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Animation / The Snow Queen (2012)

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The Snow Queen is a 2012 Russian computer-animated adaptation of The Snow Queen, directed by Maxim Shveshnikov and Vladen Barbe. It was released in Russia in 2012, and the international version, dubbed into English, was released on January 3, 2013, nearly a year before Frozen (2013). It followed the original Hans Christian Andersen story to a point, but also added backstory for the Snow Queen, took out most of the evil mirror/devil aspects, and tried to be darker and edgier.

Wishing to create a world where clean lines replace emotions and the wind cools human souls, the Snow Queen has blanketed the world in ice and set out to destroy all art. According to the predictions of a magic mirror, the last threat to the Snow Queen comes from the master glass-maker Master Vegard, whose mirrors reveal one's true self. The Snow Queen's polar wind kills Vegard and his wife Una, but they hide their son Kai and daughter Gerda. When Kai grows of age, the Snow Queen realizes he poses a threat to her and captures him... and Gerda goes out to save him.

The film was followed by three sequels, The Snow Queen 2: The Snow King, The Snow Queen 3: Fire and Ice, and The Snow Queen 4: Mirrorlands. The second film is set a year after the Snow Queen's defeat. Orm has thawed out the other trolls, but in an attempt to impress Princess Maribel and her uncle the King, he lies about defeating the Snow Queen. When the North Wind, working under a mysterious Snow King, abducts the princess, Gerda, Kai, and Orm must save her—provided they can work together long enough.

The third film deals with Gerda's wish to find her parents who were taken away by the North Wind. Along the way Gerda and her friends discover an ancient magical artifact of the trolls, the Stone of Fire and Ice. From that moment on, things don't go according to the initial plan, as the mighty Fire King threatens the world, and Gerda becomes possessed by the Snow Queen's vengeful spirit.

The fourth film deals with a king who almost lost his family to the Snow Queen, finding a way to remove all magic from the land by banishing all magic-users to the Mirrorlands. Gerda must stop him, as her own power is her faith in kindness and friendship. Along the way, she's helped by trolls, pirates and even the Snow Queen herself.

Not to be confused with The Snow Queen (1957), The Snow Queen (1977), The Snow Queen (1995), or The Snow Queen (2005) anime.

This film series contains examples of:

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     Tropes That Apply To Two Or More Movies 
  • Antagonist Title: The Snow Queen, The Snow King and The Fire King.
  • Artifact Title: The second and third movies have little to do with the Snow Queen herself.
  • Big Bad:
    • The Snow Queen in the first movie.
    • In the second movie, the main villain is The Snow King, Orm's reflection.
    • The third movie has a Big Bad Ensemble featuring The Snow Queen, The Fire King and Rollan.
    • The Fourth film’s main antagonist is King Harold.
  • The Dragon: The North Wind to the Snow Queen. In the sequel it serves under the Snow King, Orm's reflection. In the fourth film, The King has his Admiral.
  • Dragon Their Feet: The North Wind, being a titanic force of nature, is never directly fought in either of the first two films and escapes to cause more trouble.

     The Snow Queen 
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the original story, the Robber Girl's mother was a rather ugly woman with a beard. Here she's a very attractive woman.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Oddly enough, done with an object, the mirror (mirrors in this movie). Magic mirrors were created by a wizard that reflect what's in a person's heart. These mirrors are the only thing that can defeat the Snow Queen. In the original story there was one magic mirror, unless the Mirror of Reason counts, and it was made specifically to make everything it reflected seem ugly. Also, it was made by the Devil himself.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • The Snow Queen was an ambiguous figure in the book; here she's an all-out villain.
    • The witch with the garden is a nice character in the book, even though she tries to keep Gerda with her forever. Here she's a villain who wants Gerda around to help her business.
  • After the End: The movie is set in a world of eternal winter.
  • Big Fun: Mrs. Vanberry.
  • Bond One-Liner: A villainous example - the Snow Queen jokes about Vergard and Una's frozen bodies after killing them.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Surprising nobody, Orm's ability to turn into a polar bear plays a pivotal role in the climax.
  • Crapsack World: Takes place in a world conquered by a totalitarian Snow Queen, who has brought on a new Ice Age, and also banned art.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: The Snow Queen's backstory shows her as a girl whose natural sorcerous powers were so strong that she was rejected and mocked by her people.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Snow Queen rules the world and plans to cause eternal winter everywhere, the trolls were all wiped out, except for one, and several incidental characters try to kill Gerda.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: In the most literal sense. The Snow Queen defrosts to Irma at the climax of the film.
  • Downer Beginning: The story starts with Gerda and Kai's parents being frozen into ice, killing them.
  • Endless Winter: This is the Snow Queen's goal.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Vergard and Una embrace and say they love each other before the North Wind freezes them.
  • An Ice Person: The Snow Queen controls the North Wind, ice beasts, and can freeze anyone to the point of death.
  • Kick the Dog: The Housemaster burning Kai's paintings and paintbrushes. Orn uses this as a catalyst to trick Kai into leaving.
  • Kill It with Ice: The Snow Queen kills her victims this way.
  • Magic Mirror: Gerda and Kai's father made these mirrors.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: Gerda and Kai's father made mirrors like this, and Gerda herself carries one. This is why the Snow Queen is afraid of mirrors; she can't bear to know what she has become.
  • The Mole: Orm is this initially.
  • Outrun the Fireball: In the prologue, Gerda and Kai's father tries to outrun the North Wind's wave of ice. After a while, it catches up to him and kills him and his wife.
  • Scenery Gorn: There are beautiful shots of the town being destroyed by the North Wind in the opening.
  • Scenery Porn: The movie is very pretty, particularly in scenes with snow.
  • Team Pet: Luta, and Orm when he's a weasel.
  • There Is Another: Both Kai and Gerda are the last heirs to Master Vagard. The Snow Queen only captures the former.
  • Tongue on the Flagpole: Orm gets his tongue stuck on some ice.
  • Unseen Evil: The Lake of Gow; looking at it draws you to your death, and it turned Irma into the Snow Queen.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: One is seen in the ending credits in the style of traditional animation.
  • You Are Not Alone: Gerda sees a vision of her parents that say this.

     The Snow Queen 2 
  • The Cameo: The Headmaster makes a brief appearance at the orphanage during Gerda, Kai, and Alfida's debut.
  • Damsel in Distress: Maribel.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the first film. The Snow King proves to be a much bigger threat than the Snow Queen, and he comes very close to winning by the end.
  • A Darker Me: The villain of the sequel is Orm's reflection, born from his lies.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: In the sequel, Orm claims that he personally defeated the Snow Queen and is destined to marry a princess and inherit great power and riches.
  • The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: Orm's reflection communicates with him throughout the film, culminating in tricking Orm into pulling him into the real world.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Orm's reflection manipulates Orm at several points in the movie, including tricking Orm into pulling him into the real world.
  • Near-Villain Victory: By the end, the Snow King and his minions have been released into the real world, all the heroes are frozen into ice sculptures, and Orm is imprisoned in the mirror realm. Orm only succeeds when he confesses to his lies, which thaws out his friends.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Gerda does this to Orm after he takes credit for defeating the Snow Queen in the first movie.

     The Snow Queen 3 
  • Amusing Injuries: Rollan falls victims to these at several points.
  • An Ice Person: Gerda while possessed by the Snow Queen.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Snow Queen, the Fire King and Rollan.
  • Big "NO!": Kai does this when he sees the troll village (which Gerda is located at) erupt in flames.
  • Big Red Button: Gerda unintentionally leans on one while she and Rollan are in the temple, resulting in Rollan being hit with another booby-trap.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Rollan.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Gerda is de-possessed by the Snow Queen's spirit near the end of the film, ridding herself of her ice powers. Doesn't stop her from taking down the Fire King, though.
  • Butt-Monkey: Rollan, even moreso than Orm.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Gerda creates a train out of solid ice in order to take her and Rollan to the troll's library midway through the movie. She later uses it to ram the Fire King into the lake to defeat him.
  • Evil All Along: Rollan.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: The Fire King. Rollan as well, upon gaining the Fire King's powers.
  • Fire/Ice Duo: Rollan and Gerda when they're bestowed with the powers of the Fire King and the Snow Queen respectively.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Rollan tends to slip into his Spanish language at different points.
  • Groin Attack: Rollan receives this several times throughout the film.
  • Harmless Freezing: Despite having been frozen in ice for several years, Gerda and Kai's parents seem to suffer no severe damage upon being thawed at the end of the film.
  • Kill It with Water: How Gerda defeats the Fire King (and by extension, Rollan).
  • Living Lava: The Fire King is a giant monster made out of molten rock.
  • Missing Mom: Rollan mentions to Gerda that the reason he studies legends is because he hopes to one day reunite with his lost mother. Subverted when it's later revealed that he was lying about his mother being missing in order to gain Gerda's trust. Implied to be double subverted in the fourth film as Rollan had no memory of him betraying Gerda and it’s possible that he really was trying to find his mother.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The whole plot wouldn't have happened if Gerda and Rollan had simply stayed out of the forbidden temple.
  • Not Quite Dead: Gerda and Kai's parents are thawed out of the ice they were frozen in at the end of the movie.
  • One-Winged Angel: Rollan allows the Fire King's spirit to consume him, transforming into him and wreaking havoc on the village.
  • Playing with Fire: Rollan is possessed by the Fire King upon touching the wishing stone, giving him fire powers.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Kai comes across as this in the movie with his attitude towards Gerda and their performances to towns about their adventures, despite that its the only way they can earn money.
  • Youthful Freckles: Gerda has gained these.

     The Snow Queen 4 
  • The Atoner: Rollan becomes one in the fourth film after he is found alive and has no memory of him being possessed by the Fire King and it’s implied that the Fire King not only possessed his body but also his mind and really was trying to find his mother. He tells Gerda that he’ll do anything to atone for what he did.
  • Big Good: The Snow Queen becomes this in the fourth film.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: It's the King's son who calls him out on how he's not so different from the Snow Queen.
  • Emperor Scientist: King Harald is an inventor who has created powerful machines and seeks to rid the world of all magicians.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Snow Queen, Rollan and The King.
  • Heel Realization: The King realizes not all magical beings are evil when his son reveals himself as one.
  • Loophole Abuse: The Lady of Lapland sees a prophecy regarding the Snow Queen promises the latter she'll tell the end of the prophecy. She doesn't say whom she'll tell it to.
  • Magic Versus Science: The King plans to replace magic with science. After the King’s Heel Realization, he and his son are seen combining them during the credits.
  • Not Quite Dead: Rollan turns out to be alive.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: The Prince says the King isn't different than the Snow Queen.
  • The Reveal: Gerda has magic after all. The Snow Queen claims Gerda's magic developed later than usual because she was born at the Year of the Red Dragon. The King's son is also magical and proves it by crossing the gate into the Mirrorlands.