Frozen II is, more or less, a Disney movie without a villain. In the end, everyone is facing the same threat – environmental disasters from a world thrown out of whack.
The sequel begins about where the original film left off: with the first movie’s small-time villain, Hans, vanquished, Anna and Kristoff happily together, and Elsa queen of the bustling little kingdom of Arendelle. But this peaceful scene doesn’t last long. A series of intense natural disasters strike Arendelle one night, and people flee the town to escape the buffeting winds and shifting earth. The four elemental spirits of earth, air, fire, and water are upset, so the princesses must journey north to the enchanted forest and restore harmony between humans and the environment.
The cause of this disharmony, we learn, is a dam that Elsa and Anna’s grandfather built many years ago, supposedly as a “gift” for the tribe of indigenous people upriver of Arendelle. Elsa and Anna learn the truth: Their grandfather’s motives may not have been so pure, and their entire society was made possible by screwing over the original inhabitants of the land. And taking down the dam is the only way to set things right and save their kingdom. But that means making some sacrifices, like accepting that their own city, which was built on a floodplain at the mouth of a river, might not make it.
Frozen II isn’t the first Disney movie to make climate change an important plot point. Moana, for example, rescues her island home from threats inspired by Pacific Islanders’ struggle against climate change. But Frozen II considers more of the complexities of an overheating planet than any other Disney film – or any fictional movie I can think of, to be totally honest. It even portrays some of the ethical and emotional challenges of living through the Anthropocene.
At the end of the day, Frozen II was made for children, and the film ties everything up in a neat bow. Sure, it doesn’t lay out how to build popular support and political will for climate action or replace fossil fuel infrastructure … but it’s a kids’ movie. If you want to talk to your kids about some of the thornier elements of the climate crisis, like how it’s overwhelmingly scary or rooted in historical exploitation — and don’t mind sitting through 103 minutes of singing cartoon characters and dancing reindeer first — this could be just the movie for you.
Original post: https://grist.org