FROZEN 2: LONG – AWAITED EPIC SEQUEL OR CLASSIC DISNEY CASH GRAB?
By: Temzy, ABH Press
Everyone knows the lion king (1994) for many reasons, from its catchy songs, to the amazing characters, the unforgettable catch phrase, “Hakuna Matata” and finally, its touching plot. Thus, there is little wonder why it is regarded by many as Disney’s best creation of all time and was at the forefront of the Disney Renaissance period. This period, which lasted a decade (1989-1999), marked a turning point for Walt Disney Animation Studios, as it re-opened the doors to them becoming the box office juggernauts they are today, after enduring an eighteen-year long struggle for success after the deaths of Walt and Roy Disney in 1966 and 1971 respectively.
Like one piece of music or artwork can not solely define a renaissance, no matter how brilliant, other animated films released in this decade include: The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), Pocahontas (1995), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Hercules (1997), Mulan (1998), and Tarzan (1999). These were the animated movies that dominated the childhoods of people currently in their 20s and 30s and are regarded as classics today. Asides Hercules whose sequel was scrapped (though it still continued as an animated series), every of the above animated movie had a follow – up.
In a world where sequels and remakes are the norm, It goes without saying that announcing there would be a Frozen 2 can hardly be described as dropping a bombshell. However, over five years have passed since Frozen was released in November, 2013.
This is unusual as the most successful Disney animated movies take three or four years to get their sequels. Some of these include: Lion King and Lion King 2 (1994 and 1998), Toy Story and Toy Story 2 (1995 and 1999), Shrek and Shrek 2 (2001 and 2004), Lilo & Stitch and Lilo & Stitch 2 (2002 and 2005), etc.
Disney have been criticized on numerous occasions for lacking new material, with the number of live action remakes of previously animated originals. Beauty and the Beast (2017), Aladdin (2019) and Lion King which is set to be released in theatres in July are popular examples of this. However, as much as Disney is into entertainment, it remains a business, and an extremely successful one at that. The Walt Disney company, in its entirety, based on increasing revenues and profits over the past three years, have a current estimated net worth of $130 Billion which makes it clear that they know how to make money. So, for the Walt Disney Animation Studios, whether it be in the form of sequels, prequels, “midquels” or remakes, one thing is crystal clear, a box office success would almost always have a second movie, relevant or not, meaningful or otherwise and whether it was initially planned or not.
Despite being released over twenty years ago, the Lion King and Aladdin are still among the top 50 grossing animated movies of all time (#9 and #48 respectively), and are the only movies produced earlier than 2003 (other than Toy Story 2 (1999)) that made the list, demonstrating the pure brilliance depicted in those movies. Frozen currently sits at the summit of this chart, and has been there for the past six years, making a whopping $1.29B worldwide.
There were many reasons why Frozen was a box office success, one of which was the catchy soundtrack, which featured an unforgettable “Let it go” by the Queen Elsa of Arendelle (voiced by Broadway actress and singer, Idina Menzel). The movie also marked a turning point for Disney princesses, as the true love sought after in the movie turned out to be a sister’s love, as opposed to the trademark erotic love that was the mainstay of many classic Disney movies like Sleeping Beauty (1959), Snow White (1937) and Princess Ariel of The Little Mermaid (1989) who gave up the very essence of her being, for love. This was not just well received by the audience, but praised. Elsa’s magical ice powers, Olaf the snowman, the emphasis on family (Anna and Elsa, Kristoff and the trolls who raised him as their own), the value of good friendship (Sven and Kristoff, Olaf and Anna), the debunking of the perfect princess and prince charming ideology were other impressive features and subplots seen in Frozen.
It is also worthy to note the feminist movement in recent Disney productions, kick-started by Brave (2012), which was also seen in Frozen and has since been continued in releases like Zootopia (2016) and Moana (2016). They feature very strong female characters that went against social norms in pursuit of their goals, in male dominated societies.
With the record – breaking financial success Frozen turned out to be, that a sequel would be released was not in doubt, it was only a question of “when?”. Three years passed, since Frozen was first released, with little to no news of a sequel, till one was confirmed. During that period, Kristen Bell (who voices Princess Anna) was asked during an interview with Collider, where she explained that she had not begun her voice work as Anna for the upcoming Frozen 2 because Disney were taking their time developing the sequel. She also said:
Two things were striking from that comment, first the fact that they were not going to release a sequel, for the sake of it, as Disney has been accused on numerous occasions in the past of releasing pointless sequels. The second striking thing was “because they wanted to figure out what story they needed to tell and what would be important”. This hints that a plot for the sequel was not planned from the very beginning, and if the Marvel Cinematic Universe has taught the movie industry anything, it is to always have a long-term plan.
Movies with the most successful sequels, some of which include Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Spiderman 2 (2004) and most importantly, The Dark Knight (2008) were movies whose originals were made, with a sequel in mind from the get go.
It can therefore be deduced that Frozen 2 should be a huge financial success, regardless of its content and is even regarded as the most anticipated Disney animated movie of 2019.
It is set to hit the cinemas in November, 2019 with a familiar cast and the plot would see Elsa, the Snow Queen and her sister Anna embark on an adventure far away from the kingdom of Arendelle, together with the fan favourite Olaf, Kristoff and Sven. It is hinted by the trolls in the trailer that the origin of Elsa’s mysterious powers would be key in saving their kingdom from doom. The link for the trailer: https://youtu.be/Zi4LMpSDccc
Source: Wikipedia; iMDB; Disneyshercules.fandom.com; cinemablend.com; google images.