English in Blockbuster Movies: Frozen

Welcome to the next part of our free English class series about English in Blockbuster Movies! Today we’re going to look at the most popular animated film of the 21st Century: Frozen!

Goals:

  • Learn how to talk about movie plots
  • Learn new general English and movie-related vocabulary
  • Learn how to write titles in English
  • Discover interesting facts about the Frozen animated films

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Time: Approximately 15 minutes

 

Reading Passage

It’s hard to talk about blockbuster movies without mentioning a few animated films like The Lion King, Toy Story, and Shrek. These movies are generally made for children, but they appeal to audiences of all ages. However, few animated movies have had as much of an impact as Disney’s Frozen

 

The Story of Frozen

Originally released in 2013, Frozen tells the story of Elsa, a princess in the fictional land of Arendelle. As a young child, Elsa discovers that she has the power to control ice and snow. Unfortunately, she struggles to control this power, so her parents make Elsa keep her powers secret from everyone, including her younger sister, Anna. Forced to separate at a young age, the two finally reunite on the day Elsa is set to become Queen of Arendelle.

However, a series of unfortunate events cause Elsa to use her powers in front of a large crowd of people (including Anna). The people brand Elsa a monster and force her to flee the castle. When Elsa escapes to the mountains, she inadvertently causes Arendelle to fall into an eternal winter. 

 

The Music of Frozen

While Frozen certainly has an entertaining plot and fun, interesting characters, these weren’t the only reasons it became so popular. The movie’s soundtrack had several catchy songs that helped popularize the movie, especially with younger audiences. The most popular song, “Let It Go,” is one of the most recognizable songs for children (and many adults) around the world. Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell, the actresses who voice Elsa and Anna, also provide the vocals for many of the songs in the movie.

 

A Huge Success

Frozen earned a total of $1.28 billion at the box office, making it the highest-grossing animated film at the time. Disney has also made billions off of merchandise like Frozen toys, clothing, and accessories. Thanks to its overwhelming success, a sequel was released in 2019, continuing the female-driven story of Elsa and Anna. 

 

YouTube Links:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbQm5doF_Uc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eEHYbH2lQg

 

Word Focus

Let’s take a closer look at some of the words in bold from the passage:

  • Reunite – (verb) – To come back together after a period of separation.

After years of living separately, Elsa and Anna finally reunited on Elsa’s 21st birthday.

  • Brand – (verb) – To label; to assign a specific name to someone or something.

In the world of Frozen, people like Elsa get branded as outsiders, monsters, or witches.

  • Flee – (verb) – To escape; to run away.

Elsa had to flee the angry mob at the castle gates.

  • Inadvertently – (adverb) – Accidently; unknowingly.

Disney inadvertently created an international phenomenon when they released Frozen. 

  • Eternal – (adjective) – Forever; unending.

The people of Arendelle were terrified by the eternal winter.

  • Plot – (noun) – The story of a book, play, movie, etc.

Frozen’s plot focused on the difficulties of being different.

  • Soundtrack – (noun) – The music in a movie.

Frozen’s soundtrack was one of its best features.

  • Catchy – (adjective) – Memorable and popular; easy to sing.

“Let It Go” is a very catchy song that audiences immediately loved.

  • Vocals – (noun) – The part of a song involving singing; a singing performance.

Idina Menzel was known for her excellent vocals long before Frozen.

  • Box office – (noun) – The financial success of a movie; the place at a movie theater where people can buy movie tickets.

Frozen and Frozen 2 earned a combined total of $2.78 billion at the box office.

  • Highest-grossing – (adjective) – Earning more money than any other movie.

Frozen is one of the highest-grossing animated films and one of the top-20 highest-grossing films of all time. 

  • Female-driven – (adjective) – Produced by or starring women; focused on stories about women.

Both Frozen and Frozen 2 are female-driven films.

 

Grammar Center

Take a look at the following sentences from the passage:

  • It’s hard to talk about blockbuster movies without mentioning a few animated movie series like The Lion King, Toy Story, and Shrek.
  • The most popular song, “Let It Go,” is one of the most recognizable songs for children around the world.
  • Disney has also made billions off of merchandise like Frozen toys, clothing, and accessories.

All three sentences feature the titles of different artistic works. In English, titles are written in different ways, depending on the type of art to which the title refers. As the examples above show, titles can either be written in “quotation marks” or italics. Though you might see an underlined title from time to time, this method is less common and generally not accepted in formal writing.

The guidelines for writing titles in English are pretty simple. You usually put larger works like books, plays, albums, and movies in italics, like this:

  • Books 
      • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
      • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
      • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • Plays
      • Hamlet by William Shakespeare
      • Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
      • A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
  • Albums
      • Frozen: The Soundtrack
      • Rubber Soul
      • Daydream Nation
  • Movies
      • The Terminator
      • Star Wars: The Force Awakens 
      • Jurassic Park

 

Alternatively, you put shorter works like poems, articles, essays, short stories, episodes in a series, songs, and book chapters in “quotes,” like this:

  • Poems
      • “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
      • “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe
      • “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll
  • Articles and Reviews
      • “History of the Summer Blockbuster” by Meghan Dubitsky
      • Frozen 2 Breaks Box Office Records” by Chris Edwards
      • “Movie Review: Frozen” by Roger Ebert
  • Essays
      • “Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
      • “Notes of a Native Son” by James Baldwin
      • “Once More to the Lake” by E.B. White
  • Short Stories
      • “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe
      • “To Build a Fire” by Jack London
      • ‘The Dead” by James Joyce
  • Episodes
      • “The Rains of Castamere”
      • “Face Off”
      • “The One with Joey’s New Brain”
  • Songs
      • “Let It Go”
      • “For the First Time in Forever”
      • “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”
  • Book Chapters
      • “Chapter V”
      • “Chapter XI: What I Heard in the Apple Barrel”
      • “The Choices of Master Samwise”

*The first word and the first letters of each subsequent word are almost always capitalized in titles (excluding most articles and prepositions), regardless of the format.

It is important to remember that these are general guidelines for writing titles in English, as opposed to rules set in stone. There are some variations depending on the style in which you are writing, such as APA or MLA. You can learn more about how to write titles in different styles with this helpful guide!

 

Quiz

Now, let’s look at a few questions to review the passage, vocabulary, and grammar:

 

1. Which of the following statements most accurately captures the central idea of the passage?

A. Frozen is a female-driven animated movie about a princess, Elsa, and Anna, her younger sister, as they attempt to deal with Elsa’s ability to control ice and snow.
B. Frozen is popular because of its soundtrack, performed by Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell.
C. Frozen grossed over $1 billion at the box office, while Frozen 2 grossed $1.5 billion.
D. Frozen is easily Disney’s most popular film to date, thanks in large part to the funny characters.

2. Why was Elsa forced to leave the castle?

A. Anna threw her out
B. Her parents forced her to leave
C. Elsa revealed her powers
D. Elsa didn’t want to be Queen

3. Which word is most closely associated with vocals?

A. Dancing
B. Animation
C. Movies
D. Singing

4. Which word is an antonym for eternal?

A. Forever
B. Time
C. Temporary
D. Long

5. Which of the following should be used for the title of a poem?

A. Quotation marks
B. Underlining
C. Bold print
D. Italics

6. Fill in the Blanks: Chris Buck directed ______ in 1999 and ______ in 2013.

A. “Tarzan” and “Frozen”
B. Tarzan and Frozen
C. “Tarzan” and Frozen
D. Tarzan and “Frozen”

 

 

Correct Answers:

  1. A
  2. C
  3. D
  4. C
  5. A
  6. B
Jake Pool

Jake Pool

After working in the restaurant industry for over a decade, Jake left to pursue his career as a writer and ESL teacher. He now creates content that informs, inspires, and educates ESL students on a wide range of topics. Jake also records audio for his articles to help students with pronunciation and comprehension.
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