What 'Frozen 2' Can Learn From Other Disney Sequels To Produce A Film We'll All Love As Much As The Original
I have to admit, I unabashedly loved Frozen when it came out. I regarded it as a welcome break from the Disney mold and honored it with an almost childlike zeal. Of course, after two soul-crushing winters and endless playings of "Let it Go" at the gym, that zeal has finally melted into casual appraisal. And now, with whispers of a possible Frozen 2 on the wind, I have all messed up feels. No matter how much money or power Disney has, they have not been exempt from producing more than a few straight-to-video monstrosities.
Sequels are a tricky monster, because you risk overdoing, half-heartedly duplicating, or flat-out neglecting all the things that made the original wonderful. For Frozen, the Broadway songs with pop-style catchiness won over the children, and the fresher, feminist feel won over the older demographic. And to sacrifice any of those emblems of quality would be downright sacrilegious. But money makes people do weird things, like decide that dumbest Disney Princess on earth should give birth (ugh, no).
So I urge the Disney family to really look into their past missteps to see what (not) to do. In fact, here's a five step list of things they need to seriously consider.
1. Assess the actual need for a sequel
Oh my god, you know how Atlantis: The Lost Empire TOTALLY defined your childhood? Oh, it didn't? Literally everyone forgets Atlantis was an actual movie that happened? Yeah, that's really not a good jumping point for a sequel, but Atlantis: Milo's Return is a film that exists anyway, and, as a result, it has stupendously low reviews.
Frozen definitely doesn't have a popularity problem, so that's less of the issue, and, given how Once Upon a Time has furthered the Frozen story, I think there's some genuine potential. I'll allow us to move forward.
2. Don't stick in unnecessary children and have them carry the film
Because you know it would be, like, Anna and Kristoff's daughter, and she would have ice powers, and Aunt Elsa would have to step in and show her that those powers make her truly special. I'm vomiting already.
Let's put aside the fact that Anna, at 18 years old, has a casual decade before she'd be anywhere near ready to be a mother — probably more than that because she is a hot mess. Pushing Disney offspring into a lead role is like forcing a Scrappy Doo onto the audience: you didn't ask for it, and you find their illogical tenacity a thousand times more annoying than the original. These sequel children range from forgettable (Scamp from Lady and the Tramp 2, anyone?) to blood-boilingly infuriating (everything about Ariel's daughter Melody).
This only quasi-works in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, and that's luck more than anything.
3. Don't stick in unnecessary love interests and have them kill the messages of the first film
Let's talk The Hunchback of Notre Dame, okay? It's a dark but intriguing pick for Disney, with songs about the evils of lust and what-have-you, and it stands out for not placing Quasimodo with beautiful gypsy (I know that's a complicated term, just work with me here) Esmeralda. He instead has a smaller but all the more important triumph: learning to accept his hideous visage and exist as a part of society. This is still better treatment than the original Victor Hugo, where he ends up Hunchback of Notre Dead.
In the sequel, they decide to stick him with some chick named Madellaine.
Now, it's true that after learning to love yourself then people learn to love you, and Elsa deserves love as much as anyone. But, given her years of isolation, it's simply unrealistic that she'd open up romantically so quickly. Plus, it betrays this idea that her choice to be alone was really all that terrible. She's next-level introverted. Accepting any other people in her life, even her sister, was a huge step.
So, yeah, sticking her with a random love interest in the sequel is going to seem forced, and it'll teach little girls that choosing to be alone is unacceptable. Maybe that can be trequel territory, and only if they tread delicately on the subject. I would definitely watch a film where Elsa joins OKCupid.
4. Holiday themed sequels are fun and low-risk
Perfect if you don't truly want to commit to a true sequel, and it usually works out fine. I'm actually pretty partial to Belle's Enchanted Christmas; at best, it's a yuletide reunion of the cast of my Disney film, and, at worst, it's harmless. Given that Frozen is such a winter film, it would have easy tie-ins for Santa, Rudolph, elves and seasonally-enforced capitalism.
If that sounds too obvious, than perhaps they would fair better with a post-Christmas event, á la Toy Story That Time Forgot. Which leads me to my last point...
5. Look to Toy Story
They nailed it EVERY TIME, you guys. Maybe because they spaced out sequels long enough where we both missed the characters and simultaneously grew up with them. Who knows? But the Toy Story movies are the sequels we should all aspire to.
Images: Disney (1), Giphy (5)