, a saint’s feast or any other Holy day. Celibacy truly is a heavy vow to have undertaken and they must find such little release in their duties through such innuendo…

But they are, I assure you, a friendly pair who would happily chat and help any who would seek it…unlike those missionary sisters whose church of the midnight cross overlooks the town. But that is a story for another day…


This was not the story I was going to write but in the end I decided to adapt an idea I had in an old notebook just to gauge if there is any validity in the idea. An unpolished piece by anyone’s estimations but the core humour of it is there and considering it consisted only of the concept of two celibate monks being sexually frustrated and acting out using a key and lock I think it went okay… Next time I may do a review of something just to keep mixing it up. Then I will hopefully write about those macabre missionaries mentoned above as they were in a short story, which got positive feedback, though I will have to adapt them for a blog vignette and may have to split it into about 3 seperate posts.

My intention with the ‘In My Homtown Strange Things Happen…’ series is to practise a bit of creative writing inspired by different bits of the town and surrounding area. With each fantastical story will be a short piece underneath about the real life locale.

There are actually three churchs in the vicinity of the towncentre, St Illtyd’s (which does overlook the town on top of a hill with a cross lit up, in the winter, on its bell tower), St Marys, and the recently constructed Catholic church.

http://s0.geograph.org.uk/geophotos/01/92/35/1923535_23526cc8.jpg

http://www.catholicchurchbridgend.org.uk/

The church in the story above is prehaps an overblown version of the Catholic one. The story in no way represents the actual church nor any of the people involved with it in any way. In truth the story came about independently of this place but I couldn’t think of a similar place to set the story and prehaps should have left it out of the series as an independant vignette as it came from a very brief story concept scribbled one day years ago and only typed up in one sitting just now. The two priests of the real place are quite young and I met them when attended a wedding once. Its a nice place but personally I have always preferred the older churchs and cathedral designs as they offer a sense of awe, as was the intent when built, and that you are in a special place. The modern design, in keeping with certain other very recently built locations around town, seems all too modern and I wonder how soon it will be that we will look back at it as modern generations do now the concrete tower blocks and awkward designs of the 1960s?

Feedback and comments are welcome.

Brap, Brap, Brap vignette

Brap, Brap, Brap

‘Brap, brap, brap’ said the youth to the old man gesturing with pointed index and middle finger.
‘Brap?’ asked the old man.
‘Yeh, you get me old timer?’ replied the youth.
‘Oh’, began the old man, ‘it’s just I think you are mispronouncing it. My friend could help you if you like. Shall I introduce her?’
‘Yeh, whatever’ spat the youth.

So it was the old man reached into his coat and gently pulled out his beloved from her folded linen sheathe. Her silver lips formed a circle in awe at the sight of the boy and spoke that word but once: ‘brap’.

Before the syllable had even echoed upon the walls the youth fell in supplication, grasping his bosom, so struck was he by her utterance. His heart spilt forth and he laid down his weary brow upon the floor in silence.

Looking down at the youth, smiling paternally, the old timer uttered quietly ‘I got you…’ And just to be sure the youth had learnt his lesson, before he departed, the old man’s dearest uttered the word three more times: ‘Brap, brap, brap’.


So today a very short and unpolished vignette I wrote 19 November 2014 just to have a different kind of post on here. To be honest I could have probably done a second one with the same set up but the ‘beloved’ having a ‘sharp tongue’ with ‘piercing words’ or something similar.

Hopefully soon I will do something a bit different yet again in a few days like a review of a book/television programme/film or write one of the ‘In My Hometown Strange Things Happen…’ quasi-fictional pieces I have been intending to do just to experiment and see what feels enjoyable and a potential focus for this blog if I decide to go down a particular route.

Feedback, comments or any advice about blogging are welcome.

Cofresh Chilli & Lemon Flavour Potato Grills

… And so inevitably rather than posting something unique I type a review of a snack food I have been eating recently.

Today I look at Cofresh’s ‘Chilli & Lemon’ flavoured Potatoe Grills. An interesting alternative to your common bag of crisps or high end kettle chips.

DSC_0357x

Bought from the ‘mystery isle’ of Tescos… that is if you go to ‘the big Tesco’ in Bridgend. They are hidden away in shame with other ‘non-standard’ snack foods like the non-glutenous cakes deemed not worthy of being placed with the ‘proper’ snack food down the far end of the supermarket next to the biscuits, cereal, snack bars, etc by the soft drinks and alcohol isles. Oh no, these are hidden next to the oils and cooking supplies under low lit cover near the bakery and pharmacy looking out upon the open spaces of the fruit and veg area… such a secretive burden it must be that Tesco bears in providing niche produce to their consumers some of which may want a taste of home abroad. Do not ask the staff where these things are. They will only shy away and, when no one is looking, suggest you meet them under cover of darkness when the moon is in its wane behind the trolleys where the staff skive off for a fag during the midnight shift. Only then will they tell you of this place of foreign cheaply sold chocolates and oddly flavoured juice drinks… most of which are produced in the UK anyway just by a foreign company.

But fortunately if you do find this oasis these particular snacks will not be even further hidden away, on a shelf tightly fitted behind a support pillar for the upper floor, like the Polish sweets are. I honestly suspect they are trying to hide those as you can barely stick your hand past the pillar to get them let alone see them if you were casually passing by… as if they don’t want you to have 4 chocolate bars for £1! And definitely not the slightly alcoholic ones (which they don’t realise are such) that you can buy 3 for £1! In fact if you find this isle at all, even with the ‘treasure map’ like guidance I have given you it will be by fluke or sheer process of elimination and not, like me, the wild abandon of curiousity of what is hidden in this no man’s land of an isle where you never see a living soul… It is truly a strange new world of confectionaries you have never heard of, in flavours ‘foreign’ to British tastes, being sold for cheaper than their mainstream counterparts… but that is a story for another day.

On the front of the packaging it states ‘serving suggestion’ with a few chillis and a cut lemon next to the actual ‘potatoe grills’ in the photo… Apparently these aren’t just any crisps these are we are potato grills which are nothing like crisps‘ crisps… but in fairness I think, due to the unusual shape, these would look far more appetising at a buffet than a bowl filled with standard crisps or bougeois ‘kettle chips’.

The packaging, which is distinct enough you would remember it once you found a taste for these, declares they are ‘Britain’s Favourite Indian Snack’ which is interesting as I had never heard of them before seeing them on the shelf, in my search for foreign confections, nor seen their quite unique shape before. To me Britain’s favourite Indian snacks are onion bhajis or other side dishes but then that is my experience and I have known quite a few, if you will, ‘fat b*****ds’ who would consider an entire Indian meal with 2 side dishes, a nan bread and multiples of popadoms in the double digits just for themselves as ‘an alright amount for a meal when your out having a couple’ so my perspective may be skewed somewhat…

In a circle is the word ‘tangy’ which is not quite how I would describe them. When you first put it in your mouth there may be a slight tang arising I assume from the very light amount of lemon but I found the main flavour experience came in the pleasant warm heat of the chilli aftertaste you experience from them. Therefore I wouldn’t say these are something you would eat for their own sake but as an accompliment to a dip of some kind.

A 90kg/3.2oz bag of these retails for the cost of 80 pence which I felt was actually good value as a small hand full of them, though light, are actually quite filling and you will not devour a full bag all in one go as you might with less fulfilling snacks.

In case you are still wondering these are produced and packaged in the UK. More specifically Leiceister where Cofresh Snack Foods are based although they export to America, Australia and New Zeland and no doubt other countries too.

There are seperate nutrition information boxes for the UK & ANZ markets compared to the American market and the stastics are somehow different interestingly. You might like to know that we in Britain apparently have, per 28g/1oz serving (which apparently is 46 pieces though how the company made this deduction with any accuracy is anyone’s guess)  5.9g of fat to the USA 6g, 1.1g to their 1g of saturated fat, 3g of salt to their 330mg, 2.2g of fibre to their 2g, 1.1g of sugar to their 1g, 18.8g of carbohydrates to their 19g and 1.4g of protein to their 1g. Quite interesting how different the nutrition is in America as if transporting it somehow alters the nutrition.

Allegry advice on the bag says because it is made in a factory which uses sesame seeds, lentils, wheat and nuts it may contain allergens. Also it tells you small children can choke on nuts which, while sagely advice, is a bit random on a bag of ‘potato grills’. It might as well also tell you if you have dairy allergies its probably not a good idea to go eating any milk chocolate.

Oh and its suitable for vegetarians.

Well I might as well just rattle off all the ingredients now I’ve come this far… they are provided in English, French, Spanish, German and Dutch…. and have you heard of these snacks before? International sales but apparently their marketing stategy is ‘lets just make it and eventually people will pick it up out of curiousity wandering around a shop’.

Ingredients: Native potato starch, potatoe solids (Potato granules), modified potato starch, vegetable oil (rapeseed), salt, chilli & lemon flavouring (salt, paprika, rice flour, lemon juice powder (maltodextrin  from ip maize, lemon juice), flavour enhancer (monosodium glutamate), spice & herbs, garlic powder, onion powder, yeast extract, yeast powder, acidity regulator (citric acid), flavourings, colour (paprika extract).

Well apart from one stray parenthesis bracket there certainly is a lot of repitition in there… and I wouldn’t be suprised if, like the American vs uk and ANL nutritional information, it wasn’t slightly different in the other languages.

http://www.cofresh.co.uk/snack-on/potato-snacks

These were enjoyable and a statisfying snack albeit like many lemon flavoured confectionaries its hit or miss if you can taste the lemon flavouring. They are by no means bland and the warm heat of the aftertaste is something i savoured when eating them. There are other varieties of these potatoe grills and I would suggest trying any just once to see what they are like. I would eat these again given the chance but will try one of their other flavourings as these are far more intersting than their mainstream rivals which are slowly becoming, like many other things, homoginised.