People of a religious persuasion call it enlightenment, drunks call it a moment of clarity; but on a Sunday morning a few months ago, in a packed cinema, I had what I’m going to call the potential start date of my mid-life crisis.
Over the weekend I took my 4 year-old to the cinema to catch a movie. My wife wanted us out of the house for whatever reason and it was too early to take the kid to the bar. I considered the local ‘dirt’ park (the name I use to describe the disused shithole park close to our house that seems filled with climbing frames designed to kill children, and packs of drug-addicts trying to dismount the see-saws without sustaining concussions), but I wasn’t in the mood to stand around that place in the rain, and my son hadn’t had a tetanus shot for a while. So with pick ‘n’ mix selected, bottles of water at the ready, and our stupidly priced tickets collected, we were ready to settle down in a giant-ass room full of screaming kids, to watch Disney’s latest offering, Frozen.
By the way, the cost of movie tickets is on my shit-list, I’m not finished with that topic by a long stretch. Two tickets, a few bottles of water and some sweets racks up to £30.00 – are you fucking kidding me, that’s almost the same price the kids pay for a few hits of hillbilly heroin at the aforementioned ‘dirt’ park. Anyway, that’s for another time.
So, the film starts… and it’s excruciating. Talk about so sweet you’re giving me tooth-ache, within ten minutes my teeth had been extracted and replaced with a wooden set. Disney know how to play an audience, no shit, they are fucking masters at it. I’m not sure how many heart-strings we have, but they were giving a virtuoso performance with this movie. The setting, the cutesy dialogue, the songs, the lovable snowman, this thing was taking no prisoners and was not going to stop until every man, woman and child in the place was crying little Disney-hallmarked tears for the big sentimental ending.
I’m forty-two, and pretty jaded on this shit. I’ve been watching movies for a long time, and I’ve given my half-assed opinion on them in a ton of ways. Yes, I handed over some loot for a prized Monsters University baseball cap on a recent hike to Disneyworld, but that movie had Billy Crystal, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi in it – Billy is a god, and the other two frequently appear in Coen Brothers films. For all intent and purpose, I could be watching a weird Barton Fink’esque film based on a dream some kid has about monsters in their closet. No shame in that.
Anyway, I’m sat in my chair and about half-way through the movie. My kid is loving it, laughing at the right moments, and is already talking about the best bits. I’m listening to his chatter and playing with my phone, checking IMDB to see how long this movie goes on for, and in relation to the amount of time I’ve already served. Then it happens…
A princess by the name of Elsa gets thrown out of the kingdom or something, heads to a mountain and builds a huge ice palace – I’m guessing without any prior planning permission or local council involvement. The fucking singing starts once again about how free she feels and stuff, and I look up from my phone just as this computer generated character loosens her alluring blonde hair, sweeps her perfectly-formed head, and with the most wondrous eyes, stares at the camera. She stares at me!
It’s at this point I suddenly become more interested in this film than pretty much anything else I have ever been cognitively aware of… ever. My kid could have wandered off and started eating popcorn from the fucking floor whilst taking a piss against the old woman in row H, I would never have noticed. I was mesmerized by the goddess on the screen.
From this moment my eyes did not leave the screen. Fuck, I don’t even remember blinking. The plot, the singing, the snow shit, all of that dissolved and my complete being was now hopelessly linked to the possibility of her next scene stealing appearance. She was the Princess Elsa, and I was now wrapped within complete devotion.
The film ends, and we leave the place. I go home and my wife asks about the movie. My son gives it the full low-down and rants on the finer details of the snow monster fight and how the Princess punches the baddie and knocks him into the water – for the record, that guy is a real fucking asshole, and clearly has no understanding on how to treat a princess.
Anyway, when my wife asks me about the flick, all I can muster is that the animation was very good. That’s all I had. Why – because to explain my new romance with Princess Elsa felt wrong, forbidden, alarmingly creepy and probably grounds for committal to the local cuckoo hatch. How is it possible? In the space of one hour and forty minutes my love has somehow waned for my long-suffering partner, and defected to something that was drawn by a fucking twenty year-old Disney intern, and only exists on a hard-drive in Hollywood!
Since then I have pretty much Googled the words ‘Princess Elsa’ every day, I’ve downloaded some jpegs of her to keep in my wallet, and have managed to persuade a few friends to watch the movie – for the sole purpose of checking out the blonde hottie wearing the long dress in the ice palace scene, who I will eventually marry in a ceremony probably attended by Pluto, Mary Poppins and a whole fucking team of psychiatrists.
In other words, the kaleidoscope of women I fantasize about has just included the most unobtainable of the species… those that don’t actually fucking exist.
Paul Millard 2014