Frozen was one of the biggest hits that Walt Disney Animation Studios had ever seen. While the main animation division of the company wasn't known for making sequels, it was far from surprising when it was announced that Frozen II was on the way.
On the one hand, the success of Frozen II seemed inevitable. If the first movie was so well loved, why wouldn't the audience turn out to see the sequel? Of course, for that to really be true, you have to know why it was that the first movie captured so many hearts. Kristen Bell thinks that it all came down to the people that made Frozen happen the first time around. In speaking with NPR, she likened it to a great recipe that comes together to make a perfect cake...
In my mind, if you make a recipe and the cake comes out great, you make it again the next day with the same ingredients. Why on earth wouldn't it be great?
There's a simple truth there that makes a lot of sense. Everybody who came together to make the first Frozen so successful was back for the sequels. All the voice actors, the songwriters, directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, were all back to make Frozen II as good as the first time around.
Of course, all that comes together to create a compelling story with characters, and it's the characters that Kristen Bell really thinks are the secret ingredient in the Frozen success recipe. For her, the way Anna and Elsa are written, as both vulnerable and powerful, is something that resonates with the audience, especially the young audience.
There's something inside all of us that feels so vulnerable and powerful ... especially in kids. They feel so vulnerable because they're often the smallest person in the room. They're slower than everyone else. They don't know everything. And yet they have a spirit of growth and they feel their own power.
Vulnerability is certainly something that we see on full display in Frozen II. Kristen Bell's character of Anna especially is one who is put through the emotional ringer over the course of the film. It's a surprisingly downbeat and grim storyline for your average Disney movie.
And certainly, the recipe has proven that it can once again create a great cake. Frozen II has grossed over $900 million worldwide and, while it hasn't been embraced by critics quite as warmly as the first film, it's still seen in a very positive light as a successful sequel.
This, of course, makes one wonder --if we can just go ahead and beat this analogy to death-- if the recipe can make an excellent cake for a third time. Although, no matter how good the recipe is, eventually, you'll just get sick of eating cake.