Monday, January 20, 2014

Plotting with Frozen {Part 1}


By now, it feels like everyone who's anyone has seen Disney's newest movie, Frozen.  I only saw it a few days ago, so don't feel bad if you haven't seen it yet.  That said, I will suggest watching the movie before  reading this post, as it does contain spoilers.

So, Frozen was pretty great, right?  And it had a really great plot!  I found the plot so great that it bears examining.  Today, we'll be looking at Anna's plot.

Anna is your typical hero.
Act 1: 

  • Anna has a goal.  She knows what she wants and she's willing to fight for it.  Her goal is presented in the song, For the First Time in Forever.  See if you can pick up on it.
  • The only Thing at Stake is Anna's happiness.

Did you catch it?  Anna just wants company.  "For the first time in forever, I won't be alone."

  • Next, we need an Inciting Incident.  For Anna, this is meeting Prince Hans of the Southern Isles. 
  • Initial Success.  They have a cute musical number together.  He proposes after knowing her only a day.  Everything is going wonderfully.  
  • But then we have the Initial Failure, because when Anna asks Elsa for her blessing of their marriage, Elsa doesn't just say no.  She throws a monkey-wrench in Anna's new plan for life.  Elsa uses magic and then flees the kingdom.  This is in direct conflict of Anna's goal.  She wants the company of her sister just as much as the company of others.
Act 2:
  • Stakes are Raised.  If Anna fails, Arendelle will live under eternal winter.
  • Action 2: Anna sets out on a quest to find her sister and bring her back.
  • Failure 2: She doesn't know how to survive in the snow that Elsa has brought on Arendelle.
  • Action 3: Meets Kristoff.  He knows how to navigate in the snow and ice.
  • Failure 3: They don't know where Elsa is.
  • Action 4: They meet Olaf, who does know where Elsa is.
  • Failure 4: The loose the sled.
  • Success: They find Elsa.
Midpoint Plot Twist: Elsa doesn't want to come back to Arendelle and doesn't know how to unfreeze her country.
New Problem: Anna is dying because her heart is freezing.
Stakes are Raised: Anna might die.
  • Action 5: The trolls can help.
  • Failure 5: Trolls can't cure her, only giver her advice. An act of True Love and save Anna.
  • Action 6: The kiss of her true love, Prince Hans of the Southern Isles can cure her. They go back to find him.
Act 3:
Main Plot Twist: Prince Hans is a liar.  He isn't Anna's true love.  He just wants her kingdom.
Stakes are Raised: Now the political safety, as well as the physical safety of Arendelle is as stake.
Failure: Hans locks Anna in a room to die of her frozen heart.
Rally: Olaf finds Anna and tells her Kristoff might be her true, true love.

Climax:
Action:  Anna sets off to find Kristoff.
Villain's Action: Tries to kill Elsa to seize the throne.
Anna's Choice: Save herself or Elsa.  There's not enough time for both.
Success: Saves Elsa, thwarts the villain, Prince Hans.
(Apparent) Personal Failure: Anna is frozen, and therefore has no hope of happiness (her initial goal).
Ending: Anna's act of true love for her sister is enough to thaw her freezing heart.  She now has Kristoff and her sister.  She is no longer alone.

Recap:
Before story truly starts:
Hero's Goal
Stakes

Act 1:
Inciting Incident
Initial Success
Initial Failure

Act 2:
Action & Failure (repeat)
Success
Midpoint plot twist/Major Failure
New Problem
Stakes are Raised
Action & Failure (repeat)

Act 3:
Main Plot Twist
Stakes are Raised
Failure
Rally

Climax:
Action
Villain's Action
Hero's Choice
Success
(Apparent) Failure of a Goal
Ending

This is the typical plot of a story with a hero.  Next Monday, we'll have part 2 of this series, with Elsa, the anti-hero.

Have you seen Frozen?  Are there any major plot points I left out?  Are there essential plot details that Frozen doesn't have?  Anything that's a little confusing?  Leave a comment and let me know!

9 comments:

  1. Hi, I'm new to following your blog. I personally thought that the plot (maybe I'm getting this confused with storyline... I'm not sure, now that you've laid out the plot points so neatly) was not as good as in Brave or Tangled. Mostly because I was wondering where on earth Elsa got this snow/ice/winter power from? In Tangled they explain Rapunzel's healing magical hair, in Brave they explain Mor'du rather thoroughly, even if it's in the middle of the movie, and they (sort of) explain how Jack Frost got his powers in Rise Of The Guardians. But in Frozen they don't explain Elsa's powers or why Anna doesn't have any. It seemed to me that Frozen was more like strong characters carrying a weaker plot. Maybe just because it was more centered on the characters than the journey, which is different compared to what I'm used to. It's not that I didn't like it, 'cause I really did, but that part just bugged me.

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    1. I wasn't a big fan of Brave. But tangled it amazing. I think I'm just a killer for musicals. I would agree that Frozen has very strong characters, but it's plot is harder to understand, because it has two main characters.

      As for why Elsa has her powers, I think it's not explained on propose. People in Elsa's world fear magic. It's not a good thing to have in Arendelle, so it makes sense that they don't know as much about it. At least, that's how I see it.

      Thanks for commenting!
      ~Sarah

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  2. This is wonderful, Sarah! :) I don't think you've left out anything...

    I'm obsessed with Frozen. ;) So happy you got to see it, even happier I actually understand this well! :D

    TW Wright
    ravensandwriting.blogspot.com

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    1. One thing I don't get about the song For the First Time in Forever: Who would trust Anna in her ball dress in the morning? You know, way before the ball actually happened...

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    2. I kind of think it wasn't supposed to be her ball gown. It's kind of simple and in the song she said "Imagine me gown an all," while she was in her gown that she wore to the ball. I think she was so busy singing that she never bothered to change into a nicer dress.
      ~Sarah

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  3. Interesting break down on it. I enjoyed the film though I thought the setting lacked some back story and I felt like there were too many oafish characters. :P

    Stori Tori's Blog

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    1. Hmm. I didn't notice the oafish characters. The setting was okay, but it could have been fully fleshed out.
      Thanks for commenting!
      ~Sarah

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    2. Well, Sven, Olaf and the trolls seemed oafish and kiddy to me. It would've been nicer if some of them were a little bit more mature. I know it's a kids movie but other Disney movies didn't have that many and it miffed me a little. Also I felt like some of the songs halted the story and broke up tension. I did enjoy the sister relationship theme (which seems rare in animated films) and most of the music and Elsa's abilities were really cool though. :)

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