Valerie Frankel

Valerie Frankel

  • Valerie Frankel
    Published 4 days ago
    Wrapping up 'Game of Thrones'

    Wrapping up 'Game of Thrones'

    Okay, Game of Thrones ended. People’s initial posts were on how satisfying it was (mostly rated from “I cried” to “perfectly reasonable” to “better than the previous episode at least,” with most, including me, in the middle.)
  • Valerie Frankel
    Published 7 days ago
    Returning to 'Star Wars' Western Roots

    Returning to 'Star Wars' Western Roots

    With episode four, The Mandalorian moves on from worldbuilding for a contained adventure fully cognizant of Star Wars’ roots in the western. In “Sanctuary,” Mando takes Baby Yoda to the remote planet of Sorgan, so they can lay low. He’s intrigued, not by the farmers’ plea for protection, but by their available lodging in such a distant area where he can avoid the bounty hunters’ guild and the former Imperial soldiers, as they search for Baby Yoda.
  • Valerie Frankel
    Published 8 days ago
    The Biggest Problem with 'Frozen II'

    The Biggest Problem with 'Frozen II'

    Like all in the theater, I was swept along with the characters of Frozen II. I laughed. I cried. (Well, okay, neither much, but the spirit was there.) Then Kristoff finally got to propose and I realized that I didn’t know what Anna would say—her response really hadn’t been set up. And that’s likely the biggest problem with Frozen II.
  • Valerie Frankel
    Published 8 days ago
    Easter Eggs in 'Frozen'

    Easter Eggs in 'Frozen'

    The film starts with young Elsa and Anna building snowmen and other small models while their parents watch. While some fans spotted Bolt, Baymax, and Dumbo among the figurines. The former two are from films codirected by Chris Williams — the man who voices Oaken in both Frozen films. Mattea Conforti, who played Anna on Broadway, voices young Elsa. While the little girls hear the story, their mother’s shawl with its diamond pattern appears. Less obvious is the little horse figurine by Elsa’s bed, another bit of foreshadowing. Her mother may have even given it to her deliberately. The diamond pattern, representing the four elements and Elsa's new "fifth spirit" symbol, appeared frequently throughout the first movie, usually near Elsa. It also appeared in early promotion materials for Frozen II. On hearing their father’s story, young Anna cries, "Whoever saved you, I love them!" while falling into her mother's lap. This is fun foreshadowing on a second viewing. At the beginning, Anna’s tan festival dress and bronze necklace repeat detailing from the flags around Arendelle, including their somewhat fleur-de-lis design. This is a logical dress for the princess to wear, but also foreshadows her destiny. Elsa never wears this flowery pattern, only her snowflake. Anna also says that her problems are solved with the gates of Arendelle open. Production designer Mike Giaimo and art director of environments David Womersley appear as little statues in the "Some Things Never Change" song. Playing charades, Olaf briefly looks like Mickey Mouse. Anna knocks on Elsa’s snowflake decorated door the way she did as a little girl in movie 1. When Elsa sings "Into the Unknown," she spins and leaves an ice circle in her wake. Two circles appear atop that circle, forming the Mickey shape again. The trolls make a brief, possibly unnecessary, appearance at the beginning. They give more warnings about Elsa’s being too powerful, possibly. Both young women quest in new clothes that echo their signature colors from Frozen I. Anna’s magenta cape also echoes one Elsa wore at the beginning of Frozen I, or perhaps is the same one. Frozen II begins with Elsa in a magenta dress that matches the cape as well, and her braid is back. When Elsa finally pushes Anna away, literally, and forces her to go on a different path, Anna loses the magenta cape and shines in her own autumn colors. These also match Kristoff’s, suggesting their deeper tie as she abandons Elsa’s plot for her own. Anna’s auburn and green echo the enchanted forest and fall leaves of change, while Elsa’s is a magical ice blue, changing later to spiritual white. While the former suggests a tie to the land and the latter a tie to the spiritual world, visually, the Northuldra lands better match Anna’s clothes and their icy town better matches Elsa’s, giving them something of a flip. Olaf’s piles of fun facts are an homage to 1996 film Jerry Maguire, with a very similar road trip scene. Bruni looks like the hero of Pixar’s unreleased film Newt. Anna recognizes Mattias because of all the time she spent as a child chatting with the pictures on the wall. Olaf retells the entire plot of Frozen I, complete with quotes and musical snippets The ice memories do something of the same. Elsa laughs in embarrassment at the image of "Let it Go," and smashes the rude prince Anna likes. As Kristoff sings about Anna, he has flashbacks through their courtship. His visual, being surrounded by reindeer, visually nods to a similar setup in “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Apparently, Jonathan Groff was singing the voices of 18 reindeer. There are more traditional 80s music video moments in the song, like when Kristoff goes to hug Anna, but she disappears right out of his arms. Several questions from movie one are answered, including why Elsa has powers and what her and Anna's parents were doing on that disastrous sea voyage. Elsa’s entering her place of power, singing about what she’s found and transforming with a glorious new gown is certainly a call back to the same scene in Frozen. She also lets down her hair even further—from braid to fully down, and her gown gets more magical still. The blue is like a middle stage from her passage from civilized queen to full spirit. In the ice memories, young Agnarr is reading a new book “some Danish author.” In fact, Ariel from The Little Mermaid is on the cover. Since Hans Christian Andersen not only wrote that story but also The Snow Queen, it’s a fun homage. The Little Mermaid was published in 1837 and The Snow Queen in 1844. If this takes place in our world, and The Little Mermaid was just published, Anna and Elsa could be grown up a generation later around the 1860s or seventies. They even could have acquired cameras in the interim. Olaf’s fading away somewhat echoes Spider-Man’s in Infinity War, now owned by Disney. Gale collects Olaf’s snow and decorates it with purple flowers, likely a reference to the scene at the end of Frozen I when Olaf enjoys smelling two buckets of purple flowers in the town. Elsa recreates Olaf by asking Anna, “Do you want to build a snowman?” Anna’s hair at the end matches the updo Elsa had for her coronation. Further, both queens' looks also happen to match their mother's style we saw in both movies. Post-credits, Olaf gets to retell these events in his own hilarious fashion. The snow goblin in the post-credits scene is wearing the crown Elsa threw away in the first movie.
  • Valerie Frankel
    Published 8 days ago
    What to Do with Your NaNoWriMo Novel Before Sending It Out…

    What to Do with Your NaNoWriMo Novel Before Sending It Out…

    Okay, you finished the entire thing. That’s wonderful! Of course, there are a few steps necessary before you self-publish or try to get it professionally published.
  • Valerie Frankel
    Published 9 days ago
    What to Do After Nanowrimo

    What to Do After Nanowrimo

    People always ask me, how do you get published? There’s really only one way. Your concept has to excite a publisher more than the hundreds of others they get each week. Write an enticing query letter – a one page description of your project that includes a hook or tagline and bio, plus a bit about who will read it (there’s a sample in the appendix). Publishers of fiction expect your manuscript to be completed, while nonfiction publishers are willing to buy manuscripts based on a book proposal – a ten page summary of your book concept, audience, reasons you’re qualified to write it, marketing platform, and so forth. Prepare your query and also your fiction manuscript or nonfiction proposal. Just as there are many excellent guides to writing, there are excellent books on writing queries and proposals. Then you’re ready to start querying.