Damn You, Disney, Everything that Happened in 2020 Was Foretold in Frozen 2, But We Didn’t Listen

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Disney’s Frozen 2

On December 7, 2019, we took our three children to Frozen 2, sixteen days after it opened. It was not quite a year ago, but it feels like a decade ago. Pandemic-life has changed everything we thought we knew about how humans experience time.

Back then, waiting sixteen days seemed impossible, but we agreed to go as a group, and 12/7/19, was the first date that worked for everyone. We were so busy then — remember that? Remember theatres or group activities?

How much has changed in a year? How much have parents aged this year? Ahhhh, don’t answer that. How much more tech-savvy and less innocent are our children? At some point, we are going to have to answer for that.

Olaf in Frozen 2

“ADVANCING TECHNOLOGY IS BOTH OUR SAVIOR AND OUR DOOM.” — OLAF

Three hundred fifty-one days ago, we watched Frozen 2 at the theatre. In this family, that’s nine months of quarantine, seven months of virtual school, way too much screen time, six birthdays, one election, and one pandemic ago.

It’s countless tough conversations about race, politics, and masks later, plus previously undiscovered life skills, many frustrations, situational adaptation, and a newfound ability to make peace with the weird stretchy thing time does now.

Now, our children can log on to a Zoom call at 8 am, update their virtual background, change their name to a Harry Potter character, remind the teacher to disable chat, unmute, and share her screen before another friend takes over.

They know how to use Google Classroom to check their assignments. They can follow links to nearly a dozen teacher-approved apps, download their homework, convert it to or from a PDF, AirPrint it, add paper or ink to the printer if necessary, complete the work, and upload it on their own, sometimes while I’m walking the dog and before my morning coffee.

Did I mention they are in kindergarten and second grade?

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Anna in Frozen 2

“HOW DO YOU GUYS COPE WITH THE EVER INCREASING COMPLEXITY OF THOUGHT THAT COMES WITH MATURITY?” — OLAF

Our twins had just turned two when Frozen 1 came out. We watched it on repeat for more than two years. We weren’t alone. It quickly became the highest-grossing animated movie of all time, raking in $1.3 billion at the box office. Still, the real money, as much as an estimated $500 billion, was in Frozen merchandising.

Did I mention we, like everyone else, bought all the things? We saw Anna, Elsa, and Olaf at Disneyland and went to Frozen on Ice and Frozen the Musical. You did too — We all were all-in.

Then, six years later, it happened again. We even went back to Disneyland.

When Frozen 2 came out in 2019, it made an astonishing $1.45 billion at the box office. It boosted retail sales again too, which was stunning because Disney animated sequels typically underperform and often go direct-to-video. They aren’t usually the same talent or production arm, but everyone from Idina Mendel to Kristen Bell and Josh Gad returned, and curiously, it wasn’t a reboot.

The story picked up where the first left off when the Princesses were (dare I say it?) adults — Gasp. And the themes of Frozen 2 were complex, thought-provoking, progressive, and bore an uncanny resemblance to the events of 2020.

Does Disney know something we don’t? Of course, they do. If only we paid attention.

Frozen 2 Some Things Never Change

Some Things Never Change

Yes, the wind blows a little bit colder
And we’re all getting older
And the clouds are moving on with every autumn breeze
Peter Pumpkin just became fertilizer
And my leaf’s a little sadder and wiser
That’s why I rely on certain certainties
Yes, some things never change
Like the feel of your hand in mine
Some things stay the same
Like how we get along just fine

Like an old stone wall that’ll never fall
Some things are always true
Some things never change
Like how I’m holding on tight to you
The leaves are already falling
Sven, it feels like the future is calling
Are you telling me tonight you’re gonna get down on one knee?

The winds are restless
Could that be why I’m hearing this call?
Is something coming?
I’m not sure I want things to change at all
These days are precious
Can’t let them slip away
I can’t freeze this moment
But I can still go out and seize this day

Ah ah ah ah ah ah
The wind blows a little bit colder
And you all look a little bit older
It’s time to count our blessings
Beneath an autumn sky
We’ll always live in a kingdom of plenty
That stands for the good and the many
And I promise you the flag of Arendelle will always fly
Our flag will always fly

Some things never change
Turn around and the time has flown
Some things stay the same
Though the future remains unknown
May our good luck last
May our past be past
Time’s moving fast, it’s true
Some things never change
Holding on tight to you
I’m holding on tight to you

“WE’RE CALLING THIS CONTROLLING WHAT YOU CAN WHEN THINGS FEEL OUT OF CONTROL.” – OLAF

Whoa. There’s a lot to unpack, especially for just for one song: Seasons, truth, security, good luck, counting our blessings, some talk about a wall, restlessness, change, the passage of time, the kingdom of plenty, the good of many, the flag, growing up, certainty, and aging. It’s masterful foreshadowing.

The music advances the plot throughout, as do Olaf’s one-liners, and a few notable exchanges, like when the Northuldra and some Arendellians are trapped in a foggy forest for 35 years. Sound familiar?

Is it a metaphor for quarantine-life, a warning about climate change, or both? In either case, if they (we) would have confronted their (our) intrinsically-linked pasts (and futures), they (we) would (could) have freed themselves (ourselves).

But instead, they (we) were locked in a pattern of blame and denial that perpetuates today: Republican vs. Democrat, Steelers vs. Patriots, Us vs. Them. Our inability to fix racism, misogyny, greed, climate change, inequality, poverty, healthcare, education, immigration, debt, or any of the systemic problems we face hinges on cooperation and unity, as does our humanity.

The spirits, enraged by the fighting, turn on humanity, and a thick mist imprisons the people of Frozen 2 in an enchanted forest. Hmm, might Mother Earth be reaching the same tipping point? Must we right some wrongs and come together to lift the curses that doom our survival?

The Northuldra in Frozen 2

“WHY DO LULLABIES ALWAYS HAVE TO HAVE SOME TERRIBLE WARNING IN THEM?” — HONEYMAREN

Anna: What’s that thing you say, Olaf?

Olaf: The thing… Oh! My theory about advancing technologies as both our savior and our doom?

Anna: No, not that one. The one about…

Olaf: The one about cucumbers?

Anna: No. The thing about water.

Olaf: Oh! Yeah. Water has memory. The water that makes up you and me has passed through at least four humans and/or animals before us. And remembers everything.

If you haven’t seen The Social Dilemma exploring the dark side of the technology connecting us, there are, as Olaf suggests, dramatic implications. And, don’t miss the warning about water either.

While technically, water doesn’t have memory (wait, there’s an epigenetics connection in there somewhere that I can’t quite put my finger on), there are too many water references to ignore.

The Dark Sea in Frozen 2

Take Nokk, the mythological water horse, for example, or perhaps more accurately, the horse-shaped elemental spirit of water that serves as the Dark Sea guardian. Speaking of the Dark Sea (and drowning), water’s power and symbolism are in nearly every scene. The large dam that connects Arendelle to the Northuldra, and Ahtohallan, the ancient river turned glacier where Elsa learns the truth, are two examples.

Water can provide clues about its origin (Elsa?). In some cases, the impurities left in water can present clues about where the water has been or what has contaminated it, which seems significant given pollution and scarcity.

Remember when we first learned Why Meat from Scared Animals Tastes Worse? Olaf’s warning about water means something similar, if you can trust a snowman on the subject.

Anna and Elsa in Frozen 2

“WHO KNOWS THE WAYS OF MEN?” — OLAF

By the way, now is as good a time as any to give props to Disney for not pitting the female leads against each other. Also, no one needed to be rescued by a man. Let’s clap for that!

And speaking of men, there were very few displays of toxic masculinity (for a change — I’m looking at you, Prince Hans, Gaston, Jafar, and Scar — you’re the worst).

“WOW, I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL I’M ANCIENT LIKE YOU SO I DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IMPORTANT THINGS.” — OLAF

Parents laugh-cried when Olaf sang this one in 2019. It’s even harder to hear in late 2020 when our children expect better answers.

Frozen 2 When I Am Older

When I am Older

This will all make sense when I am older
Someday I will see that this makes sense
One day, when I’m old and wise
I’ll think back and realize
That these were all completely normal events

I’ll have all the answers when I’m older
Like why we’re in this dark, enchanted wood
I know in a couple of years these will seem like childish fears
And so I know this isn’t bad; it’s good

Growing up means adapting
Puzzling out your world and your place
When I’m more mature, I’ll feel comfortably secure
Being watched by something with a creepy, creepy face Ahhhhhhh!

See, that will all make sense when I am older
So there’s no need to be terrified or tense
I’ll just dream about a time
When I’m in my age of prime
’Cause when you’re older
Absolutely everything makes sense

This is fine

It is fine, right?

Bruni in Frozen 2

“ANGRY MAGICAL SPIRITS ARE NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART.” — GRAND PABBIE

If you thought we already covered a lot, we have barely touched on the other spirit elements: water, fire, wind, earth, and what exactly was the fifth?

I guess it depends upon your interpretation. Some thought Elsa and her powers were the fifth element; others saw her as one end of the bridge between worlds (or was it between humans and nature?) while Anna represented the other end. Others guessed the fifth element was a unity symbol hidden in the snowflake that meant the elements have to be aligned for life to be in harmony.

Or maybe it was another hidden message? There were many Easter Eggs, after all. Was it that Elsa’s freezing powers are a metaphor for our collective power (that we have to learn to harness) to prevent global warming?

I’m feeling a little Lost in the Woods on this one, which is, of course, a reference to Jonathan Groff’s (Kristoff’s) ’80s rock power ballad. It was annoying the first time and unexpectedly endearing the more I watched it. Plus, it’s pretty classic in a cringeworthy way how much more straightforward his journey is than Elsa’s.

He just wants to get the girl. She was eagerly searching for her destiny and identity while wrestling with her powers’ enormity and following a mysterious voice that was calling to her.

Kristoff wanted to find the courage to propose. Elsa had to face prior generations’ mistakes, family secrets, past betrayals, greed-driven self-interests, and other destructive and pivotal choices by those in power (men). Oh, and mend a world in peril and soothe the spirits.

All the while, she reconciled her womanhood, fear of the unknown, her parents’ death, and sisterhood. Sounds about right, doesn’t it?

Into the Unknown, Frozen 2

Into the Unknown

Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah

I can hear you, but I won’t
Some look for trouble, while others don’t
There’s a thousand reasons I should go about my day
And ignore your whispers, which I wish would go away, oh, oh, oh

Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah

You’re not a voice; you’re just a ringing in my ear
And if I heard you (which I don’t) I’m spoken for, I fear
Everyone I’ve ever loved is here within these walls
I’m sorry, secret siren, but I’m blocking out your calls

I’ve had my adventure; I don’t need something new
I’m afraid of what I’m risking if I follow you

Into the unknown
Into the unknown
Into the unknown

Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah

What do you want ’cause you’ve been keeping me awake
Are you here to distract me so I make a big mistake
Or are you someone out there who’s a little bit like me
Who knows deep down I’m not where I’m meant to be

Every day’s a little harder, as I feel my power grow
Don’t you know there’s part of me that longs to go

Into the unknown
Into the unknown
Into the unknown

Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah

Oh, are you out there?
Do you know me?
Can you feel me?
Can you show me?

Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah

Where are you going?
Don’t leave me alone
How do I follow you

Into the unknown

So, this deep into this post, I realized I promised to explain what the film foretold. Oh no! But it’s too good. I love the delicious ambiguity, don’t you? It’s all there, but we have to interpret it for ourselves, as we go, don’t we? I mean, now what? With a vaccine on the horizon but no end in sight, what do we do?

Frozen 2 The Next Right Thing

The Next Right Thing

I’ve seen dark before, but not like this
This is cold, this is empty, this is numb
The life I knew is over; the lights are out
Hello darkness: I’m ready to succumb

I follow you around (I always have)
But you’ve gone to a place I cannot find
This grief has a gravity, it pulls me down
But a tiny voice whispers in my mind

You are lost, hope is gone
But you must go on
And do the next right thing

Can there be a day beyond this night
I don’t know anymore what is true
I can’t find my direction; I’m all alone
The only star that guided me was you

How to rise from the floor
When it’s not you I’m rising for

Just do the next right thing
Take a step, step again
It is all that I can to do
The next right thing

I won’t look too far ahead
It’s too much for me to take
But break it down to this next breath, this next step
This next choice is one that I can make

So I’ll walk through this night
Stumbling blindly toward the light
And do the next right thing
And with the dawn what comes then?
When it’s clear that everything will never be the same again
Then I’ll make the choice to hear that voice
And do the next right thing

Elsa in Frozen 2

“FORGIVE ME, MATURITY IS MAKING ME POETIC.” – OLAF

We think we know where we are going, what will happen, what it takes to be on the right side of history. And while we are co-creators of our future, it’s also an illusion to some degree because as important as our individual story is, we have to come to terms with the fact that we are Aspen trees.

On the surface, we’re multiplying, glittering gold, quaking in the breeze, but underneath, we are interconnected, a Tangled network of roots and codependency.

Our actions matter, not just to us, but to the whole forest. We can continue to put our self-interests above the good of others, the health of the planet, and our species’ survival, but to what end?

“DID YOU KNOW THAT AN ENCHANTED FOREST IS A PLACE OF TRANSFORMATION? I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT MEANS, BUT I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT IT’S GONNA DO TO EACH ONE OF US.” — OLAF

We don’t have to guess or wait to find out. We’ve seen it, and it’s not the part of the movie where the Northuldra get trapped in a thick fog bubble. No, we’re past that; we’re Elsa, and if we don’t transform, we will be trapped, watching helplessly as the angry elements threaten our loved ones.

That’s a fate I’d like to think we all want to avoid. Who knows? Maybe we have to wait for Frozen 3 to see how this thing turns out.

Written by

Life coach for women. Writer for 29 publications. Happiness, success, productivity, balance, leadership, inspiration. Follow me on Instagram @coachformoms.

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