Title: ‘Frozen 2’
Directors: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee (‘Frozen’)
Embarking on a voyage of discovery-both in the self and literal senses-is a vital part of any young adult who wishes to find their place in society. That’s certainly the case for the royal sisters, Elsa and Anna, in the new animated film, ‘Frozen 2,’ which serves as the sequel to the 2013 Oscar-winning hit, ‘Frozen.’ The adventure comedy proves that with a bit of courage, passion, grit and imagination, anything, even venturing into the unknown, is possible.
The new family movie, which Walt Disney Animation Studios is releasing in theaters today, was directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, the latter of whom also penned the script. The filmmakers came back to the ‘Frozen’ franchise after they helmed the first installment, and were once again joined by the original core cast, as well as returning songwriters, Robert Lopez and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez.
‘Frozen 2′ opens with the royal sisters’ parents, King Agnarr (Alfred Molina) and Queen Iduna (Evan Rachel Wood) of Arendelle, as they recount their kingdom’s past to their daughters. The king’s father, King Runeard (Jeremy Sisto), and his head general, Mattias (Sterling K. Brown), are told to be the victims of a magical attack that ended in an enchanted forest in their neighboring village of Ahtohallan being engulfed in a mist for three-and-a-half decades. The two young princesses eventually realize that everything bad that has happened to their family was a direct consequence of their grandfather’s misguided attempts to manipulate their kingdom’s neighbors, the indigenous tribe of Northuldra.
The story then fast-forwards to three years after the events of the first film. Elsa (Idina Menzel) remains committed to her duties as Queen of Arendelle, as well as intent on understanding her abilities and heritage. But she’s still largely preoccupied in exploring and mastering her power of nature, while her younger sister, Princess Anna (Kristen Bell), continues to reacquainte herself with her older sibling and her role in the kingdom.
While Elsa struggles to find a balance of being the Queen of Arendelle and understanding her true nature, a devastating storm drives everyone from the kingdom. Else, Anna and the residents of Arendelle take refuge in an enchanted forest, to which the Queen feels like she’s being called. The forest is the same one that was affected by the actions of her and Anna’s grandfather. With the help of their beloved snowman, Olaf (Josh Gad), and Anna’s well-meaning boyfriend, Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), the sisters are determined to do whatever it takes to protect their kingdom. The group’s also determined to discover the secrets of, and lift the fog from, the forest, which holds the secret of their parents’ disappearance.
While the main characters of the ‘Frozen’ series are at the top of the hierarchy of Arendelle, the new follow-up continues to prove what fully developed, complex protagonists Elsa and Anna are as they struggle to not only continue to develop and define their relationships, but also feel comfortable and confident with their roles. As the screenwriter, Lee humanely and effortlessly infused the ruling sisters with a relatable sense of suffering hardship and loss. However, the duo triumphantly work to overcome their struggles, as ‘Frozen 2′ strives on emphasizing the story’s themes of the importance of girl-power, as well the need to fulfill their sense of adventure on their own terms.
Not only does the theme of girl power resonate with modern younger audiences, so does Elsa and Anna’s drive to confront such important issues as racial inequity, climate change and contending with the aftermath of the actions of previous generations. On screen, the two sisters are determined to change modern politics, as they demand better ways of life for the people they serve.
Elsa, Anna and their friends’ determination to uncover the secrets, and improve the political landscape and overall life, of Arendelle is also showcased in the stunning and captivating songs that are featured in ‘Frozen 2.’ The Lopezes returned to the franchise, after they were honored in the Best Original Song category at the 2014 Academy Awards for the Menzel-sung hit track, ‘Let It Go.’
Together the Lopezes penned seven all-new original, fun and intriguing songs that capture the diverse emotions that the characters experience during their journey as they try to lift the spell that’s been cast on Ahtohallan. The tracks reflect that Elsa and Anna are becoming more independent, as a result of their own personal experiences and emotions. They also emote through the music that they have to walk their own paths and face their own moments of crisis without the other there to protect them. The duo express their epic journey of growing up on their own.
The sequel’s most epic tune, which is sure to rival ‘Let It Go,’ is Menzel’s ‘Into the Unknown.’ Elsa is able to reveal her true feelings of feeling as though she needs to embark on her own journey, without her sister protecting her. She yearns to discover where she truly belongs, and what her true purpose is in life. The show-stopping song really starts Elsa’s personal journey beyond Arendelle, and drives the entire story forward.
The importance of embracing internal change as the world around them also evolves is a vital theme of the ‘Frozen’ series. The new follow-up emotionally proves that Disney is powerfully adopting to the new social environment, and realizes that queens and princesses no longer succeed as a result of just romantic love; the love and acceptance of their family is just as imperative, as they also strive to forge their own independence and paths in life. From the strong characterizations of its resolute female protagonists to the stellar songs that passionately reflect their physical and emotional journeys, ‘Frozen 2’ is an empowering, much-needed sequel for the modern age.