This Thanksgiving weekend I had the pleasure of getting the opportunity to watch the movie Frozen 2 at the Regal River Stone movie theater in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho. My family and I, just like everyone else, had of course seen the previous children's movie and we all expected this sequel to be something much similar. What we experienced however, was something far different and more meaningful than we could have ever imagined.
Of course, the original Frozen had an incredibly deep and symbolic underlying meaning behind its plot as well, but I believe Frozen 2 was not written just for children. In fact, I don't believe they wrote the plot for this film with just the children in mind at all. Although there are many aspects about the plot that I don't think that a small child would be able to fully understand about the movie, I do, however, believe that any kid will still be able to thoroughly enjoy it. Many of it's true meanings were disguised by trivial jokes that would most likely go right over any child's head. The adults, however, don't need to be a genius to understand that this film was written with a much bigger message in mind.
Not only did the film include many adult targeted jokes and underlying innuendos, but this would not be the first time that Disney used the terms "magic" and "spirits" as a metaphor in order to tell it's audience a story about their faith. Disney is able to portray this in simple enough terms that it would even make sense to a child. Although Disney may not admit to being associated with any religious beliefs, there is simply no doubt that they incorporate Christianity into almost all of their classic films.
Feel free to skip this side story and go right to the analysis...
, but I believe that it is crucial to add a little bit of background about a truly inspiring story that happened to my grandmother, mother, and I when we went to Regal Riverstone to purchase our tickets. I want to start out by explaining that the entire day prior to my viewing of this movie, I was having quite an awful day. That is probably a severe understatement, I was going through a bit of an existential crisis as I was incredibly stressed out about school as well as the many other factors that come along with early adulthood. I also just felt that I was being called to move to Hawaii and I still had a lot to do and many approaching deadlines to meet in order to make it happen. Regardless of my disposition at the time, God whispered into my ear to go and ask my mother and grandmother if they would like to see this movie with me tonight. I was of course, in no mood to watch a children's movie given all of the assignments I still had to do that were due the following day; however, I remained obedient to what the Lord was so clearly prompting me to do.
When we arrived at my grandmother's apartment, to my mother and I's greatest delight, my grandmother informed us that her unbelievably generous neighbor, Tammi, had felt that the Lord had prompted her to give my grandmother her two free movie passes that day. There was no way that Tammy could have possibly known exactly what the Lord truly had in store for us in using those movie passes, or the true extent of an impact that this movie was really going to have on us, all she knew was that it was the right thing to do.
I am a regal unlimited club member, so I pay a monthly low fee of $18 to watch unlimited amount of movies all month long, so my ticket was, in a way, free as well. We all thanked the Lord for his willingness to pay for our admission into the movie, and when we arrived at the theater, we were surprised by yet another gift from God. We went to the snack stand to purchase a large popcorn and large diet coke and much to our shock, they informed us that I had one free birthday large popcorn and one free large drink that I had not yet used. What are the odds that this was our EXACT order that we were trying to purchase? That simply could not have been a coincidence. Not only did the Lord provide the funds for our admission into the movie, but he even provided us with our favorite cinema snacks. This saved us roughly about $60 in total. This was God's way of subtly hinting to us that we were indeed, in for quite a treat.
As follows is a Christian interpretation of many aspects about the film, which includes many spoilers so if you have not seen the film yet, stop reading now and go and watch it first! You have been warned…
Olaf’s Curiosities As He Grows Older:
In Frozen 2, Olaf is apparently much older and wiser than he was in the first film as he is beginning to wrap his brain around the many different concepts about existence and the reality of what it means to be a sentient being. He most intrigued by the concept of permanence in comparison to things that are only temporary. This is essentially the relationship us sentient beings have with our physical bodies and Olaf is coming to terms with the fact that nothing in this life is permanent and that death is inevitable.
Okay woah now, let's back up for just one second, did Disney actually just put a concept that dark into a kid's movie? You bet they did. You can also bet that this is again not the first time they have done so in a way that goes right over many people's heads, even adults, because they disguise these underlying themes with humor by using a cute, comical, and musical snow man that can practically joke about anything, including being physically impaled in the chest, and it would probably still be funny. Nobody saw anything wrong about how dark of a joke that was in the first movie so the writers knew that they could go pretty far with Olaf without the risk of anyone getting offended. That being said, Olaf begins to comprehend that love is the only thing that will always remain the same, because nothing on this earth in physical form will ever last forever.
On one hand, one may criticize Disney for attempting to make children curious about these kinds of questions at way too young of an age. On the other hand, one may argue that Disney is only trying to keep the kids curious about life and wanting to ask themselves these kinds of questions because many kids these days have lost their sense of curiosity due to the new age of technology. Why would a child be curious about the stars in the sky and why they are there and who created them, when their heads aren't looking up at the sky anymore? Their heads are instead, looking down at their smart phones. They are watching Netflix or playing angry birds instead of looking around at the many wonders life has to offer. I believe that what Disney really had in mind for the film was to evoke a sense of curiosity and get kids asking themselves these kinds of questions again and make them desire these answers, just like Elsa so badly desires the answers as to where she came from and how she got her powers. Kids should be asking themselves where they came from too. They should be actively trying to understand just how powerful their true father had to have been to create not only them and all of their wonderful gifts they were also born with, but also to create the entire world as we know it.
The scene where Olaf is alone in the forest and all kinds of clearly intentional things are happening to him as he attempts to make sense of it all was arguably one of the most important scenes in the entire film. The most important factor to note here is that the so called "spirits" do not make a single visible appearance in the entire film. This is purposeful in regard to the fact that the characters are only aware that there is anything there by what these spirits do around them, rather than physically seeing them with their own eyes. These spirits leave absolutely no physical trace or any amount of evidence to prove their existence, but their presence is still so obvious to the characters regardless of this factor! In fact, their presence is so obvious that Olaf even gives it a name, "Gale". If that isn't the clearest message about faith and Christianity in a kid's film, then I don't know what is. This is essentially our relationship with God and an issue that many atheists wrestle with in choosing to believe in Christianity: how can one choose to believe in something that they cannot see?
This brings me to believe that Olaf's entire character was intended to not only refute one of the most common atheist arguments, but to show everyone how truly naïve you would have to be as a human being to believe that all of the miracles that happen to us in life, all of the things that the "spirits" do for them, are purely coincidental.
I would like to imagine Olaf as a scientist attempting to investigate the answers to the many wonders of this world, the meaning of life, as well as where we all came from, by attempting to explain it with scientific evidence. The reality is that life is far too complex to ever be able to even begin to explain its many complexities as well as its natural phenomena through the form of science, or even be able to be measured by any kind of numbers that we as humans have invented. Olaf walking in the forest pointing out all the things that are clearly not normal, and assuring himself that it is all just in fact, many natural and purely coincidental acts of nature, outlines your stereotypical atheist: someone who is choosing to remain naïve to reality because their own personal fears are the only thing shadowing their ability to see what someone is clearly doing right in front of them. Someone had to have designed all of this. Life, in itself, is far too complex for it to even make sense to believe that all of this, happened by itself. That's like saying that a book magically sat there and wrote itself, or it is like saying that "science" is just so malevolent that it can even write human DNA as well as the many complexities involved in life in itself, or what we humans describe as "the human soul". No one can deny that science cannot even begin to explain everything. So many atheists do this as a coping mechanism because they are afraid to face their real fears about death as well as their salvation due to many, quite understandable reasons. Some of them fear hell, for others, maybe it is the fear of death itself, but some just feel guilty for their sins and instead of holding themselves accountable for them, they choose to run from them by choosing to accept a much less scary explanation as to what the real meaning is to life. This brings me to my next point…
The Theme of Fear:
This film did nothing but encourage it's audience to not be afraid of the spirits, because they are good. Satan loves to come in wherever he can and evoke fear among atheists as well as even the Lord's most loyal of followers in order to distract them from seeing the truth.
Fear was undoubtedly a pretty large theme throughout the entirety of the film as we see that it is the main inhibiting factor that is preventing everyone from living in peace and harmony. It was the entire reason that Elsa and Anna's grandfather (the king of Arendelle) blindsided and wrongfully attacked Northuldra and caused all of the chaos and main conflict that ensued. Before their grandfather allowed his own fear about magic to get the best of him, the two different communities lived amongst each other in perfect harmony. This goes to show how we should never allow fear to hold us back from experiencing love to its fullest extent, choosing to live in peace, and choosing to live the best life that God has designed for us.
Elsa’s Encounter With The Water Horse:
This scene never fails to give me goosebumps every time I watch it and is, without a doubt, my favorite scene in Disney movie history. The tension is at its peak as everyone in the audience watches intently as Elsa attempts to take on the massive, unforgiving waves of the dark sea. These of which are the same dreadful waves that killed their parents, if I may add. While her courage remains to be extraordinarily admirable, this is also simultaneously Elsa's main fatal flaw in the story: thinking that she can do all things, by herself. We all stand in awe at Elsa's consistent bravery and unwavering tenacity to find the truth about where she came from. It is apparent that she will go through any length to find it and will stop at nothing until she fulfills the mission that God so clearly is calling her to do. It is important to note that God has evidently called her to complete this task alone, despite her sister's dismay. Sometimes God calls us to do certain things alone in order to test our faith, just like when Jesus asked Peter to walk to him on the water in Matthew 14 (22-33) during the storm before he allowed his fear of the wind to cause him to sink. (Are you beginning to notice a trend here yet?) This is a reminder to us all about the same overarching message: all we can do when the Lord calls us to do something in which we are blind as to what our future may hold, is be obedient to him and "do the next right thing" by having complete trust in him that he will not let us fall.
But just like Peter, Elsa sinks into the ocean. We watch her attempt to conquer the waves and fail over and over again no matter how hard she tries; however, the spirit of water comes to the rescue to save her life just in time. You see? God did not allow Elsa to drown. It was all within his plan to teach her through her failures that she cannot face all of her battles in life on her own without the Lord's proper guidance. These waves are of course symbolizing our trials we all go through in life that test our faith. Not even the Queen of ice herself, as powerful as she may be, can overcome them on her own without giving God the literal reigns and allowing him to pave the way to the path he made for her.
The audience is forced to ask themselves, "just what exactly does she think she is doing not even trying to take a boat? Is she really just going to try and use the powers of her ice magic to calm those treacherous waves? How can she not see that she doesn't stand a chance!" and then they start to ask themselves "Why is Elsa fighting with the water horse! Can't she see that it is clearly trying to help her? Why is she being so stubborn when she clearly needs help!" these are exactly the kinds of questions the writers wanted you to ask yourself. This was written with the intention of revealing to us just how stupid it is for us to even try and take on this cold, dark, and brutal world by ourselves and follow our own paths instead of the one God created for us. Everyone is always going to experience storms in their lifetime, that is never going to change. But by giving God the reigns and allowing him to lead you to your destiny just like the water horse did, it sure does make things a lot easier. Not being stubborn at first and having to learn this lesson the hard way would avoid so much pain and hardship. Unfortunately, as intelligent as we humans may be, we are stubborn by nature and we don't like to be told what to do. We all need to be taught this lesson in life the hard way (through failure) in order to fully understand it.
I think that it is so important to notice the fact that the horse in itself was designed by God/the water "spirit", specifically for her. She is the only character that yields the precise ice powers needed to be able to freeze the horse in order to make him solid enough to ride, rather than fall straight through it. No one else would have been capable of riding this horse, thus creating such a beautiful and natural relationship between water and ice. The instant connection that Elsa has with the horse was truthfully one of my favorite friendships that Disney has ever harvested in any of it's films because it is so obvious that they were made for each other. And, of course, because this is portraying the first signs that Elsa is the bridge between water and solid earth. She is solid water!
Into the Unknown Meaning:
This song was quite obviously Elsa's internal conflict she is having with herself when she knows God is whispering in her ear to do something she doesn't want to do. God is asking a lot out of her to ask her to leave her comfortable life and embark on such a dangerous and terrifying journey into the unknown. She is quite content and happy with the life that God has already given her and at first we agree with her that it is understandable why she would not want to do anything to risk changing that, until we know how the movie ends…
Once we have seen the ending of the movie, however, it all makes sense as we are now able to reflect upon this scene and understand why it was that the voice was calling her to take such a big risk. There is so much obvious foreshadowing that we miss when we watch this scene the first time, she even says "…are you someone out there whose a little bit like me, who knows deep down, I'm not where I'm meant to be?". This was entirely true that little did Elsa know at the time, just how much greater were the plans that God had in mind for her life instead of the comfortable lifestyle she was currently living. She loved her life and was at first too stubborn to want to change it or give it up for anything.
Unfortunately because of her stubbornness to adhere to her calling in life, God had to force her to come around by causing something huge to happen to threaten Arendelle. This forced her to set forth on her journey because now she had the entire fate of Arendelle resting on her shoulders as her motivation to discover the truth. This goes to prove that sometimes God has to take everything away from us, in order to make room for the bigger and better plan that he has planned for us. This all makes sense to us in the end that she was never meant to be the queen of Arendelle, for we learn that this was Anna's true destiny. She was never created to live in Arendelle at all, in fact. She was created to become the queen of ice; and live in a palace entirely made of ice much like the one she created in the first movie. This was her true destiny and calling in life, and just look how much happier she is to finally understand what God's plan consisted of. She is practically glowing in the end as she lets her hair down and undergoes such a beautiful transformation, that even Olaf notices that she looks different.
This, yet again, reinforces the idea that one should never let fear stop them from fulfilling their destiny. Just imagine what would have happened if Elsa continued to ignore those annoying "whispers" and "ringing" in her ear that kept her up for so many nights on end? She would have never found out the truth and she would have continued to live the comfortable life that she was never designed for. Not only that, but she would have never found out the truth about her parents, and the people of the Nothuldra tribe would have spent the rest of their lives trapped in the enchanted forest.
Anna was also obedient to what the Lord was calling her to do when she took a leap of faith and decided to use the giants to destroy the damn. She did this because she knew it was the next right thing to do, even with the overwhelming fear at stake that the fate of Arendelle as she knew it would flood. She didn't allow the fear of that inevitable fate to stop her from doing what she knew was right, and in return, God rewarded her for that by working through Elsa to make sure that Arrendelle did not sink.
The most important lesson in the entire movie will always remain that if you hear God whisper in your ear that there is something you need to do, even something so small that you don't think could have any impact on anything, you have to be obedient to what he is asking of you. We don't know the future, only God is capable of seeing the bigger picture in which we will always remain blind to. Why would God want to spoil the ending for you instead of letting you experience for yourself what he was doing when you reflect back on life; how naïve you were before you knew just how much bigger the plans were that he had in mind for you. That would be way too easy if he just told you his plans from the very beginning. In fact, it would ruin the lesson he was trying to teach you in testing how strong your trust is in him, just like it would have ruined this movie for you if I spoiled its ending before you even got a chance to enjoy it first for yourself. Looking back on our experience with receiving the free movie tickets, I understand now why God had bought us the tickets. He knew that he didn't just have an important message for me to hear to stop stressing about school since he had it all under control. He knew that I was also going to be so inspired by this movie that I was going to use the gift of writing that he has given me for this reason exactly: to write this review and share its message with the entire world. I cannot take all of the credit for this review, because I did not write it. God did. They were his words, ringing in my ears, waking me up from my sleep just like he woke Elsa up when he had something important for her to do as well. Just imagine if I hadn't stayed obedient to his whispers to drop everything and go watch this movie? You would not be reading this right now, and I would still be in a state of absolute turmoil trying to take on the waves of this life by myself instead of realizing that it is a battle that I simply cannot win on my own.
So folks, what have we learned? Trust in the Lord always, even if he calls you to do something scary or uncomfortable, even if he calls you to travel in the unknown. Even if you don't at first understand why yet, and you are afraid of losing everything you have, I promise you that if the task is truly what God is calling you to do, he will never let you fall.