So the VGX awards happened last night.
A quick backstory for those not in the loop: this is an annual video game award show previously known as the Spike TV Video Game Awards that appears to have been set up as a sort of gaming version of the Oscars but was widely mocked and derided as the plague center of “bro” culture in gaming and regarded as little more than a joke.
This year the Spike TV branding has been shed, presumably in an effort to give the whole thing a classier image. I didn’t watch the award show itself to see if this was successful (apparently there were transphobic jokes on stage so I guess not) but I did want to comment on the winners a bit, since they revealed some interesting trends.
Frozen is a movie that came out against a hefty river of backlash, partially because it was saddled with a breath-takingly awful and misleading marketing campaign seemingly designed to make it look as much as possible like the sort shallow, pop-culture obsessed filler Dreamworks would put out on a bad day but also because the thematic content of Disney’s films (and particularly its more girl-oriented “princess” films, of which this is one) have been frequently called out for consistently hewing to fairly regressive gender roles.
I’ve seen some audiences and critics hail the house of mouse’s latest effort, a story very loosely inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, as a complete and total revolution for the company, a full repudiation of the old days and even as a new feminist beacon in children’s entertainment. All of that is overstating things hugely- there is ultimately nothing in a surface level reading of Frozen that isn’t going to sit right at home with Disney’s traditional normative family audience- but it does represent a welcome shift in focus and directly takes pot-shots at one of the stalest and most old fashioned of the Disney aesops while presenting some subtext that’s a bit unexpected for the company (and if you’re willing to look even further and engage in a little speculation, some subtext that’s way unexpected for the company) while also being for the most part a wonderfully entertaining little fairytale musical.