When the first part of the Frozen franchise was released in 2013, it became the most successful movie of that year with a box office revenue of nearly 1.28 billion US dollars. The headliner of its soundtrack, „Let it go“ as sung by musical actress and singer/songwriter Idina Menzel has become one of the most famous Disney musical songs of all time. It has become a broadway musical in 2017. Furthermore, you can see at least one Elsa at any Halloween Party. And I haven’t mentioned cosplays also…
Frozen has become one of the biggest new franchises from the House of Mouse within the last 10 years. According to an THR article, Disney sold merchandise based on Frozen in the range of 5 billion US dollars in the fiscal year 2014/2015 alone, which is roughly four times the box office revenue of the original movie. Therefore, it has been only a matter of time until an eventual sequel to the original movie was produced. But when it comes to producing sequels to their own movies, sequels have been relatively uncommon in their previous history. Out of the 57 previously released movies of the studio, only 3 of them have been actual sequels: Fantasia 2000, Winnie the Poo and the only recently released Ralph breaks the Internet (Short reminder: Sequels like Aladdin 2 or Lion King 2 have been produced by the sister company Walt Disney Television Animation).
That being said, Frozen 2 is the fourth sequel in the history of the studio and the first sequel to a musical. 7 new songs have been produced according to one of the producers of the movie, which have been written again by writer/composer married couple Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee return as directors, Peter Del Vecho is again producing, and the main cast from the main cast returns as well, i.e. Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Froff and Josh Gad.
According to Del Vecho, the production of a sequel has not been a done deal from the start, as he told during a pre-screening of several scenes from the movie. One of the main question had been during the early stages of production about what new and interesting stories could be told with the already existing cast of characters. After a trip of the creative team to the countries of Iceland, Finland and Norway, the team seemed to have cracked the code for the main story of Frozen 2. While Anna and Arendelle are more located within the area of scandinavian countries, Else and her powers seem to be close to the mythical legends of Iceland. So you can expect to see more landscapes as inspired by Icelandian countrysides in this movie.
On the other hand, the first part of Frozen had lots of unresolved story points, such as: What is the origin of Elsa’s powers? Why does Anna not have any special powers? What was the purpose and destination of the travel of their parents that made them both orphans? Those questions seem to be at the heart of the story of Frozen 2 and could very well be answered during the movie. We were able to see several scenes a couple of weeks ago during a pre-screening after an invitation by Disney for which we are very thankful for. We were able to see 5 scenes that had a combined length of at least 10-15 minutes, however some of the scenes have not been finalized yet, which means that still some post-production may have to be done here and there, like musical changes or VFX changes. It should be noted that some of those scenes may have also been screened earlier for Disney’s D23 Event which took place end of August.
If you don’t want to get spoiled for the scenes, please skip until the second separator line.
The movie takes place 3 years after the first movie. Elsa has started to enjoy her new family life with her sister and she seems to have her powers now more or less under control. Kristoff and Anna’s relationship seems to be stronger and both seem to be ready to take their relationship to the next step. Olaf is no longer in danger of melting away thanks to Elsa’s mystical permafrost powers.
In the first presented scene, we could see how Young Elsa and Anna lying together with her mother while she sings them a lullaby to get them to sleep.
Then years later, Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven are having a family evening while playing charade. When Elsa is trying to mime her secret word, she seems to hear a strange voice calling for her which the others are not able to hear. She goes to bed abruptly, but this seems to bother her sister as she thought her to be quite distracted during the evening. Anna is bothered that much that Kristoff is not able to ask her an important question (the kind of question that also involves a ring), as she rushes off to Elsa’s bedroom. Elsa is not able to sleep that night, so Anna tries to sing her to sleep with the same lullaby as her mother used to sing to her and Elsa is finally able to get to sleep. However, short time after, Elsa wakes up in the middle of the night and she… well… let’s just say she power-ballads through the castle (Let’s just say that the song „Into the Unknown“ may become the „Let it Go“ of Frozen 2; a short teaser has been released by Disney via YouTube on September 30th).
In the middle of the song, Elsa uses her powers, when she sorts of creates ice crystals that appear everywhere in the city. Then, however, suddenly all kinds of catastrophes start to happen in and around Arendelle: The crystals fall to the ground as hail, strong winds blow through the city streets and the earth starts to shake. The city is then being evacuated to a plateau close to the city.
At this point, the main adventure seems to begin as Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven try to find the origin of the voice and try to enter a forbidden forest that is being surrounded by a mythical force field. Olaf tries to enter it several times and gets thrown back several times (which he seems to enjoy very much), but only Elsa’s powers seem to penetrate the force field and create an opening. Beyond the force field they find a forest as in fall, but they seem to be watched by ghost-like entities that try to follow each one of them around.
For example, in another scene, Olaf walks around the forest on his own but the forces around him seem to be getting closer and closer. As he starts to notice that something’s going on, he tries to convince himself that everything seems to be normal… just like in the famous „This is fine“ meme. I could actually make the prediction that within the next couple of months, either before the release of the movie or shortly after, there will be a Olaf version of the „This is fine“ meme.
The last scene that we were able to see was actually an extended version of the first scene in the first trailer: Elsa stands on a beach at night, as she tries to get to the source of the siren’s voice. She tries to get close to it, but she fails several times as the tidal waves seem to overwhelm her. Then, eventually she drowns into the deep see and she sees a horse made out of water… under water (you can see this horse also in the trailers already).
As the producer of the movie introduced this creature as a Nokk, this could actually be a water spirit called Neck, based on scandinavian folklore. While Germanic folklore describes those spirit animals as mermaids, scandinavian folklore describe them as horses that would appear near rivers and are also known as Nøkk or Bækhest.
At this point, the presentation ended, but several things seem to be clear: Elsa might be close to find out what the sources of her powers are, but are her powers strong enough to go up against the forces within this forbidden forest. Can the relationship of Anna and Kristoff hold up against the tensions of this adventure?
The movie seems to have an ongoing theme of „getting older“. This is not only due to the growing age of Anna and Elsa, who are now 21 and 24, respectively, but also referenced throughout the movie with forests being in fall. Another interesting tidbit was the fact that the original movie was based on mythical legends with a damsel in distress saved by love from family members instead of a romantic love interest.
Frozen 2 will be released in the US on November 22nd, while Germany has to wait one more week when it is being released on November 28th. I, myself am quite interested to see if we are going to have a collective earworm just like Frozen’s original song „Let it Go„.