When I put my niece on the bus to school on Friday morning, she was wearing her Frozen-themed tennis shoes. Back at her house, she already had an Elsa shirt picked out to wear to Frozen 2 later that night. She was, to put it mildly, kind of excited. At just 7-years-old, she’s never known a world without Frozen, and even though the first movie came out before she could even walk it has been her primary pop culture obsession from the moment she first heard “Let It Go.” She’s now gone as Elsa for Halloween, has more Frozen toys than I can count (with more on the way this Christmas), and knows every line from the movie by heart.
She’s also a self-appointed expert on the differences between what Anna wears in Frozen versus what she wears in Frozen Fever, the 2015 short film about what happens when Elsa gets a cold. (The plot involves Elsa’s sneezes turning into something called “snowgies,” and if you don’t know what that means, don’t worry, my niece can explain it to you.)
So, yeah, Frozen 2? Kind of a big deal in her life.
The same is obviously true of countless kids around the world. Frozen isn’t a film franchise; it’s a global brand, one which has grown so big in such a relatively small amount of time that there are now tweens who can look back on it and say, “I remember how much I loved that when I was a kid.” That’s actually a direct quote from my slightly older step-niece, whose world begins and ends with Fortnite now. (If you’re wondering exactly how many nieces I have, the answer is 3.)
Frozen 2 aims to be a movie for both the 7-year-olds and tweens, not to mention the adults. It has plenty of the kid-friendly action and jokes you’d expect, but it also has a lot to say about growing up, moving on, and coping with the harsh realities of the world. It’s meant to be the type of thing kids of any age can look at and get something different out of. That’s my read on the film, at least.
My 7-year-old niece – the one who went to school sporting her favorite Frozen shoes – has a far simpler take on such a mature text: “Frozen 2 was awesome!”
For good measure, she then screamed that again.
Yes, I sat down with her last night to hear what she thought about the film she’s been eagerly anticipating for literally years. Well, not so much “sat down” as tried to talk to her while she simultaneously crafted a paper, tape, and pipe-cleaner trap to help with housetraining my new dog (long story short: it didn’t work) and refashioned a large paperclip into a makeshift hairpin (another long story short: she wanted to put it in my hair; it didn’t work). 7-year-olds, turns out, just boundless wells of energy, but she managed to sit still for two hours last Friday to bask in the glory of Frozen 2. Here’s what she thought, spoilers and all:
Me: What were your favorite parts of the movie?
Her: [Pauses a moment to think about it] My favorite parts of Frozen 2 were when Elsa came back and Olaf came back and Anna became queen of Arrendale and Elsa became queen of the forest.
Me: How excited were you right before the movie started?
Her: Very excited.
Me: Once it started, did you love it right away?
Me: It didn’t take you a minute to get into it? You never thought, “It’s not as good as the first one”?
Her: [Confused face] Why would I think that?
Me: Well, sometimes when there’s a super popular movie people will like the sequel but not love it as much as the first one.
Her: You mean like how the Maleficent in that new movie [Mistress of Evil] isn’t as good as the Maleficent from The Descendants?
Me: Something like that, but not quite.
Her: I wish Mal had been in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. It would have been so much better with her in it.
[She then goes off on a tangent about The Descendants 3. Disney, if you need a pitch for a possible Descendants 4, my niece has some ideas.]
Me: So, back to Frozen 2, what did you think of the new songs?
Her: I liked all of them.
Me: Was there one that stood out the most?
Her: I liked the one where she was at, she was at, um, the thingamajig, the river of memories, and she sang that song.
Me: When Elsa sang “Into the Unknown”? Or “Show Yourself?”
Her: [Sings the chorus of “Show Yourself” as her answer]
Me: What about Olaf’s song, “When I Am Older”?
Her: [Laughs] That was cute.
Me: Were there parts of the movie that made you sad?
Her: Yeah, like when Elsa got frozen.
Me: When that happened, did you think she was gone for good?
Me: What about Olaf, when he whithered away?
Me: You didn’t?
Her: [Suddenly very excited] If Elsa came back Olaf would come back because, he only snowflaked away, because Elsa was frozen.
[Her father briefly interrupts to clarify that she’s seen enough films now to always assume there will be a happy ending. Even after Infinity War, she instantly guessed the next Avengers movie would find a way to bring everyone back. Well, almost everyone. RIP Vision.]
Me: So, Frozen 2 was sad, but it never made you cry?
Her: No. I did laugh a bit.
Me: Like when?
Her: Whenever Olaf talked to Gale or “Samantha.”
Me: Did you laugh when Olaf re-enacted the first movie?
Her: When did he do that?
Me: Remember, when he meets the new people in the forest, and…
Her: Oh, yeah, that was silly. [Giggles] That’s what I laughed at the most. When he tries to introduce them to Elsa and Anna, I loved that. [Adopts Olaf sad voice] “Anna is frozen.” [Adopts Olaf excited voice] “Anna is unfrozen!” [Giggles again] It was so silly. I liked that.
[I get the wrap-it-up sign from her dad. It’s a school night, after all.]
Me: So, how many times do you think you’ve watched Frozen?
Her: Less than 100, but definitely more than 50. Maybe 75 times?
Me: And how many times do you think you’ll watch Frozen II?
Her: A thousand!
Me: You realize that’s way, way more than 75.
Me: Does that mean you like it more?
Her parting demand: that we see Frozen 2 again as a family on Thanksgiving Day. We’ll surely be far from the only ones making a return trip for Frozen 2 over the holidays.
If you have any kiddos in your life, what was their take on Frozen 2? Let me know in the comments.