Elsa, The Snow Queen (Disney)
Long-time readers of this site know of our esteem for the great Walt Disney, the man who single-handedly reacquainted generations of European-Americans with their heritage and ensured that the wonder of the Old World--its castles and half-timbered villages, princes and princesses, evil queens and terrifying dragons--remained part of the cultural vocabulary of America, and indeed of the entire planet.
In particular, we have noted the timeless beauty of several Disney princesses, particularly the well-fed Katrina van Tassel from Disney's adaptation of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and celebrated the visual likeness of plus-size model Kelsey Olson with Briar Rose from Sleeping Beauty.
But now, in a forthcoming animated feature, a new Disney princess will rival Washington Irving's "plump as a partridge" flirt, and even the legendary Aurora herself, for the title of fairest of them all.
As the above concept art suggests, this film will be set in a Nordic clime, and will constitute an adaptation of one of Hans Christian Andersen's most beloved fairy-tales, The Snow Queen--a project that Walt himself wished to bring to the screen. Following in the recent Disney trend of selecting more "marketable" titles for its films, however, it will not adopt the name of the original tale, but will be dubbed Frozen.
The above graphic shows the movie's official logo alongside a preliminary sketch of one of the two main characters of the feature, the one who will rival all of her Disney predecessors for the rank of the loveliest princess yet seen: Elsa, the eponymous Snow Queen herself.
Regrettably, Elsa's figure will be rendered to look extremely underweight, as all Disney princess have appeared for the past several decades. However, she otherwise exhibits every aspect of the historic ideal of timeless feminine beauty, from an exquisitely fair complexion to big, baby-blue eyes, flaxen tresses and round facial features. This is an extraordinarily bold move for Disney, flying in the face of a hostile media culture that seeks to suppress any expression of Nordic beauty--indeed, of North European heritage--and demands that it be expunged from public view.
Excitingly, even though Elsa's younger sister, Anna, is said to be the main protagonist of the film, much of the promotional material that has appeared thus far has rightly featured Elsa in a position of prominence. Note this clever cover, in which Anna and her fellow-traveller seem to be scaling a snowy hill that overlays Elsa's regal gown. Observe the aristocratic look that distinguishes Elsa's countenance, a bearing that is thrillingly vain, yet soft, gentle, and languid, with her heavily-lidded eyes. Not since Katrina van Tassel has a Disney princess been so seductively coquettish.
A third image, showing the two sisters side by side, seems to have been drawn directly from the imagination of Charlotte BrontŽ, like a Georgiana Reed/Jane Eyre contrast, with Anna on the right being the plainer, conventionally "good" girl, and Elsa on the left the more gorgeous sister, with her fairer complexion, lighter hair, and gossamer dress, creating an impression of a goddess who exhibits both babylike features and regal majesty. (What a pity that Elsa lacks the penchant for self-indulgence which gives Georgiana her luscious, "very plump" figure.)
Like Disney's most recent fairy-tale film about Rapunzel, Frozen will be rendered not with traditional hand-drawn animation but with CGI. Fans tend to prefer the older, manual style of drawing, but given that the animation in Tangled was reasonably attractive, we hope that this new feature will be no less visually impressive.
And speaking of Tangled, eagle-eyed viewers will immediately notice how closely Elsa's hairstyle matches that of gorgeous plus-size model Katherine Roll, in her acclaimed Rapunzel shoot of earlier this year. Could Katherine's images have been the inspiration for this hairstyle? Surely yes, for who better embodies princess-like beauty than the opulent Miss Roll?
One could drown in Elsa's childlike blue eyes, so passive and docile, so gentle and feminine. Observe that, much as Elsa's appearances blends features of Kelsey Olson, Katherine Roll, and Sophie Sheppard, she also shares one trait in common with Kailee O'Sullivan: that light spray of freckles across her snowy cheeks.
Fans who don't mind exposing themselves to a few possible spoilers might wish to visit the Disney Wikia page about Elsa, which offers some speculation about what her Frozen storyline might comprise. One plotline is certain: over the course of the film, Elsa becomes cursed with frightening wintry powers and exiles herself from her own kingdom, whereupon her younger sister embarks on a hazardous quest to redeem her sibling. The following early still from the film shows Anna looking up at her more gorgeous sister, appropriately situated high above her, on a balcony, like a goddess looking down upon a mere mortal.
A close-up of Elsa from the same frame offers the most captivating view yet of this ravishing princess, showing her with an excitingly vain look on her lovely face, her eyes heavily lidded in the consciousness of her own unsurpassable beauty, her facial features resembling those of young Disney starlet Stefanie Scott. She seems to combine the most desirable features of Disney's princesses and villainesses, both angel and temptress at once.
Alas, no English-language preview of the film has yet emerged, but a Japanese trailer appeared online just two days ago. The footage is both lovely and thrilling:
. . . then being crowned queen . . .
. . . then preparing to use her terrifying, snow-magic powers.
Incidentally, early sketches showed a rather different design for Elsa's sister Anna--one in which the younger girl's resemblance to her sibling was more pronounced.
Perhaps Disney thought that having two gorgeous blondes in a single film would cause the media to explode in a paroxysm of anti-European outrage, so in the end, they gave Anna a rather plainer look.
Early Disney concept art of Elsa offers more insight into the genealogy of the character. In the top sketch, her gown resembles that of Aurora in her "blue" incarnation, while at the bottom, her facial features favour those of Kelsey Olson.
Glimpses of forthcoming Elsa dolls have also materialized online. Barbie will now have to contend with a potent rival, one with a fairer skin tone than Mattel's iconic blonde.
But oh, how one wishes that Disney would create a plus-size Elsa doll, to match the "Ciotka Kena" plus-size Barbie that appeared in Poland some years ago.
Despite the fact that her sister, Anna, is said to be the main protagonist of Frozen, most of the fan attention has thus far been focussed on Elsa. Various Tumblr accounts feature Elsa fan art, including graphics expressing sentiments such as this (the acronym "impo" means "In my personal opinion," according to the Urban Dictionary) . . .
. . . and this:
Regarding the storyline of the film, the question that has most engaged the public is, "Will Elsa be good or evil?" The Wikia page linked above lists evidence supporting both possibilities, but given the character's popularity, it would be unwise of Disney to reduce Elsa to a mere villainess who must be defeated. What would be even worse, though, is if Elsa were simply bested by her sister, in the way that the plain-Jane heroines of Charlotte BrontŽ and George Eliot always triumph over their vainer, blonder, more beautiful rivals.
Bravo to Disney Animation for continuing the great legacy of its founder and bringing the heritage of Europeans and European-Americans to life in a way that connects with contemporary audiences, yet preserves its ageless appeal.
Re: Elsa, The Snow Queen (Disney)
This is definitely the loveliest image of Elsa in this thread. I'm glad that it appears to be a still from the film itself. She's gorgeous. I only wish she were fuller-figured.
What a lovely name for the character too: Elsa. I immediately think of Elsa von Brabant, from Wagner's opera, Tannhšuser.
In some of the images, Elsa's hair reminds me of Kim Novak's, with its very light shade -- except much longer, of course, with that magnificent braid.
The best thing about having this character feature so prominently in a Disney film is that it will show young, fair-featured girls that they do not need to ruin their complexion (and risk skin cancer) with radioactive tans, but that their natural, milky-white skin tone is a thing of beauty, and allows them to do lovely things like blush in modesty, when the situation demands.
I do hope that the male characters in the film will be better than was the case in Tangled. That was the only weakness of Disney's otherwise fine Rapunzel film: that the male lead was so off-putting and low class, so unworthy of Rapunzel.
By the way, I found a lovely comment on Tumblr pertaining to the sentiments expressed in the O.P.:
Re: Elsa, The Snow Queen (Disney)
A new, official Disney poster for Frozen just came out in France today:
It's absolutely magnificent, with Elsa like some kind of female Magus wielding her snowy magic.
Also, those whose Japanese wasn't quite good enough to understand what was in the Asian trailer for Frozen might do better with this, the French version of the same video:
The translation of the trailer is as follows:
I appreciate the fact that the French version is retaining the original title of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy-tale, La Reine des Neiges, i.e., The Snow Queen.
Also, at a film festival in France, they had an advance screening of the movie, and someone took a photograph of an on-screen title card. It gives a new view of Elsa, at the left, and her sister at the right.
No question who the star of the film is going to be! After all, the movie is named after her. In addition to her Katherine-Roll-like hairstyle, with the braid, she also reminds me of the young, curvy Sophie Dahl. I love her alluring, heavily-lidded gaze.
If this had been a curvy princess, she'd be one of the loveliest animated characters ever created.
Re: Elsa, The Snow Queen (Disney)
I just saw a new article at Yahoo that debuted a batch of official posters from Disney, showing the various characters in Frozen.
Elsa's character naturally appers on the first slide, suggesting that she will indeed be the main character- as she should be.
Very pretty, with the snowy fairness of her features and her light-blonde hair- but oh, too, too thin!
The article includes some fascinating tidbits about the plot (which really should come with spoiler warnings):
Also, here's one more picture of Elsa that I discovered online- a still from a leaked preview video (which predates the trailers in this thread) showing Elsa wielding her awesome magic:
The actual video is here. The sequence from which that still is taken appears at 1:05. It's just a short moment, but it's completely amazing.
Re: Elsa, The Snow Queen (Disney)
The Random House now features a number of covers of forthcoming Frozen books. My favourite by far is this one, showing Elsa looking sooooooo pretty. Her hair has a touch of "measured messiness," and she even has ice crystals in heir braid - like diamonds.
I think the speculation that Katherine Roll was the inspiration for Elsa is true! Not only does she have Katherine's Rapunzel-like braid, but in the above cover, Elsa has a lock of hair falling over her forehead, as Katherine did in this amazing picture from her test shoot with Lily Cummings:
Anyway, here's a lovely shot of Elsa arm-in-arm with her sister, with Elsa looking at least a tiny bit curvaceous.
I love how she's playing with her blonde tresses in this picture. She looks so sweet.
And for little children, a forthcoming Golden Book about Frozen:
Here's one more picture I found, showing the contrast in the two sisters' complexions. Elsa's is fairer, with that pink tone to her white skin, while her sister's is more Celtic.
Re: Elsa, The Snow Queen (Disney)
The book-cover images with Elsa are breathtakingly beautiful. I was especially taken with this one:
I was fascinated by how Elsa's arm movements echoed the poster for the re-release of Disney's greatest film, Fantasia, which showed Chernabog (the Slavonic god of darkness, as seen in the "Night on Bald Mountain" segment -- literally "Czarny Bůg," or "dark god") with a similar arm arrangement as he wields his magic, along with a diminutive echo of the same pose from Mickey Mouse, from his "Sorcerer's Apprentice" sketch.
The contrast between Chernabog and Elsa as magians epitomizes the contrast between the aesthetic principles of the Sublime and the Beautiful (as outlined by Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant in their works on aesthetics), which is so often discussed on this forum, like a visual, aesthetic clash between evil and good, between demonic magic and angelic magic.
- - - -
Also, I love the name, "Elsa." It sounds so pretty and feminine, but also distinctly Teutonic, immediately putting a person in the mind of the Nordic fairy-tale on which Frozen is based.
As soon as I read the name "Elsa," I immediately thought of Elsa von Brabant, the heroine of Richard Wagner's magnificent music drama, Lohengrin. I wonder if she was the inspiration for the name?
Here are a couple of old, 19th-century postcards showing how Elsa von Brabant was imagined by Wagner's contemporaries, which have been posted on this forum before. Like her Disney namesake, Elsa von Brabant sports long, fair tresses.
Here, in a collage of images from the opera, you also see Elsa von Brabant's long, golden hair, like Elsa's from Frozen, and her fair complexion. Plus, she's even dressed in blue, as is the Disney heroine.
The storyline of the music drama is very different from that of Frozen, of course. But I think the name might have been inspired by Elsa von Brabant, whom the Elsa from Frozen even visually recalls.
Re: Elsa, The Snow Queen (Disney)
It's been far too long since we updated our thread about Elsa, the tragic protagonist/heroine of Disney's forthcoming film Frozen, so we thought it worth sharing some of the fascinating media that has turned up in the interim.
First, the following is a well-executed fan dub of the international Frozen trailer into English. An official English-language trailer is set to debut tomorrow, but word is that it is a disappointing comedy-based clip that minimizes Elsa's role in the film, whereas this trailer rightly features her as the central character and presents the film as an epic, action-adventure fantasy.
In Germany, the film goes by the title "The Ice Queen," and promotions have shown Elsa looking excitingly vain and alluring, gazing down from the balcony of her ice palace upon the mere mortals who worship her.
Elsa appears front and centre on the current issue of Disney Twenty-Three magazine, the company's official publication for fans, with a mischievous look in her eye.
A similar Disney graphic solely features Elsa and her sister Anna, with the less-interesting, less-attractive sister half-obscured by the diaphanous fabric of Elsa's dress overlay, betokening how a timeless beauty will always command the lion's share of interest over her lesser rivals.
Compare, if you will, that CG depiction of the sisters with this example of official Disney 2D art. Many will contend that Elsa is even more gorgeous in this more traditional style of animation. Here the younger sister is a tad out front, yet Elsa's gorgeous dress still dominates the image, just as Elsa dominates fan interest.
Perhaps the loveliest example of Elsa 2D art shows her looking over her shoulder with a gaze of gentle enticement, her magnificent blonde hair draping in a braid over her shoulder. Observe the snowflake-crystal pattern in the translucent overlay.
Yet Elsa has always been prettiest on the official Frozen book covers, such as this forthcoming publication, which crops close the 2D art shown above. The cover copy referring to "secrets" is quite clever, as in the film, the character of Elsa herself is hiding a great secret from the world: her magical ability to create snow and ice.
The other example of 2D art on a white background shown above provides the cover for the next publication. Here, Elsa looks gentle and vulnerable, appealingly feminine, with those beseeching blue eyes. Note the contrast in complexions between Elsa's exquisite fairness and her sister's darker skin tone.
But Elsa's most alluring image appears on the following cover, as she gazes with heavily lidded eyes in a steamy, seductive manner worthy of Katrina van Tassel. Notice the ice crystals in her blonde hair, like glittering diamonds--surely the loveliest of all hair accessories.
Yet another book cover shows her with an innocent, guileless sincerity, an openness and kindness that belie her reputation as the fearsome snow queen. She is rightly dominant in the image, with her sister relegated to a smaller role.
One final new book-cover picture, cropped from a larger composition, shows Elsa with a passive yet engaged expression, gazing at the viewer with wide-eyed interest, yet with wit glittering in her eyes.
Several interior pages of Frozen books have leaked, which we will refrain from sharing, to avoid disclosing spoilers, but the following picture is too good to pass up: a depiction of little Elsa and her baby sister creating a snowman in their youth. Elsa was surely the prettiest little girl since Georgiana Reed.
One further book illustration shows Elsa's plight in adulthood (she is 21 at the time of the events of the story): Because of her ice powers, which she cannot control and strives to keep secret, she is unable to touch anyone and must wear gloves at all times. Like Rogue in the X-Men films, Elsa is thus denied even the chance of love, condemning her to a life of celibacy and solitude--a pain that becomes all the more acute when, on the day of Princess Elsa's coronation as queen, her sister presents to Elsa her new love.
This example of official Frozen concept art shows the ice palace to which Elsa exiles herself, once her powers are revealed. It is a glittering, crystalline structure, fashioned in the style of a fabulous Gothic cathedral, like one of the dream-churches in the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich.
Before the gates of her ice palace stand terrifying snow creatures which Elsa has created via her snow magic, guarding the castle and preventing visitors from endangering themselves by approaching the queen.
This preview still, posted on Yahoo from the new trailer which will debut tomorrow, shows Elsa within her ice palace about to cast an icy spell upon an antagonist . . .
. . . yet pulling up a moment later, restraining herself from harming anyone, even in her own just defense.
At this point, it is worth providing another video as an interlude. The voice actor for Elsa is one Idina Menzel, a Broadway performer, whose high point in the film will be a song called "Let It Go." At a recent Disney fan convention, the singer previewed "Let It Go" for the audience, and a partial audio recording of the song leaked. Here it is as the soundtrack to a fan video. It gives eloquent voice to Elsa's tragic plight:
For those of you who are captivated by Elsa's gorgeous hairstyle, here is a (slightly blurry) panel of official Frozen concept art showing the many gorgeous variations through which her hairstyle went before the final look was settled. In fact, every one of these is a stunning 'do, and one wishes that she were able to wear each look, at least briefly, in the film. The sheer variety demonstrates yet again why goddesses should always wear their hair long, as long as possible, in order to have such stunning options available to them, to enhance their beauty.
And here are two sketches of official concept art showing the final hair design. In this pose, Elsa looks youthfully earnest, her big eyes almost childlike, even as her face exhibits the maturity of a young woman.
In this sketch, on the other hand, she looks more consciously seductive, as if batting her lashes at an admirer, a playful smile pressing her lips.
As one might expect, fan enthusiasm for Elsa has already been avid, giving rise the effusive expressions of devotion to the snow queen such as this:
For those who collect Disney merchandise, a wide variety of Frozen toys and clothing is already available at Disney stores and Toys 'R Us locations. This Disney doll of Elsa may be the prettiest doll created since the Victorian era. The doll's skin tone is just as exquisitely fair as that of her namesake.
Below is the latest official Frozen poster that is circulating internationally. Though it may not be quite as artistic as the French poster shown above (with Elsa standing atop the mountain in the twilight), it nevertheless presents Elsa as the largest figure in the composition, one with the mountains and the starry sky, her dress cloaking the land in winter. Yet her expression is not that of an antagonist, but a sweet, gentle, adorable young woman, feminine and vulnerable, completely bewitching.
And finally, to tease Elsa fans even further, Disney has released the following brief clip of CG Elsa sauntering across the screen, gently tracing whispers of her magic as she passes, then balling up her energy and letting loose a mighty blast of ice and snow.
However, with her round facial features, blue eyes, and golden hair--the hallmarks of timeless beauty--and with her tragic storyline, Elsa herself is sure to captivate viewers of all ages. She is said to be the most compelling character in Disney history, more even than the Beast in Beauty and the Beast.
Fans who are interested in this film may wish to follow the Tumblr linked below, which focusses on the movie Frozen with a specific focus on Elsa.
(Click images to view larger.)
- Elsa on Tumblr
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