"Frozen 2" Review: The Risks of a Sequel

Updated on May 4, 2020
Vincent Reyes profile image

I am a Political Science graduate, major in International Relations and Foreign Service, with an interest in anime, religion and philosophy

Source

Warning: Contains spoilers from the movie "Frozen 2"

The story of Elsa and Anna continues in full swing after the Snow Queen restores summer and her bond with her sister. Now we explore the mystery behind her powers and perhaps a deeper message that is necessary for our times.

Bold Story

Frozen 2 is a tale of rediscovery and reconciliation. What the plot begins to do is call Elsa to a realization she might not have had in the first movie. She was queen, yes but she did not feel like she belonged. So the spirits bring her to the Enchanted Forest. Anna and crew join her for protection.

When they arrive at the Forest, they learn about how it is cursed, sealing away both its natives, the Northuldrans, and the soldiers of Arendelle. This curse was a result of a feud between the kingdom and the natives, as well as the dam built for Arendelle's prosperity at the expense of the Forest's magic and the native's peace.

This was a brilliant setup for a sequel that promised answers to Elsa's origins and what happened to her and Anna's parents. She would find out how she gained her magic and learn to grow from that knowledge.

At the same time, the story is taking itself in a bolder direction in three ways. First, it sets itself as a story without a present antagonist. The threat or conflict stems from the wild natural magic around them.

Second, it presents a different history to a fantastical Disney setting. We usually see the kingdoms of the Disney world as somewhat happy places. The exceptions would be places like the more realistic Paris of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the wild Pride Lands. For the sake of their romantic storylines, Princess stories were set in places with no complex history, other than a monarchy that is strict and creates clear class divides and cleavages. Nothing out of the ordinary, right?

Third is the element of personal responsibility. Usually, we have big or small problems caused personally by our protagonists that need to be resolved and learned from. That is the usual way Disney movies would go. However, this time, the responsibility is weighed more towards the nation, the setting of the story. There is the personal one, where we see a protagonist taking her role as Queen seriously. This is particularly true of how Elsa of Arendelle feels about her duty to make up for her kingdom's past sins. Although there is no big mistake like in the previous movie, this one is more towards her duty as representative of a nation that committed an offense to another. This is because the big mistake was committed by Arendelle in the past and it has yet to be resolved, compared to Elsa restoring summer from the winter she made.

These elements make for a fascinating story. Put together, we have a recipe for a relevant social commentary our children need to hear.

The Lack of an Antagonist, the Presence of Serious Sins

There is no villain in Frozen 2?

Indeed there is none. At least not one that is present, alive and out to get our heroes.

One would presume that the spirits are the antagonists because of the direct harm they cause the characters. In actuality, their actions were a result of the crimes of the humans within the story, more specifically the King of Arendelle, Elsa and Anna's grandfather. King Runebald feared the danger the magic of the Enchanted Forest would bring and sought a nuclear solution. By constructing a dam, the king would irrigate the farmlands of the kingdom while keeping at bay the powerful forces he feared.

The end result? The Northuldrans lose their water supply and are trapped in a mystic fog as a consequence of humans trespassing the domain of nature. Joining their enemies, the natives gradually decline in the isolation.

The fact that there is no evil warlord trying to conquer the natives hits home much more. The real villains may actually be our ancestors, people who have taken away land and freedom from others for their own benefit. Without a physical figure to pin the blame on for the consequences of past sins, we would only look to their descendants who can take that responsibility in order to repair the damage.

Arendelle is presented with a world-shattering dilemma. Their people have lost their homes, their comforts and their security because of a natural disaster. With the truth given to their leaders, the people must now move forward.

The dam represents Arendelle's prosperity at the cost of Northuldran freedom and security.
The dam represents Arendelle's prosperity at the cost of Northuldran freedom and security. | Source

Anna's Resolution, Elsa's Conclusion

Anna presents a radical solution to the problem they face. Realizing how the kingdom's prosperity has ruined the forest, she decides to destroy its instrument, the dam. This way, the water would flow naturally and the natives can go home in peace. She did this by luring the Earth Giants to the dam so that they can break it down. Consequently, this brought a torrent of water rushing through the river and heading towards the kingdom of Arendelle, which would result in its destruction.

What happens next is something up for debate. Elsa freezes the flood and saves the kingdom. Although the people there have been evacuated and were never in any real danger, they would have witnessed the destruction of their homes and their normal way of life.

The ending is a consequence of Elsa's revival and her renewed sense of purpose as the fifth spirit. Elsa chooses to fulfill their destiny and joins the Northuldrans as the protector of the Enchanted Forest while Anna becomes Queen of Arendelle. This arc would have worked for Elsa if there was a specific reason why she needed to stay in the forest, rather than be the one to repent for the kingdom's sins. This all depends on how her ice powers are viewed as a direct consequence of Arendelle's sins or divine providence at work.

Frozen 2's attempt to conclude the mystery of Elsa's powers and complete her personal arc ring somewhat hollow when factoring in how the message of postcolonial responsibility is being transmitted. The ending suggests that Anna's act of destroying the dam was already the penance, yet it would not mean that the people of Arendelle would keep their word to never repeat the same mistakes. After all, if another flood does come, Elsa would stop it with her powers anyway. This undersells Anna's resolution and, in a way, reinforces Elsa as a savior and utility for the people of Arendelle, rather than the prophet that needed to make a difference here and now.

Again, it all depends on how we look at the ending. Perhaps Anna's act can serve as an inspiration for us to be more accountable to our environment and the damages powerful nations wrought on the less powerful. At the same time, Elsa's role can reflect our new generation of environmental advocates.

Still, the presentation of the ending risks the sequel's power in the Disney canon. Had the physical entity of Arendelle been destroyed and the people of the kingdom lose their normal way of living, there would have been a stronger sense to take on responsibility for historical sins. Given the world we live in is in the middle of a climate crisis, that would have been a most fitting reminder of our duty to the world.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)