The trailer for Frozen 2, the sequel to 2013’s surprisingly popular semi-adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s story ‘The Snow Queen’, looks good. That comes as something of a shock for me, considering that the first Frozen has always struck me as rather rote, even for a studio that once prided itself entirely on adapting known fairytales and pieces of folklore into movies, and now mines its own back catalogue for inspiration. Perhaps it was the insistence that Frozen was breaking the wheel with a plot that still largely drew from other Disney films, even if the central theme of sisterhood is, irritatingly, still a rarity in children’s films.
Frozen 2’s trailer doesn’t posture as a children’s film, though. Its opening shot of a flailing ocean at night (the animation for which looks incredible) is so foreboding it’s a wonder these films belong to the same universe. Frozen’s popping colours, all of which fare even better against the paper-white background of snow, seem deeper, more chocolatey and dark. And it’s a great cold open to see Elsa attempting to weather her powers (pun most definitely intended). That set-up feels like it can effectively build on the self-doubt and reclusiveness from the first film in potentially more interesting ways.
Other than that, the trailer is relatively opaque. It certainly seems less bubbly than the first one, playing more like a fantasy epic than a frothy fairytale. Indeed, what few details we have of plot suggest a journey to an unknown part of the Frozen world, which figures with that the trailer does show us. The landscape is ever so slightly different, rich in autumn hues of orange and red, and almost all of the trailer takes place in some sort of wilderness.
The final shot is particularly intriguing. From behind, we see Elsa, Ana and Kristoff (no Olaf, who appears in only one shot of the trailer where Elsa is using her ice to deflect fire) walking through a foggy forest. Ana turns and looks down the camera, which is revealed to be a POV shot of an adversary of some description. She lunges for Kristoff’s sword, pulls it from its sheath, and slashes towards us.
What kind of villain is she seeing? Are the villains in Frozen 2 monsters or people? I’m personally very interested in how dark this turns out to be. That shot is actually a little scary, particularly considering that it’s a POV shot. Just how far might the filmmakers push their penchant for horror, especially in the sequel to the most successful animated film of all time? They’d be brave to try it, particularly given how effervescent the first one is.
I’m also guessing that this sequel is to be a musical, which has me wondering whether the songs of the first film will see some improvement (I wasn’t a fan of some of them, myself), and whether the success of that soundtrack can be bested. Unless they’re in the same league as some of Alan Menken’s best Disney work, I doubt it, but after Moana’s comparatively excellent songs bested Frozen’s by a long way, it’d be nice to see them try.
More information about Frozen 2 can be found here.
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