As Elsa and Anna are learning about their family history, so is Disney in creating a sequel to their full-length animated movies that is equally engaging as the first one with “Frozen 2.”
When Disney created sequels to “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King,” etc., some of us fans were a bit disappointed since the quality and narrative of these sequels have departed from their respective original materials. With the decline of the quality, these materials were painful to watch even for a home video level.
Disney should be thankful that social media was not yet around in the 90s, otherwise, Aladdin’s “Return of Jafar” and the rest will be bashed relentlessly due to the cited reason. Disney made it right this time with Frozen 2: The quality of animation from the first one is intact or even improved, same characters, same voices, lots of humor, with not-so memorable set of music this time (saved the chanting of the Northuldra tribe that we heard during Frozen’s opening, you will hear more of it here in a touching scene, and the mysterious song that only Elsa (Idina Menzel) can hear, which is probably Frozen 2’s unofficial anthem).
While we fear Elsa’s power might consume her to be evil in the first movie, Frozen 2 lets us celebrate her Snow Queen status and even made us wish that Elsa will discover more of her power and its uses. This is because Grand Pabbie, the leader of the mystical trolls, warned Ana (Kristen Bell) about the dangers that they might encounter as Elsa awakened a key entity in Enchanted Forest — “We have always feared Elsa’s powers were too much for this world. This time, I hope her power is enough.” Grand Pabbie was right at some point, and it’s a good thing that Elsa has an intuitive sister who seems to know what she needs and what must be done. The bond of sisterhood is stronger with this one, and this bond has led them to learn new things and mature gloriously.
First, let’s discuss how bravery, as the movie’s theme, manifests throughout. [SPOILERS] When Ana and Olaf (Jonathan Groff) reached the cave to search for Elsa, who was frozen in the mystical island, Olaf flurries. Both of them knew that something bad happened to Elsa and that Olaf will soon melt away. This is perhaps the most heartbreaking scene in the movie — imagine being trapped somewhere with your best friend who suddenly died, leaving you helpless, alone, and trapped. Despite the pain and hopelessness, Ana, through the song “The Next Right Thing,” has chosen to be brave in order to do the next best thing for the sake of others. Of all the songs in the tracks list, The Next Right Thing must be the most powerful and moving, with a message even better than what “Let It Go” says.
Of course, we cannot discredit Elsa’s bravery as well as she has decided to go alone to Atohollan, the undiscovered island where the mysterious song is coming from, without knowing what is in there. She and Ana made a promise that they will go through everything together, but Elsa knew how dangerous it would be for Ana, who has no magical powers to survive the potential dangers await, so she sent her and Olaf into a sailing iceboat, hence, their parting.
With Elsa’s bravery, she was able to tame the wild water spirit and discovered a family secret that explained her curse/gift in some way (but I am not totally convinced that’s only it). With Ana’s bravery, she was able to resolve the conflict between Arendelle’s guards and the Northuldra tribe, despite knowing the heartbreaking effect of the deed, and freed them from being trapped to the enchanted forest.
We all know how clingy Ana is to her sister and it is understandable since they only have each other after their parents died(?). At the final act of Frozen 2, Ana tried her best to stand on her own feet after assuming that Elsa has died as reflected through Olaf’s melting. This simply implies that Ana is almost ready to accept Elsa’s fate. That’s why she’s in great disbelief and joy when she sees Elsa riding the water spirit, alive, after all the chaos.
So it is not hard to understand that Ana will naturally accept Elsa’s decision to stay at the forest and rule the Northuldra tribe and her as the new Queen of Arendelle. With everything that happened, we know that Ana would probably bargain for such setup instead of having her sister completely gone. This may be a forced maturity at Ana’s part but this is such as momentous character development that is acceptable and mostly realistic.
Disney has brilliantly setup Frozen into a future franchise by planting mysterious subplots and unexplored characters. In the trailer, we were led to believe that Elsa and Ana’s parents were alive, or a possibility of it. However, we were given here a faint back story of how their parents met, but not the story of how their ship has sunk or if they’ve survived at all. Obviously, Disney has a trick up their sleeves since the mystery behind their parents’ disappearance will probably be the next biggest plot for the potential Frozen 3 in the future.
Audiences can easily perceive that another sequel is in order when we see Elsa riding the water spirit as the final scene. The material still has a pulse and is wildly beating. Not to mention the purpose of the spirits of the four elements that Elsa has all tamed, which may play a huge part in the potential sequel.
What I appreciate about this movie is the innovative storytelling when they made the family history as the “villain” and no physical villain has actually presented. No likes of Ursula, Jafar, or Scar have been introduced, not even another Elsa, yet it worked in the same entertaining level. I have to give it to Disney for a remarkable accomplishment.
Other memorable points observed in this movie include the solo song number of Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) with “Lost in the Woods,” Olaf’s unsolicited trivia appeared to be helpful at all, particularly the “water has memories” that actually refers to him (yes, kids! Olaf’s alive), and Elsa finally asking Ana “Do you want to build a snowman?” as she revives Olaf containing all of his memories and new-found philosophies about maturity.
Frozen 2 demonstrates Disney’s capability to revise its original source yet made it timeless just the same without the help of Pixar. Frozen 2 is definitely a must-watch for its originality.