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Frozen II

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Frozen II
Frozen 2 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced byPeter Del Vecho
Screenplay by
  • Jennifer Lee[1]
Story by
Starring
Music by
Cinematography
  • Tracy Scott Beattie (layout)
  • Mohit Kallianpur (lighting)
Edited byJeff Draheim
Production
company
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • November 7, 2019 (2019-11-07) (Dolby Theatre)
  • November 22, 2019 (2019-11-22) (United States)
Running time
103 minutes[4]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$150 million[5]
Box office$919.7 million[6][7]

Frozen II, also known as Frozen 2, is a 2019 American 3D computer-animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. The 58th animated film produced by the studio, it is the sequel to the 2013 film Frozen and features the return of directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, producer Peter Del Vecho, songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and composer Christophe Beck. Lee also returns as screenwriter, penning the screenplay from a story by her, Buck, Marc E. Smith, Anderson-Lopez and Lopez,[2] while Byron Howard executive-produced the film.[a][1] Veteran voice cast Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, and Ciarán Hinds return as their previous characters, and are joined by newcomers Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Martha Plimpton, Jason Ritter, Rachel Matthews, and Jeremy Sisto.

Set three years after the events of the first film,[10] the story follows Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven, who embark on a journey beyond their kingdom of Arendelle in order to discover the origin of Elsa's magical powers and save their kingdom after a mysterious voice calls out to Elsa.[11][12][13][14][15]

Frozen II had its world premiere at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on November 7, 2019, and was released in the United States by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures on November 22, 2019. The film received mostly positive reviews from critics, who praised its animation, visuals, writing, music and vocal performances. It has grossed $919 million worldwide, and had the highest all-time worldwide opening for an animated film, and is the fourteenth highest-grossing animated film of time and the eighth highest-grossing film of 2019.

Plot

King Agnarr of Arendelle tells a story to his young children, Elsa and Anna, that their grandfather, King Runeard, established a treaty with the neighboring tribe of Northuldra by building a dam in their homeland, the Enchanted Forest. However, a fight occurs, resulting in Runeard's death. The battle enrages the elemental spirits of Earth, Fire, Water, and Air of the forest. The spirits disappear and a wall of mist traps everyone in the Enchanted Forest. Agnarr barely escapes due to the help of an unknown savior.

Three years after her coronation,[b] Elsa celebrates autumn in the kingdom with Anna, Olaf the snowman, Kristoff the ice harvester, and Kristoff's reindeer Sven. When Elsa hears a mysterious voice calling out to her, she follows it and unintentionally awakens the elemental spirits, who disrupt Arendelle, forcing everyone in the kingdom to evacuate. Grand Pabbie and the Trolls colony arrive at Arendelle and Pabbie informs that they must set things right by discovering the truth about the kingdom's past.

Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven embark to the Enchanted Forest, following the mysterious voice. After the mist parts at Elsa's touch, the air spirit, in the form of a tornado, appears and sweeps everyone in its vortex. Elsa stops it, forming a set of ice sculptures. The sisters discover the sculptures are images from their father's past and that their mother, Queen Iduna, was a Northuldra and was the one who had saved Agnarr. They encounter the Northuldra and a troop of Arendellian soldiers who are still in conflict with one another before the fire spirit appears. Elsa discovers the spirit to be an agitated magical salamander, and calms it down. Elsa and Anna arrange a truce between the soldiers and the Northuldra by explaining that their mother was Northuldran and their father was Arendellian. They later learn the existence of a fifth spirit who will unite people and the magic of nature.

Elsa, Anna and Olaf continue to head north, leaving Kristoff and Sven behind. They find their parents' wrecked ship and a map with a route to Ahtohallan, a mythical river told by their mother to contain all explanations of the past. Elsa sends Anna and Olaf away to safety and continues alone. She encounters and tames the Nøkk, the water spirit who guards the sea to Ahtohallan. Reaching Ahtohallan, Elsa discovers that the voice calling to her was Iduna; that her powers were gifted by nature because of Iduna's selfless act of saving Agnarr; and that Elsa herself is the fifth spirit.

Elsa then learns that the dam was built as a ruse to reduce the Northuldra's resources because of King Runeard's dislike of the tribe's connection with magic and intention to incorporate the region into his kingdom. She also learns he was the one who initiated the conflict by killing the leader of the Northuldra. Elsa sends this information to Anna before becoming frozen due to venturing into the most dangerous part of Ahtohallan. This in turn causes Olaf to fade away.

Anna receives Elsa's message and concludes that the dam must be destroyed for peace to be restored. Anna finds and awakens the gigantic earth spirits and lures them towards the dam. The giants hurl boulders aimed at Anna which destroy the dam, sending a flood down the fjord to the kingdom. Elsa thaws out and returns to Arendelle, diverting the flood and saving the kingdom.

As the wall of mist disappears, Elsa reunites with Anna and revives Olaf. Kristoff asks Anna to marry him and she accepts. Elsa explains that she and Anna are now the bridge between the people and the magical spirits. Anna becomes the new Queen of Arendelle, while Elsa becomes the protector of the Enchanted Forest, who regularly visits Arendelle as peace has been restored.

Cast

Additionally, Alan Tudyk provides voices to a Guard, a Northuldra Leader, and an Arendellian Soldier.[1] Archive sounds are used in the Ahtohallan scene for Tudyk as the Duke of Weselton and Santino Fontana as Hans, a Prince from the Southern Isles who tried to take over Arendelle.[16] Paul Briggs also briefly reprises his role as Marshmallow, a giant snow monster created by Elsa.[1]

Production

Development

In March 2014, when asked about sequels to the first film, producer Peter Del Vecho said that Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, and he "work very, very well together, so I believe we will be developing a new project. But I don't know what that is right now."[26] In late April of that year, Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan F. Horn stated that a sequel was not being seriously considered because at that time the studio's priority was the planned Broadway musical, which also required additional songs to be written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.[27][28]

When asked in May 2014 about a sequel, Disney CEO Bob Iger told host David Faber that Disney would not "mandate a sequel" or "force storytelling", because to do so would risk creating something not as good as the first film. Iger also expressed the hope that the Frozen franchise "is something that is kind of forever for the company" similar to The Lion King.[29]

In June, Lee confirmed that then-chief creative officer John Lasseter had expressly granted her and Buck the freedom to explore whatever they were "passionate about": "We don't know what it is yet ... We're actually going to start from scratch. It'll be something completely brand new."[30] Years later, Lee and Buck revealed that they really had begun development of an entirely new film unrelated to Frozen.[31] But during the fall of 2014, while working on the short film Frozen Fever, they realized how much they missed the characters.[31] In the meantime, Del Vecho had been accepting speaking engagements around the world, where fans peppered him with questions left unanswered by the first film.[31] In November 2014, Lee, Buck, and Del Vecho agreed they were not yet ready to leave behind the world of Arendelle, and began to discuss the possibility of a sequel.[31] They soon arrived at the ending they would spend the next five years trying to "earn": Anna would become queen and Elsa would be free.[31]

On March 12, 2015, at Disney's annual meeting of shareholders in San Francisco, Iger, Lasseter, and actor Josh Gad (the voice of Olaf) officially announced a full-length sequel, Frozen 2, was in development at Disney, with Buck and Lee returning as directors and Del Vecho returning as producer.[32] Lasseter said that at Disney Animation, "as with Pixar, when we do a sequel, it is because the filmmakers who created the original have created an idea that is so good that it's worthy of these characters." He said that in the case of Frozen, the directors had "come up with a great idea for a sequel and you will be hearing a lot more about it, and we're taking you back to Arendelle."[33] According to the Los Angeles Times, there was "considerable internal debate" at Disney over whether to proceed with a Frozen sequel at Disney Animation, but the unprecedented success of the first film apparently swayed Disney executives towards making a sequel.[34]

In a September 2017 interview with The Arizona Republic, Menzel confirmed that she would return for her role a couple weeks after completing her concerts tour; she said, "they haven't even sent me a script".[35]

On September 28, Gad announced his role in the sequel with Buck, Lee, Del Vecho and Lasseter.[36][37]

Jonathan Groff (the voice of Kristoff) said earlier in July 2017, "I don't know anything about it yet other than I'm about to start recording my section of it."[38] On October 11, he confirmed on the British talk show Lorraine that he too had started recording for the sequel the previous month.[39][40][41]

In an October 2017 interview with CinemaBlend, Bell said that there will be some new characters too. She further said that the directors and the producers had "taken their trip to Norway" and took "the entire culture in" to make this "fun home movie." She added that Lee had drafted personal journals in character as Elsa and Anna "for months to try and figure out [what they'd say]".[42] From the Scandinavia research trip, the production team derived the important insight (as paraphrased by Animation Magazine) that "Elsa is very clearly a mythic hero who takes on the world and the world’s problems with supernatural powers, while Anna is a fairytale hero who is human and lives in a world that’s surrounded by magic, but she doesn’t possess magic herself."[43] They also realized that what makes the original Frozen so powerful is how it combines these two different types of stories.[43]

In March 2018, Lee said in an interview that she was doing the second draft out of six drafts, which she referred as "six screenings".[44] In July 2018, it was announced that Evan Rachel Wood and Sterling K. Brown had entered talks to join the cast in undisclosed roles.[45] In August 2018, Allison Schroeder, the screenwriter of Hidden Figures and Disney's Christopher Robin, was hired to assist Lee with writing the film's screenplay after Lee succeeded Lasseter as Disney Animation's chief creative officer,[46] though only Lee was credited as screenwriter.[1] The first presentation of completed scenes from the movie was shown at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in June 2019.[47] At the Annecy presentation, head of animation Becky Bresee and head of effects animation Marlon West said that as of mid-June 2019, the film was "still in production, with seven weeks of animation to be completed and 10 weeks of special effects."[48]

At the 2019 D23 Expo, the directors said that the sequel will answer the questions that were left open by the original film; "Why does Elsa have magical powers", "Why was Anna born without powers", "Where were their parents going when their ship sank", and more will be addressed.[11][49] It was announced that Brown's role is a soldier in the Arendelle army who worked for Elsa and Anna's grandfather King Runeard,[23] and Wood announced that her role would be shown in flashback and that it would help "uncover some mysteries that we didn't know before".[12]

Throughout the production of the film, filmmakers collaborated with Sámi experts on the depiction of the fictional Northuldra tribe. An advisory group, Verdett, was formed. This collaboration was the result of an agreement between The Walt Disney Company, the transnational Saami Council, and the Sámi parliaments of Finland, Norway and Sweden.[50]

Additionally, while some fans campaigned for Elsa to receive a female love interest in the film, Anderson-Lopez confirmed that Elsa will have no love interest in the movie.[51] Lee later explained to Maureen Dowd that they had put the characters through Myers-Briggs tests, and "[i]t really came out that Elsa is not ready for a relationship."[52]

During a press conference for the film, Lee confirmed that the sequel will not feature elements from Once Upon a Time's Frozen storyline, since she had "made a point of certain things not to see" while developing the film.[53]

Animation

The film was produced by a team of approximately 800 people, of which 80 were animators.[54] Tony Smeed and Becky Bresee together served as the heads of animation on the film.[43] Hyun-Min Lee served as animation supervisor for Anna, while Wayne Unten again served as animation supervisor for Elsa.[55]

Before animation began, Unten showed various scenes of superheroes like Frozone to the animators working on Elsa as examples of what not to emulate.[55] Elsa's movements in the sequel were modeled after her graceful movements in the first film, and also drew inspiration from modern dance, especially the work of Martha Graham.[55]

According to co-production designer Lisa Keene, the animators did "a lot of artwork" in order to define the Nøkk design, while Steve Golberg, the film's visual effects supervisor said that the Nøkk's animation required collaborations between several animation departments, artists, and technicians, and said that the time to define the Nøkk's design took at least 8 months of the film's production.[1] The animation team aimed to give the Nøkk a more stable appearance than the ocean as depicted in Moana.[1] According to effects supervisor Erin Ramos, the Nøkk's liquid-like appearance was developed by the film's effects team, which he said was "so that [the] Nøkk would feel like a strong and stormy creature".[1] According to Marlon West, the film's head of character animation, the animators were given "the tools to actually perform with an ultimately invisible rig that resembled a little comet", as well as old key-framing technology, in order to represent the character of Gale.[1]

To create the wind spirit Gale a new tool called Swoop was invented. This required that four (and sometimes five) different departments had to cooperate on the animation of the character, with animators working with real-time feedback.[56]

The water simulation was made to be more realistic than in Moana, but some of the elements in the movie were so realistic that they felt inconsistent next to the characters, and so they had to be made more stylistic.[57]

According to Smeed, the Earth Giants "had a long rigging process" in order for the characters to move without "[seeing] solid rock penetrating solid rock", while Marlon West, the film's head of effects animation, said that the film's effects team had the objective of generating "rocks that would fall out of the joints as they moved", though they had to be careful to avoid making the rocks distracting to the audience.[1]

Upon the reveal of the teaser poster, Gad announced that the snowflake on it has "quite a few surprises".[58] In July 2019, American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson raised an issue that "Water crystals have hexagonal “six-fold” symmetry" shown correctly in previous film, but this poster shows four instead.[59] Director Lee, in a reply, said that it is not really a snowflake.[60] Later, it was revealed in film that these four edges represent the four elemental spirits, while its center represents the fifth spirit; Elsa.[61][better source needed]

According to Bell, the animators played pranks on the cast. When she visited Disney Animation to view early versions of her scenes, the animators added audible flatulence to a scene where Anna and Elsa were together in bed, and in another scene where Anna was supposed to jump between cliffs, she did not quite make it.[62]

The last major animation sequence completed before the production team locked picture was "Show Yourself," the showstopping musical number in which Elsa enters Ahtohallan and finally learns all the secrets she has been seeking. Del Vecho explained that sequence "required all of the resources at the studio" to get the film done on time.[31] Lopez explained that the first draft of "Show Yourself" was very different from the final version: "[E]veryone loved it, but we had to shape it. When we saw the first round of visuals and then we saw it in the film, everyone agreed changes needed to happen. And it went back and forth for months—it’s now four minutes and 20 seconds and it has a big ending. It transformed a lot, and it was hard."[63]

Music

Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez returned from the first film to write new songs for the sequel, while Christophe Beck returned to compose the film's score.[3] The soundtrack was officially released on November 15, a week before the movie's theatrical release.[64]

Release

Frozen II had its world premiere at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on November 7, 2019,[65] and was widely released on November 22, 2019 by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.[66][67] It was previously set for November 27, 2019.[68] It was released in Australia and New Zealand on November 28, 2019.[69]

On April 11, 2019, it was announced that a companion docuseries will be launched on the Disney+ streaming service within its first year entitled Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2.[70]

Localization

Following upon the success of localized versions of the first film, which led to the release of a complete set album featuring all the official versions of "Let It Go" released at the time,[71] as well as special dubbings released for the movie Moana, which gathered in the space of two years from its release a Tahitian,[72] a Māori[73][74] and a Hawaiian version,[75][76] it was announced that a special Northern Sami dubbing will be released for Frozen 2 with the title Jikŋon 2.[77][78][79] Frozen II is the third film to receive a special dubbing dedicated to the main inspiration source for a Disney movie: before Moana, a Zulu-language version of The Lion King was released back in 1994.[80]

Marketing

Disney released the first teaser trailer for the film on February 13, 2019.[81] The teaser trailer was viewed 116.4 million times in its first 24 hours, becoming the second most viewed animated film trailer in that time period, surpassing the record of Incredibles 2 (113.6 million views).[82] The second trailer debuted during ABC's Good Morning America on June 11, 2019.[83] The third trailer was also released on GMA, on September 23.[84][85] A fourth trailer was released by Disney UK on October 14.[86]

Disney partnered with 140 brands worldwide to promote Frozen 2, the highest number ever for any Disney animated film.[87] In the U.S. market, Disney heavily marketed the film through a variety of internal and external partners.[88] Disney's marketing partners deployed approximately "250 million touchpoints" (i.e., branded objects) into the U.S. retail sector in preparation for the film's release.[87] To support the film's massive marketing campaign, the lead cast members made numerous appearances in public and on many television shows.[88] During the month of November, the lead cast members' schedules were so jammed that in Bell's words, "[w]e flew on a helicopter to Disneyland because time is, it's not there."[89]

Apart from the world premiere, Disney Animation held two separate events for the American news media: on September 6, 2019, Disney Animation hosted an early preview day at its headquarters in Burbank,[90] and on November 9, 2019 (the Saturday after the premiere), Disney Animation held a press conference at the W Hotel in Hollywood.[91][92] Although Lee suffers from a fear of flying,[52] she joined Buck and Del Vecho on a global press tour to Mexico, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Korea to promote the film.[88] The Lopezes joined them for the Japan segment.[88]

UK supermarket chain Iceland promoted the film as part of its 2019 Christmas advertisement, as well as having a new and exclusive short scene made by Walt Disney Animation Studios, showing Olaf and Elsa's favorite things about Christmas.[93] Menzel, Gad and Groff were also interviewed on a Children in Need edition of The One Show on November 15.[94]

Reception

Box office

As of December 8, 2019, Frozen II has grossed $337.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $582.1 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $919.7 million.[7][6]

In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and 21 Bridges, and was projected to gross anywhere from $90–135 million from 4,440 theaters in its opening weekend.[95] It is playing in 2,500 3D theaters, 400 IMAX theaters, 800 premium large format screens, and 235 D-Box/4D enhanced theaters.[96] It earned $42.2 million on its first day, including $8.5 million from Thursday previews, a record for an animated film in November. It went on to debut to $130.3 million, the highest opening for an animated film in the month and fifth-best overall.[96] In its second weekend the film grossed $85.6 million (including a record $126.3 million over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend), remaining in first.[97] It then made $34.7 million the following weekend, finishing in first for a third straight week.[98]

During its opening weekend, the film also grossed $228.2 million from 37 overseas markets for a global debut total of $358.5 million, the highest ever for an animated title, surpassing the 2019 The Lion King remake. Notable figures included landing the best opening of all-time for an animated pic in the United Kingdom ($17.8 million) and France ($13.4 million), the biggest start ever for a Pixar or Disney Animation title in China ($53 million), Japan ($18.2 million), Germany ($14.9 million) and Spain ($5.8 million), and the third-biggest industry opening of any film in South Korea ($31.5 million).[99] In its second weekend in the United Kingdom, the film brought $11.4m bringing it's total gross in the United Kingdom to $35.3m.[100]

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 78% based on 287 reviews, with an average rating of 6.79/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Frozen II can't quite recapture the showstopping feel of its predecessor, but it remains a dazzling adventure into the unknown."[101] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 65 out of 100, based on 46 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[102] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an average 4.5 out of 5 stars, with 71% saying they would definitely recommend it.[96]

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times gave the film a positive review, saying: "As is often true in animation, Frozen 2 soars highest when it embraces abstraction, as in one number with a pitch-black void that entertainingly evokes Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin."[103] Writing for MovieWeb, Julian Roman said that the film "is a darker journey, but illuminated with breathtaking animation and stunning action scenes. There's enough good humor for balance amid an avalanche of new songs."[104] Nell Minow of RogerEbert.com, gave the film a 3.5 out of 4 stars and said: "Frozen II has an autumnal palette, with russet and gold setting the stage for an unexpectedly elegiac tone in the follow-up to one of Disney's most beloved animated features."[105] Ben Travis of Empire Magazine gave the film a 4 out of 5 stars, stating: "The best things about the first film—the characters and music—once again sing in a frequently dazzling if narratively flawed sequel that's better at being sensory than sense-making."[106] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone also gave the film a 4 out of 5 stars, and said: "the delight and dazzle of this frosty follow-up brings it all home in a climax that should have audiences panting for a part III."[107] Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter gave a positive review of the film, saying: "Frozen 2 has everything you would expect—catchy new songs, more time with easy-to-like characters, striking backdrops, cute little jokes, a voyage of discovery plot and female empowerment galore—except the unexpected."[108] Simran Hans of The Guardian gave the film a 4 out of 5 stars and said: "The sisters try to heal the sins of the past in a moving follow-up that touches on climate change and has at least one great song."[109] Kristen Page-Kirby of The Washington Post gave the film a 2 out of 4 stars and wrote: "Yes, Frozen II is a letdown when compared with the original. But it's also a lackluster disappointment on its own—a pale shadow of what it could have been. It's hard to see how the same team who made something so cool in 2013 could deliver something so—there's no other word for it—lukewarm."[110]

Accolades

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
Annie Awards January 25, 2020 Best Animated Feature Peter Del Vecho Pending [111]
Outstanding Achievement for Animated Effects in an Animated Production Benjamin Fiske, Alex Moaveni, Jesse Erickson, Dimitre Berberov, Kee Nam Suong Pending
Outstanding Achievement for Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production Andrew Ford Pending
Outstanding Achievement for Character Design in an Animated Feature Production Bill Schwab Pending
Outstanding Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck Pending
Outstanding Achievement for Music in an Animated Feature Production Christophe Beck, Frode Fjellheim, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez Pending
Outstanding Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Josh Gad Pending
Outstanding Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production Jennifer Lee Pending

Notes

  1. ^ John Lasseter originally acted as the film's executive producer during its early stages of development, before he left Disney in June 2018.[8] Lee took his place as chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios,[9] while Howard replaced him as executive producer.[1]
  2. ^ As depicted in the 2013 film Frozen.

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