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Frozen II, Disney’s sequel to the 2013 animated global $1.3bn blockbuster hit that won two Oscars and made the generational anthem song Let It Go, is as funny, emotional, musical – and worthy as its predecessor.
The difference, on the contrary, lies between Let It Go and Into the Unknown. The new Frozen II anthem and perhaps the next Let It Go is Into the Unknown – sung by Broadway superstar Idina Menzel and in chorus by Norwegian pop artist Aurora.
The iconic Let It Go had only one good high note that reveals Elsa’s inner fear, thus preparing the rest of the story with a single and solid motif. But Into the Unknown has too many too often – it’s high with drama. Similarly Frozen was simple, witty, romantic, full of festive fun and everything else you need to build a snowman with your sister for a traditional happy ending.
Meanwhile, Frozen II is more ambitious, mature and complex for the young ones. Good thing is Frozen II is also for older children and their parents. As the new movie begins, Elsa (Idina) hears an eerie, distant female voice from beyond Arendelle.
A troll called “Grand Pabbie” tells Elsa to “find who is calling you – they may have answers”. In order to save the kingdom she is going on a dangerous but remarkable quest with her sister Anna (Kristen Bell, who sings the catchy number Some Things Never Change), their magical snowman Olaf (Josh Gad, whose songs as Olaf the Snowman steals the show) and Anna’s boyfriend Kristoff (Jonathan Groff, best known for Netflix’s Mindhunter). He finally got a chance to do a solo number in Frozen as Lost in the Woods.
The quest will also help Elsa resolve questions about her deceased parents and reveal a long-buried truth about Arendelle’s past – why was she born with magical powers? Are her powers too much for the world or just enough? Returning directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck keep it simple with the heart-and-soul of the story underlying in the slogan – “You have to know the past to understand the present.”
Indeed, they make some brave choices in launching several fundamental ideas – conservationism, exploitation, compensations and how societies should confront their imperfect past to reunite. Undeniably, there are hints of Disney’s last release Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
Inspired by the Scandinavian Sami culture and mythology, the new Disney movie has giants, symbols, reindeer herding, Norwegian nature and an indigenous tribe of Sami people. The water spirit shown in the film, known as the Nokk is inspired by Nordic folklore, taking the form of a horse with the power of the ocean.
As my favourite song from the film goes, “Show yourself; Step into the power; Throw yourself; Into something new”, what I most love about the film is these two sternly independent princesses changing and challenging the perspective of the conventional Disney princess.
Now that’s truly the remarkable part of Frozen’s journey!