Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hey Disney! The World Needs Frozen 2!

Let me start with this: I adored Frozen. The story, the characters, the music - it was utterly perfect in every way that it could be perfect. I was pulling for it to win Best Animated Picture and Best Original Song at the Oscars (I usually stay out of Oscar season, mostly because I find it to be just a bunch of egotistical jackasses in the middle of a tedious circle jerk over boring movies that are made solely for the Elitist Artsy Snob crowd that John and Jane Q. Public suddenly have to pretend to care about simply because that simpering nitwit anchor on Good Morning America was losing her head over it. Besides, nothing I like ever wins).

Ahem - anyway - Frozen. Loved it to pieces. I bought the soundtrack right after I came home from the movie theater and I've been playing it WILLINGLY nearly nonstop and I have all the lyrics memorized (and I don't even have kids to blame this on).

Having said that - Frozen needs a sequel. Hell, The Incredibles and Cars are both getting sequels (I never saw Cars 2. I thought the original Cars was great and the sequel was completely unnecessary, so in my headcanon, it doesn't exist) - the idea was floated during the Oscars during the acceptance speech for Best Original Song - it's one of the most successful (if not THE most successful) movies Disney has had in a long time - bring back the original cast and animators and make a decent go at it and they could totally take home another Best Animated Picture award! (at least give the public another earworm).

(Before I go on - the following discussion WILL SPOIL Frozen. If you have not seen Frozen - first of all, WHAT??? Get thee to a movie theater or Disney download [I hear that's a thing now] and watch this movie!)

Honestly, with Frozen, we only got half a story. This movie, for all it being based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen and Elsa being the eponymous queen, is Anna's story. Anna is the lonely girl who has to be shut inside the palace in Arendelle because they can't risk Elsa's power becoming public knowledge. Nevermind that Elsa's the one shut up in her room and slowly losing control of her powers with nobody and nothing to help her - Anna is the one we are meant to feel sorry for. It's the perky, happy, cheerful, outgoing sister that takes center stage and saves the brooding, depressed, introverted sister from herself  (I would be lying if this didn't irk me just a tiny bit).

As much as I love this movie, I feel like there is more to the story. How did Elsa come by her powers? Are there others like her out there? Is there more she can learn? Is this something her children will inherit? How will she help them understand this ability?

Now that the setting and characters and backstory of Frozen have been established, I want to see an adventure with Elsa. Anna got her happy ending - let's tell Elsa's story of self-discovery. Because I don't think that she got a whole lot of that ("Let It Go" notwithstanding. Actually, that sequence doesn't even solve her problems. If anything, it made them worse) and she is due for some answers.

I don't proclaim to be the first one to have put forward a possible scenario for Frozen 2 (in fact, if Disney was smart, they already have people on this). But this is what I'd like to see: open with Elsa being Queen of Arendelle, being all queenly and awesome. Anna and Kristoff are perfectly happy with... whatever they're doing. The reindeer and the dopey snowman can be there too doing - reindeer and snowman things. But someone comes to Arendelle with rumors of another Snow Queen in a distant-yet-nearby land. Elsa is intrigued - while she's achieved mastery over her powers, she still doesn't know where they came from in the first place (and her parents never could or would tell her). If there are others like her, shouldn't she help them learn to control their powers? No one should be locked up simply in fear of what they can do. Elsa is determined to seek out this new person and find out what they can learn from each other. Anna and Kristoff are more than capable of taking care of Arendelle in her absence (and if you want a sinister B-Plot to go there, well, go ahead and do it).

Elsa takes off on her adventure (bring along the dopey snowman if you must - but leave those stupid rock trolls behind) with a suitably awesome musical number to accompany the anticipation of meeting someone just like her. Along the way, she meets up with Hans, the disgraced prince who mucked things up royally in the first movie (no pun intended).

Okay - I HATED what they did to Hans. Because here is this immensely likable character that I (at least) fell in love with and he turns out to be the villain. FOR NO GOOD REASON! (if you needed an antagonist, why not that old and crusty mustache dude? Wasn't there enough antagonism from the blizzard and the circumstances of the eternal winter?) But in the sequel - Hans is penitent and seeking forgiveness for his actions. His brothers gave him so much grief over what he did before and have basically kicked him out of their kingdom. The only way he can return is with the power of the new Snow Queen. Elsa initially mistrusts him and he hardly blames her. But through a series of events that writers more clever than I can work out, they end up traveling together (where they're going is pretty dangerous and they both conclude that it'd be safer to do so - even if Elsa refuses to trust Hans for a long time).

When they get to where they're going, they discover a kingdom much like Arendelle (just colder). They are refused entrance into the kingdom for reasons that no one can explain (sound familiar?) Hans, being the youngest of so many brothers and having been picked on a good portion of his life - which included being locked out of the castle - finds a way inside the palace of this new kingdom (as an aside, Elsa is impressed with his secret-passage-finding skills). Guards catch them and they're thrown into prison and they discover a child who has snow powers and has been hidden away by her parents. Only, much worse than Elsa ever was. Where Elsa was at least kept in her bedroom, this child is a prisoner and treated very poorly (as poorly as you can get away with in a Disney movie, that is). Elsa promises to get the child out and teach him/her (no reason it couldn't be a boy with these powers. Again, writers more clever than I could take it from here) to control these powers. Hans has been picking the lock throughout this touching interlude and finally breaks them out. Only to find out that this child's mother is the Original Snow Queen - that is, the Snow Queen that Elsa's curse came from. There's some contrived reason that this Snow Queen took out her anger on Elsa's parents - curse the firstborn child, and all that - but this Snow Queen is impressed by Elsa's mastery of her powers. The Queen tries to tempt Elsa to turn to the dark side - citing that people will never understand her powers and she needs to be around people like her (HOORAY for conflict of character!), but dear sweet Hans steps in with the whole "Being a Villain Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be" speech (which could very well be directed at the writers of the first movie, in a meta sort of way) and Elsa finds the resolve to refuse the Snow Queen's offer. The Snow Queen is pissed and vows revenge on Arendelle and zips out there to do her thing (it's magic, dammit!) Now, the mission is to get to Arendelle before she destroys everything - and that could coincide with the sinister B-Plot that Anna and Kristoff are dealing with. Elsa and Hans and company go tearing off after the Snow Queen with not a whole lot of ideas of how to stop her, only that it must be done. They get to Arendelle, Big Ass Showdown between Elsa and the Snow Queen, the Snow Queen is defeated, Elsa and Hans kiss (oh come on - you had to know that was coming), Elsa teaches the Snow Queen's little prisoner how to be utterly awesome with his/her powers, and Elsa is the Queen of Arendelle and the Queen of Winter and pretty much just rules up and down the land.

Yeah, it's kind of rough, but it's a start. It opens up doors for Elsa's character to be explored and gives her room to grow and become more than the shy, depressed, introvert that Anna was tasked with saving in the first movie. Bonus points for redeeming Hans from a fate that was totally unnecessary and totally unwarranted. And no annoying rock trolls.

If nothing else, this gives me something to work into fan fiction.

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