Following the massive success of Frozen in 2013, it seems that Disney didn’t have much of a choice in the matter of making a sequel. After all, Frozen sells. Despite Walt Disney Animation Studios’ tradition of not making regular sequels to their films (leave that to DisneyToon), Frozen 2 was officially announced in 2015.
Bringing back the full cast and creative team, Frozen 2 is a true sequel in every sense of the word. Not only does it continue the story from the first film, but is also expands on our understanding of the world and gives us a deeper sense of the characters- something that was arguably lacking in the original.
As technology continues to evolve, animation has only become more beautiful and in Frozen 2, it is simply breathtaking. Each scene brings you into the film and doesn’t let you go. The new songs by husband and wife team Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez surpass those of the first, with wholly original numbers that range from heartwarming to heartbreaking, and everything in between.
With all of this being said, however, one’s enjoyment of Frozen 2 largely depends on how you view the first film. If you were easily annoyed by Olaf or didn’t find charm in Sven and Kristoff’s antics, chances are there isn’t much for you here in the sequel.
Otherwise, Frozen 2 comes highly recommended by me.
Live-action remake: In 2020, we exclusively revealed that a live-action adaptation of The Snow Queen was in production at Disney. However, rather than a remake of Frozen, this will be a completely new version. The film will likely be released theatrically and will be produced by Kristin Burr of Cruella and Christopher Robin.
Frozen in the theme parks: Frozen has hit the Disney parks harder than possibly any other Disney film in recent years. It has inspired countless attractions including the ride Frozen Ever After, shops like Anna & Elsa’s Boutique, any numerous other Frozen-themed events across Disney’s parks.
Spin-offs: In 2020, a short which serves as an Olaf origin story hit Disney+. Called Once Upon a Snowman, it takes place during the events of the first Frozen film.
Another recent short based on the Frozen franchise ties directly into Frozen 2. Myth: A Frozen Tale is the second virtual reality short from the studio following 2018’s Cycles, and was originally released in 2020 for Oculus Quest. Narrated by Evan Rachel Wood, it tells the story of the elemental spirits from the film. It was released on Disney+ without VR on February 26.
A detailed origin story appeared in the form of a book, which was released late last year. Titled Frozen 2: Dangerous Secrets, this book tells the story of Anna and Elsa’s parents before the films. You can check out our interview with author Mari Mancusi here.
Frozen on stage: Though Frozen II has yet to be adapted for the stage, the first film has been adapted in various ways.
The first major stage version of this property was Frozen- Live at the Hyperion and played at the Hyperion Theater in Disney’s California Adventure. This massive production ran from 2016 to 2020.
In 2018, a musical adaptation of Frozen hit the Broadway stage. With new songs written by composers Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the show expanded and built on the original film. For this production, Patti Murrin played the role of Anna and Caissie Levy played the role of Elsa. A US Broadway tour began in 2019, but has since been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Frozen II is available to stream on Disney+.
Note: Thank you to everyone who has been following along with my 20 Weeks of Disney Animation. I have had a great time revisiting these films and I hope I have provided an interesting survey of the history of both the studio and animation.
To complete the discussion, don’t forget to check out Drew Taylor’s review for Raya and the Last Dragon and, of course, watch the film- now streaming on Disney+!