Frozen is an amazing cultural phenomena. And people are going to be trying to figure it out forever. And since people hate formulas, all these attempts are going to fall short.
But I am more interested in what culturally popular things say about us than how to reproduce it. Yes, I believe good story telling is a dying art and people still love a good story. Frozen is a good story. But what worries me as a pastor is the fact that Elsa is the one everyone likes. Elsa is the name jumping in popularity not Anna. Elsa's song is the one that won the awards despite the fact that the movie itself is trying to tell you everything Elsa is saying is a lie and wrong. The movie has great themes. Being alone is not the answer. True love is self sacrificial and should be found in places other than romantic love. It is foolish to jump to romantic love. And you can even see the dire consequences of parenting as the parents pathetic and awful advice to their daughter ruins her and her relationship with her sister.
Yet, the song everyone loves is the song that is being sung while Elsa endangers everyone with her self centered behavior. It is the song that ultimately has to be undone to save everyone. And people seem to be identifying with Elsa rather than with Anna, who is the actual hero of the movie.
This is not a one time thing either. Take a look at the popularity of the Hunger Games. Katniss is not a good person, and in the books at least, she knows it. Yet, she is loved by millions. Or the popularity of Twilight where a Vampire is the main love interest and people are supposed to be cheering for a young girl to become a vampire.
Don't just stick with movies. You name it, our culture gets it backward and wrong. Take wrestling as an example. John Cena is good guy on WWE wrestling. Never does anything wrong, does not break the rules and gives fans gifts. Yet, he is often booed, and the bad guys who break the rules are cheered. This is not the way it was when I was growing up.
Take Lebron James. People love to cheer against this guy. They don't like him and maybe his live decision to go to Miami was in bad taste, but the money from that went to the Boy's Club of Cleveland. And it is not like Lebron has been accused of rape (Kobe Bryant) or has a massive gambling problem (Michael Jordan) or has committed adultery with thousands of women (Magic Johnson). And no one even cares about Tim Duncan who just seems to be a good guy who does not get in anyone's way.
Look at the world of superheroes. People hate Superman and Batman is beloved. Why? Because Batman is dark and almost over the edge to being a bad guy. Superman is a boy scout who does what is right and that is that. He stands for truth, justice, and the American way. People hate that now days. Or just looking broader DC Comic Superheroes (other than Batman) do not do so well while Marvel Super Heroes (like the Avengers) do great. Why? Because Marvel's superheroes were always flawed and broken while DC usually had heroes that were morally upright and motivated by right. The DC Comics sold much better than Marvel in the 50's and early 60's. Now not so much. You can probably look at any industry and see this very thing.
I believe we have gone beyond a society that just does not know the difference between right and wrong. We live in a world that can tell the difference between right and wrong, but has decided to idolize the wrong, and despise the right. Even when a movie like Frozen hits us right between the eyes and tries to tell us right is right and wrong is wrong, we still screw it up and attach ourselves to the wrong. And since it is a kids' movie, it makes it all the more worrisome. The message that we should love the wrong is getting to us early and often.
The answer of course is the gospel. However, we need to make sure we are administering the gospel early and helping even our young children begin to discern right from wrong and love the right and hate the wrong at a very early age. This I believe is one of the reasons that we lose so many young people. As studies have shown, we have often lost them while they are still attending. We have not helped them see through the lies of the culture about evil being a lovable thing. This is one place where the culture is way ahead of us. They want kids to love evil. They get kids emotionally involved. They go to their heart strings and attach them to the wrong places. We as the church too often are still telling our kids "No don't hate. It is not nice to hate." While that may be true if we are talking about people, we need to be teaching our kids a heartfelt hatred of sin that makes them turn from it, and a heartfelt love of God that makes them run toward Him. It is never too early to start.