We awoke this morning to the first teaser trailer for Frozen 2, the sequel to Frozen, Disney’s inventive 2013 re-imagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Snow Queen.” The original was such a blockbuster that it will be hard for any sequel to recreate the magic, but the new teaser certainly looks promising.
(Spoilers for original Frozen below.)
The first film told the story of two princesses of Arendelle. The elder, Elsa (Idina Menzel), has the power to control and create ice and snow, but she struggles to control it. When she accidentally injures her young sister Anna (Kristen Bell), local trolls heal Anna but caution that Elsa must learn to control her magic. In response, their parents lock them both away. When Elsa turns 21, she’s crowned queen but a spat with Anna after the coronation reveals her magic. She’s exiled from the kingdom, flees to the mountains, and builds a gorgeous castle of ice and snow in which to live out her days in isolation. But she doesn’t realize Arendelle has also frozen over, endangering the people.
Anna goes off in search of Elsa with the help of an ice harvester named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his trusty reindeer Sven, as well as a snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad). Naturally it all works out in the end because this is a Disney fairytale. Frozen earned over 1.2 billion worldwide, making it the highest grossing animated film of all time. It won Oscars for Best Animated Film and Best Song—”Let It Go,’ the song Elsa sings as she’s building her ice castle. (It’s a great tune, and it might be a tad uncharitable to point out its strong similarity to “Defying Gravity” from the Broadway hit musical Wicked. Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez composed both.) It also spawned numerous spinoffs in multiple forms of media (including a Broadway musical), making it one of Disney’s most profitable franchises.
So of course there was going to be a sequel, although it wasn’t official announced until March 2015. Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck are back on board as co-directors, along with original stars Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, and Josh Gad, with music once again from Anderson-Lopez and Lopez. Nonetheless, it’ll be quite the challenge to live up to the smashing success of the original.
We know next to nothing about the story, other than it will also feature Arendelle, and this first teaser trailer doesn’t tell us much. It opens with a long sequence of Elsa isolated on a distant shore and trying to run across the water using her powers to freeze the water so she can pass. But she fails (perhaps because, as Nerdist points out, salt water has a higher freezing point). It’s notoriously difficult to render fluid-like motions for animation, and this sequence is stunning. We see Anna equally isolated, so clearly the sisters are both in a dark place. Fortunately Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf are riding to the rescue. The final shot, of our trusty reunited crew striding through a forest, ends with a feisty Anna sensing something behind them and drawing Kristoff’s sword. I’m sure the gang will triumph once again—and they’ll do it with plenty of songs.
Frozen 2 hits theaters November 22, 2019.
Listing image by Walt Disney Animation Studios
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