Elsa's back, baby.

Emily Writes on Frozen 2: Thank God there’s a new one

Emily Writes reviews Frozen 2, the new movie that your kids will be watching until the end of time.

The wind was howling like a swirling storm inside as I stood outside the Embassy with my two children. The line to see Frozen 2 stretched out onto the street. Hundreds of Elsas and Annas and parents who looked like they needed a nurofen mimosa all buzzing with excitement.

My two had tried to sleep in their costumes the night before, placated only by the fact that they have Frozen PJs to wear.

It’s hard to believe Frozen came out in 2013. My eldest son had two Frozen birthdays and a solid three years of dressing up as Elsa every other day. Then it slowly stopped. Moana (thank god for Moana) came along and I finally had a reprieve from ‘Let it Go Let It Go Can’t Hold It Back AnyMOOOOOOOOOOOOOORE being screamed into my ear three times at least a week.

I liked the first movie well enough, better characters than any other insipid Disney film that’s for sure. But I don’t think you can love anything you have to hear and see on repeat for literally years of your life.

When I heard there would be a Frozen 2 I was only two years into my Frozen hell and I was not happy about it. Then when I found out it would come out at the end of 2019 I was somewhat placated. My kids would have grown out of Frozen by then.

The real-life chaos outside Embassy Theatre as Frozen 2 hits.

And yet there I was, outside the Embassy cinema in Wellington, preparing to watch it with 750 other parents and kids, with both my boys at hysteria levels of Frozen fandom. In the lead-up both boys watched the original Frozen another 30,000 times despite my eldest knowing it word-for-word already.

We’d finally taken our seats when my sons saw Elsa and Anna (in their mind they were the real deal, but to the rest of us – just two talented singer/actors dressed up). They tore off in seconds, leading a stampede of Elsas and Annas toward them. The guy dressed as Olaf never stood a chance.

The popularity of Frozen is wild. I don’t know what it is that makes it so popular but it’s an understatement to say it has been phenomenally successful.

Frozen earned US$1.276 billion in worldwide box office revenue, including US$400 million in the United States and Canada and US$247 million in Japan. It went on to surpass Toy Story 3 as the highest-grossing animated film at the time as well as the highest grossing musical film before being surpassed by the remake of The Lion King in 2019.

The songs were bangers. ‘Love is an Open Door’ in particular makes me want to put a drill in my ear even if it has a sweet line stolen from Arrested Development: “We finish each others’/Sandwiches!”. ‘Let it Go’ is ingrained in my psyche in such a painful way I will need therapy if I ever want to dislodge it. And ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman’ is just an earworm for the ages.

So, to be fair, Frozen 2 didn’t have too much to live up to. It just needed to captivate our children enough to make them stop watching Frozen 1.

Elsa in Frozen 2

You know who this is.

From start to finish my kids were obsessed. They laughed, cried, and seemed entirely unperturbed by the convoluted storyline. And surprisingly, I fell for it too. Maybe it was being in a room with so many kids and feeding off their excitement and joy like some middle-aged emotional vampire, but I loved it. I loved the new songs. I loved the costumes. I loved the way Elsa and Anna have progressed in their journey and I especially loved where they get to. I loved Olaf who mirrors so much anxiety in parents and children alike.

The film is far more culturally sensitive than the first one – the team behind it apparently worked with the indigenous Sami tribes of Norway to create the ‘Northuldra’ tribe. Storylines about colonialization and environmentalism capture our kids because it actually reflects their real world. It’s a more respectful film for kids, because it treats them as intelligent beings.

But what moved me most was Kristoff’s journey. It’s widely accepted that Disney princesses absolutely needed to change from being hopeless damsels waiting for a man to save them. But Disney men needed to evolve too. Kristoff Bjorgman was tolerable in Frozen but it’s in Frozen 2 that he shows he’s grown.

The power ballad of ‘Lost in the Woods’ is the ’80s hair metal Disney dream we didn’t know we needed. Who would have ever thought a Disney musical would include an ode to boys and men feeling their feelings? When Anna has to leave without Kristoff he sings with his reindeers channelling Bryan Adams, Skid Row and Queen:

“I’m left behind
Wondering if I should follow
You had to go
And, of course, it’s always fine
I probably could catch up with you tomorrow.”

Excuse me what? A Disney prince who knows he doesn’t have to race off and rescue his love interest? YES PLEASE.

I can already tell Frozen 2 will be beloved by kids worldwide – it’s beautifully animated and there’s an unnecessary amount of singing and sparkles. I think in time it will become beloved by parents too, happy for some positive messaging for their kids.

Before we see it another 50,000 times and want to smash our heads against an ice wall, that is.

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