Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.
Courtney Howard // Film Critic
One of the many things audiences loved about Disney’s FROZEN was its keen ability to turn the table on tropes other animated films, including that of the company crafting the film, infamously staked their reputation and corporate success selling to the masses. The mythos of Happily Ever After was cleverly dissected and innovatively spun into a new kind of fairytale. The film’s highly anticipated sequel, FROZEN 2, is sure to do the same when its released as it eschews stereotypical fairytale fodder, in favor of something more grounded – even in an enchanted setting.
The filmmakers wanted to continue exploring what would happen to Sisters Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) and Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) once their new lives together begun. Similar to how it works in real life, when one problem is solved, another is created. Director Jennifer Lee, at the film’s long lead press day on Disney’s Burbank lot, explained,
“We always think, ‘Is there such a thing as Happily Ever After?’ We all know that just as you’ve got things all worked out, life throws you a curve ball. We hadn’t looked at that yet. ‘How do you cope when life changes abruptly?’ But also that Elsa, while she’s been accepted, which is beautiful, there’s got to be more to what’s going on inside her, having to answer that call in life. It’s scary, can be dangerous – depending – but it’s an important thing to explore.”
Lee shared that authenticity was important to not let the intense pressure of creating another blockbuster get to them.
“Every song has to come from the story, just like it did before. Every moment has to be true.”
The one thing they remained adamant about during the formation of this follow-up feature was that they weren’t going to traverse the typical tropes fairytales about living Happily Ever After do. Lee elucidated,
“What was fun to do was we flip tropes a lot in FROZEN 1 – like Hans was not the answer. To play with those tropes again and say, ‘Okay, well we’ve done the happily ever after for the girls in that sense that they have come out the other side of some great struggle much stronger.”
That said, their aim was to show that fairytales and Happily Ever After ideals can coexist. Lee explained,
“Fairytales are ultimately about, or for children in the sense originally where what you do is you take an ordinary person, you put them in something crazy and unknown, in the belly of the beast, and you make great obstacles for them. But you show them how to persevere and come out the other side. And the happily ever after idea is that thing of saying you can survive anything. And I fundamentally believe in that.”
“It’s ultimately a mythic fairytale about home, family, self-discovery, courage and the power to never give up.”
FROZEN 2 opens on November 22.