Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 15 October 2019

Why parents across the world have reason to fear ‘Frozen II’ and its pricey aftermath

Nervous parents around the world might now be asking themselves: how soon will I have to start replacing my blue merch with new movie's autumnal colour palette?

Frozen II. Even the name sends shudders down the spines of parents worldwide. Six years after the original film was released, parents are only now climbing out from under the weight of the Elsa dresses, Elsa dolls, Elsa water bottles, Elsa slippers, Elsa toothbrushes, Elsa plasters, Elsa scooters, and Elsa bath towels that invaded homes like a particularly blue and synthetic form of common Disney house mouse.

This week, Disney released the trailer for the sequel, Frozen II. Feel like you've seen parts of it before? You're probably not alone. Disney released a trailer earlier this year, though it was wordless and only gave a brief taste of what was to come.

When the teaser-trailer came out in February, it immediately took its place in the Frozen tradition of smashing YouTube records, with 116.4 million views in 24 hours.

The full trailer, which had its premiere on the US TV show Good Morning America, is about the same length, but has dialogue (the first trailer was wordless) and appears to give some idea of the plot of Frozen II, for which its entire main original cast — Elsa, Anna, Olaf, and Sven – has convened.

The new trailer opens with Elsa in the sea, much like the February teaser. And we then see Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf all on a mission, through various landscapes with a throwback to a younger Elsa and Anna. The entire film seems to be packed full of tension.

"Elsa, the past is not what it seems," one of the film's Trolls says in the mysterious trailer, "you must find the truth.

"Go north across the enchanted lands, and into the unknown but be careful," the Troll, who sounds remarkably like David Attenborough, goes on to say. "We have always feared Elsa's powers were too much for this world, now we must hope they are enough."

"I won't let anything happen to her," a defiant Anna replies.

For those people living under a rock for the past half-decade – or maybe those who have not been near children – it’s hard to understate the sheer size of the Frozen phenomenon. Imagine something close to Mount Vesuvius, where you are an innocuous citizen of Pompeii, and Vesuvius’s volcanic ash is cheap polyester and stick-on badges.

'Frozen II' seems to have a much more autumnal feel than its predecessor. Courtesy Disney 
'Frozen II' seems to have a much more autumnal feel than its predecessor. Courtesy Disney 

One day you’re happily going about your business, the next day you’re struggling to breathe through plastic strands of white-blonde Elsa hair while a small child behind you screams for a “Sisters Forever” backpack. What happened there? Also, didn’t you once have taste?

On YouTube, the singalong version of Let It Go, the film’s mega-anthem, has been watched more than 1.75 billion times. (Even more astonishingly, a weird live enactment by a woman in Utah has reached 352 million views.) The film took in $107.2 billion (Dh393.8bn) in only two years after its release – $1.3bn at the box office, and $105.9bn in merchandising.

To make matters worse, the original movie is actually good. The first Disney film to be written by a woman, its central pairing is that of two sisters, Elsa and Anna, queen and princess of the Nordic land of Arendelle. In a psychologically sophisticated remake of the original Snow Queen fable, Elsa has trouble controlling her emotions. When she is angry or scared, she freezes whatever is around her: imagine an icy E11 at 6.30pm, and you can see how Elsa might have fared in Dubai.

The gang is back: Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Sven. YouTube / Disney 
The gang is back: Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Sven. YouTube / Disney 

After overreacting slightly to her sister’s bad dating decisions, she sends Arendelle into eternal winter, setting up the main conflict of the film: Anna’s attempt to coax her sister out of this emotional death-spiral and towards a happier place. Not to spoil it, but love ends up being the answer, in a genuinely charming wrap-up to a clever little film.

So many questions abound for the remake. Is this the time when Anna will finally assume her rightful place as the heroine of the film? Will the Sven-Olaf pairing ever reach the heights of hilarity augured by the 2013 first-look trailer?

Will Elsa be beset with a new physical manifestation of her internal disequilibrium, or will the problem be somewhat less complex, such as she wants to buy strawberries from the supermarket but feels slightly guilty about the carbon footprint of spring fruit in mid-November, and she freezes everything with her ungloved hands? How soon will I have to start replacing my blue merch with Frozen II’s new autumnal colour palette? Disney, don’t think we’re not on to you, we are simply powerless in the face of whining.

All we know is that all these questions, and more, will be answered in the second-look teaser trailer in August, right before the final-look teasing topper trailer in October – right in time for Halloween – and segueing, I’m sure, into the teasing topping toiling release of the terrifying new film to rule our lives and airwaves for the next half-decade: Frozen II.

Updated: June 12, 2019 03:45 PM

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