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This Is The Most Important Disney Movie Of The Decade

The Walt Disney Company has been as busy as ever this past decade, creating a variety of interesting films and long-awaited sequels, from the Hawaiian-set musical Moana to The Incredibles 2. Of course, there are films that did better than others, and some really made a mark on Disney fans far and wide. There is clearly one film released in the past ten years that stands above the rest, completely changing the Disney landscape and American culture forever. Whether it's the movie's catchy songs, cute comedy, or surprisingly dark storyline, there's something for everyone to love about this film.

Do you have a guess? Yes, it's Frozen. The 2013 film, loosely based on the 1844 Hans Christian Andersen folktale The Snow Queen, was Disney's 53rd animated feature film, but it certainly proved that the studio can still create unique hits. Taking place in the fictional kingdom of Arendelle, two princesses are orphaned after their parents die in a shipwreck — a trademark of Disney movies is the death of a parent — and are left to grow up and take on the responsibility of a kingdom all on their own. But there's more to it. Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel), the older of the two, has special ice powers. After she accidentally hurts her younger sister Anna (Kristen Bell), she runs away, deciding her sister and their kingdom are better off without her.

Frozen is a tale of sisterly love

At first glance, the story appears to be the same as any other Disney princess tale. Anna instantly falls in love with a visiting Prince named Hans (Santino Fontana), and they decide to get married. Elsa denies them her blessing, fleeing, and Anna races after her, leaving Hans in charge. On the way, she encounters a magical snowman, Olaf (Josh Gad), and Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), who help her. When Anna gets hurt, Kristoff rushes her back to Hans for a true love's kiss, only to find out that Hans was bad all along. He tries to kill Elsa, intending to take over the throne, but Anna rushes in to save her sister, risking her own life in the process. Turns out, the "act of true love" Anna needed was a sister's love — an interesting twist on a tired trope.

The movie took an extremely long time to come to fruition, with versions being considered or further developed all the way back in 1937, shortly before the premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, as revealed in the book The Art of Frozen. The film had story issues up until 2012, when some last changes to the plot revived Frozen and created the hit franchise that exists today. When it was finally released Disney was happily surprised that Frozen made $1.2 billion worldwide.

Frozen's legacy at Disney will live on for years to come

The film's financial success isn't the only reason Frozen is so important to this decade. With such an honest and truly modern message, the film has already inspired so many young boys and girls, spreading simple yet important ideas about loving and respecting yourself and not needing a prince or anyone else's love to be happy. On top of that, songs like "Let It Go" and "Do You Want To Build A Snowman" will be stuck in people's heads for decades to come, as more and more people discover and become obsessed with the movie.

Expanding on the first film's success, Disney made a sequel called Frozen 2, which became the highest-grossing animated movie ever with a $1.45 billion return at the box office. Multiple short films have followed as well as a Broadway musical, and Disney likely has plans for more to come, with fans hoping that Elsa becomes Disney's first queer princess. The Frozen franchise has also made its way into the Disney theme parks, with a Frozen-themed ride replacing Maelstrom at the Norway pavilion in Epcot, and a Frozen Sing-Along Celebration taking place at Disney's Hollywood Studios, which has been so successful that it's continued way longer than expected. 

No one can deny Frozen's impact. Looking at all of this, it's clear how monumental Frozen is, and just how much it has altered Disney and entertainment worldwide.