I’ve been a Disney fan for the majority of my life, grew up on the Lion King, Aladdin, Tarzan, and still count down the days until my family and I can meet up at their parks. I’m always impressed with the lessons and wisdom Disney writes into their stories, and know that when they commit to a project, 9.5 times out of 10, they knock it out of the park.
However, having seen some disappointing and lacklustre sequels, prequels and remakes, I couldn’t help but be sceptical when my sister told me she got us tickets to see ‘Frozen 2‘. I thought Disney did an outstanding job with the first movie, flipping the conventions and stereotypes of the classic Disney princess story on its head. So, why take something that became a huge cultural phenomenon, a certified modern-day classic, and try and re-invent the wheel?
I should have known not to doubt the mouse. Not only does ‘Frozen 2’ deliver all of the elements that people have grown to love about the characters from the first movie, the characters have also grown up like the kids who saw and loved ‘Frozen’. In many ways, the story and characters in ‘Frozen 2’ set an example for the victories and challenges that come with growing up.
Taking a page from classic cartoons like ‘Looney Tunes‘, and ‘Animaniacs‘, the majority of the jokes in the dialogue were geared towards an older audience while the visual jokes engaged the kids. This is the perfect combo because the writers made the jokes engaging enough for the adults that they won’t mind when their kids ask them to watch the movie over and over again.
Olaf’s continuous questioning of everything was hilarious and, I can imagine, hit home for many people in the audience. I know as a little kid, I asked my parents all the questions I could until I was passed out asleep, so that definitely struck a chord with me. Kristoff’s song was hilarious as well. A visual tribute to the really horrible editing of 80’s music videos and a really clever tongue in cheek nod at Jonathan Groff’s role as Jesse on Glee, Kristoff’s song was easily one of my favourite parts of the film, not to mention Anna and Kristoff’s continual couple misunderstandings throughout the movie. I’m not going to lie, I have been in many situations where I was talking to my girlfriend thinking I was saying one thing, and before I knew it the conversation had taken a sharp left turn.
The jokes and visual gags are great and definitely a reason to see the film, but the overall message of the film is so incredibly relevant and important that it makes ‘Frozen 2’ a must-watch at any age. I love how Disney decided to make a film that was accessible for kids, but mainly focused on connecting with the viewers who were children when the original ‘Frozen’ movie came out 6 years prior. With that comes a lot of real-life situations, a lot of lessons, self-discovery, and self-awareness.
Each of the main characters in the movie wants to achieve the overall goal that they all share, a trope that is very common in Disney movies past and present. What is exceptional about ‘Frozen 2’ is that for the characters to be able to come together and save the day, they need to experience their own transformational journeys and learn valuable lessons about life apart from each other.
Elsa discovers who she really is, learns to see her powers as a gift, not a curse, and steps into her own identity proudly. Olaf learns that everything in life can, must and does change. However, just because people grow up, become frustrated or angry with each other at times, and sometimes need to do things on their own, doesn’t mean that the love they share goes away.
Kristoff learns, and beautifully shows all the young boys in the audience, that it’s okay to feel the emotions you feel. It’s okay not to have all the answers, to be nervous, to feel overwhelming love for someone, and to feel lost when you’re disappointed, stressed or unsure of what to do next. The “Prince” isn’t a prince because they have all the answers, a prince is also someone who is there to support, listen, and help the people they love. One of the most important lessons, in my opinion, comes from Anna’s point of view.
Anna was always depicted as the goofy, somewhat ditsy younger sister to her powerful older sister Elsa, the queen of Arendelle. At the end of the first movie, Anna proves that she can handle herself but does so in defence of her sister, not necessarily in defence of herself. ‘Frozen 2’ starts with Anna taking on the role of trying to make life easy for everyone she loves because she doesn’t believe she can live without them. She reassures Olaf that even though things change, certain things will always stay the same. She runs after Elsa when Elsa looks distracted, and puts her to sleep in the same way that their mom used to put the two of them to sleep. Anna is trying so hard to make everyone around her happy so that things will stay the way they are, however, while she is running around trying to control life, she neglects to take care of herself and the love she shares with Kristoff. She’s so distracted that her time with Kristoff is spent in her own head or rushing to show him love without the two of them actually listening to each other. Anna eventually gets to a point in the film where her worst fears are realized. She has left Kristoff behind, Elsa has left her behind, and Olaf isn’t around to help her. What do you do when you find yourself all alone?
Anna is faced with having to make choices on her own, is faced with a lot of uncertainty, and doesn’t have all of the answers as to what to do in order to live without the people she loves by her side.
“I don’t know anymore what is true
I can’t find my direction, I’m all alone
The only star that guided me was you
How to rise from the floor
When it’s not you I’m rising for?
Just do the next right thing
Take a step, step again
It is all that I can to do
The next right thing”
– Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez.
She eventually decides the only thing she can do is continue to move forward even though she doesn’t have all the answers and has found herself in a really dark place. Anna learns to take control of her own life, starts making decisions without judging herself for those decisions, and begins to take control of her own future by focusing on the choices she is making right now.
“I won’t look too far ahead
It’s too much for me to take
But break it down to this next breath
This next step
This next choice is one that I can make”
– Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez.
By focusing only on her next move, Anna starts to rally the support of the people around her. She finds her way back to the people that she loves and gets her happy ending by taking control of her own life and moving forward based on what she believes is the right thing to do. Isn’t that what growing up is all about?
Stream Anna’s song here:
I have to say, this might be the most emotionally relevant film I have seen in a long time. The messages were clear, concise, and important for everyone at any stage of their lives. The truth of it all is, we don’t know what the next minute brings in any of our lives, and growth does mean change. However, as this movie brilliantly shows, change isn’t always a bad thing and often takes us from the people we are to the people we are meant to be.