Saturday, May 31, 2014

Weekly Whine: Prince Hans

Warning: Contains spoilers for movie Frozen

I've seen frozen at least a million times, the consequence of having two little girls. And every time, I am bothered by the twist that Prince Hans turned out to be evil.

First of all, at the beginning of the movie, there is a shot of Hans looking quite smitten with Anna soon after they meet. Even when she isn't looking at him. Hans helps everyone they giving out free blankets and providing soup. Then he shows his bravery by fighting a giant snow monster. And lastly, he saves Elsa's life. If he had really been evil, it would've been in his best interest for her to be killed.

And then for no particular reason, he turns out to be evil and underhanded the whole time. I don't buy it.

You know Anna has to fall in love with Christophe, because the grumpy guy is always the most attractive. But why couldn't we have an Enchanted ending, where Hans gets paired off with Elsa or something?


  1. I've only seen the movie once, but I largely agree that the shift seemed rather forced. To a degree, the love between Christophe and Anna also seemed forced. I thought that Anna would be paired with Hans, and that Christophe would be paired with Elsa. It would have been perfect - Elsa wanted to have solitude and was practically sweating ice blocks; Christophe was a hermit and had a love of ice. Pair them up and bring on the "love conquers all/love makes everyone better" trope. Nice one, Disney - you got me.

    My wife wasn't fooled, though. "I knew it from the start," she told me. "Hans had sideburns. With Disney movies, villains usually have sideburns." She only cited one example as proof and I can't think of enough characters to prove or disprove the point.

  2. I've only seen the movie twice, thanks to not quite owning it yet and being too poor to buy it, but I seem to remember on the second viewing that Hans lit up when he found out that Anna was a princess.

    I agree that the transition was a little forced, but in the beginning, he seemed to just want the opportunity to be a monarch, and would've gotten that by marrying Anna. As the movie moved forward, though, he realizes he can have more and it goes to his head.

  3. I've been bothered by the same thing, but this is how I logically explain it in my head:
    When he looks smitten by Ana - he is struck by the idea that he can easily make her fall in love with him and get to the throne that way.
    Taking care of the people - he wants to be the king, so he wants the people to like him. He wants to be able to take over
    Not killing Elsa - He still hadn't married Anna. No way would she marry him if he killed her sister.

    All explainable, I think. Though I have to admit I disliked the twist too the first few times I saw the movie.

  4. I've only seen it once, but I vaguely remember the old guy saying something to Hans that in effect let him know that if Elsa and Anna didn't come back, he would have to take over the kingdom, and right after that Hans's face turned evil. I thought that originally he did love Anna, but he changed his mind when he realized he could gain the kingdom by getting rid of her. I don't think he was bad from the start.
    I was pleased with the ending. I was expecting the same old-same old cheesy love story but when it ended focusing on the love between sisters it was a pleasant surprise. Was it really clear that Anna ended up with Christophe? I thought it was implied that that was the way things were going, but it ended in a way that said to me: "Princesses can have aspirations other than finding a man."
    That's how I took it anyway! I understand your gripe about it though.

    1. I remember now - it was this part:
      Duke: Prince Hans, are we just expected to sit here and freeze while you give away all of Arendelle’s tradable goods?
      Hans: Princess Anna has given her orders and--
      Duke: And that’s another thing; has it dawned on you that your princess may be conspiring with a wicked sorceress to destroy us all?

      Hans then gets evil eyes, rudely shoos the Duke away, and then everything he said after that about needing to save Anna sounded phony to me. Could be a stretch, but that was my first thought.

  5. A couple of things to remember about Prince Hans.

    First off, he makes it clear, from the second meeting, that he is desperate to get out from under the authority and influence of his older brothers. Secondly, while he was giving out necessary supplies, that was something that in a feudal milieu would also have the effect of securing the authority of the throne, even at the potential longer term fiscal health for the kingdom: (While the Duke of Weaselton was an ass, he was not wrong about the potential harm in using up all the trade goods in the emergency. The Duke's priorities were off, his point that they were being used, however, remains valid.) His every action, in restrospect can be interpreted as trying to maintain, or strengthen, that authority.

    Finally, the two key points for his heel face turn are: As Therese points out - he was told he had effectively been added to the succession just before Anna's return; then when he realized that to rescue Anna he would have to provide her a True Love's kiss - that's when he went for broke. He could not provide that kiss. The implication was that the magic would not, could not, be fooled. And once the kiss failed, Anna would realize he couldn't be her true love. If she did that, she could act to remove his link to authority with a phrase.

    So, he went for broke. It really didn't seem so much a shock for me. For that matter, it also did not negate that he was in fact brave. Nor did it negate that he could be capable of great kindness - just that his ambition was strong enough that he would do most anything in the service of that ambition.

  6. I've only seen it once, but my biggest problem with the movie was that Hans was a rather uncomplicated villain, and most Disney villains are pretty complex. We love to hate them. Scar, Maleficent, Cruella, Ursula, they are AWESOME in their evilness. I just kind of disliked Hans and thought he was a twerp.

    You guys make him seem more complex with your comments. I'll have to rewatch.

  7. I totally agree! And if anything, I thought Christophe would end up with Elsa in the end... Actually, I thought Elsa was going to have a bigger role in the movie.

  8. I have seen the movie many more times that I care to count and am tired of the soundtrack. There is an elementary school-aged girl in my life who adores the whole thing. I have mostly been holding my tongue because she's a kid and she should enjoy the things she loves without all the analysis an adult brings to the table, but: argh.

    More than Hans, the whole situation with Elsa bothers me. Even at the end, when she's creating fun times for the townspeople, she's still pretty much alone. The message to me is that hey, sure, you can be a girl with strengths and abilities. People will even be happy to be around you if you're useful to them or give them what they want. But you won't have friends and you won't have a love interest. Those things are for "normal" girls, not you. I so, so hate the message the movie is putting out about girls who are gifted that even the sisterly love saves the day thing (which I liked) has been overshadowed.

  9. Hmmm I have two boys and I've seen it a million times too. And they are 2 & 4, and its really really hard to explain a lot of this stuff to them (I usually vet the movies before they watch them, but it was a cousins watching situation and then they were hooked). Explaining to a 4-year old that Hans is a bad guy in the end ("But WHY did he seem like a good guy in the beginning?" is really tough). So is the whole thing about Elsa hurting Anna but not being a "bad guy"---we are always harping on how "you shouldn't hurt your brother", so in their minds, Elsa hurting her sister is automatically "bad". The whole Elsa character bothers me, and the ending is so sad, as Anon above stated---she's a strong powerful woman with a major difference…who is destined to be alone, while the fun giggly sister gets the guys.

  10. Also disappointedJune 6, 2014 at 6:18 AM

    This guy is on the case:

  11. I've now seen the movie so many times that I can see malice and double-meaning in Hans's every move. He's a manipulative asshole trying to look like a good guy to everyone in the kingdom so he can take it over without protest.

    That said, I would have been perfectly happy with him being a good-guy and having Elsa end up with Kristoff. It sort of sucks that a song as awesome as "Love is an Open Door" is wasted on a deceitful relationship