It’s been a good few days for Disney and latest animated hit, “Frozen.” After years of tagging along behind the genius of Pixar, the House of Mouse has their own bona fide hit (#2 animated movie ever) and a couple Oscars. In most circumstances, any studio in this situation would do one thing: green light a sequel, but in the case of “Frozen,” Disney really, really should reconsider.
Talk of a “Frozen” sequel has been surprisingly restrained thus far, considering that an animated hit usually merits a sequel announcement within days of the original opening. So far there have been a few indicators of Disney’s intentions. In February, CEO Bob Iger in a call with investors said that “Frozen” has “real franchise potential.”
Then “Let It Go” writers Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez echoed the sentiment on Sunday at the Academy Awards when they accepted their Oscar for Best Original Song, saying “Happy Oscar to you/Let’s do ‘Frozen 2.’ ”
All the credit in the world to the happy, gilded couple and Bob Iger, but even though it goes against every fiber of 21st century moviemaking logic, there probably shouldn’t be a “Frozen 2.”
The entire story of “Frozen” was designed with a few key messages in mind. First of all, don’t be afraid to be yourself, even if you’re someone who confuses or scares other, more close-minded people. Secondly, the old trope of marrying the first guy that comes along isn’t always a great idea. He might be a villain.
These are progressive stances to take in any children’s movie, especially a Disney one, because it flies in the face of some many beloved movies that have come before it. Any sequel would need a message as strong as the one in the original, all the while avoiding the temptation to become the kind of story it criticizes in the first place. With Anna paired up with Kristoff, that makes Elsa’s love life the obvious place to go for a sequel because every Disney princess must be in want of a handsome prince.
But that’s the old way of thinking.
If Disney wants to usher in a new golden age of animation in the spirit of the hot streak in the ’90s, they need to make the bold decision to say “no” to sequels. Because no one looking back at the heyday of animated musicals talks about how great “Aladdin: The Return of Jafar” was. No, Disney had hit after original hit. That should be the model and the goal for what is hopefully a return to form.