I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from Frozen II but I do respect the marketing power of Disney and their ability to recognize a cash cow when they see it. Disney knew they’d make a mint or two if the released a sequel to one of the biggest animated films of all time and they’re right. Frozen II made over $130 million in its opening weekend alone. You can be sure that it’ll make much more than that in the weeks to come!
Expectations for Frozen II weren’t all that high for me and I will review the film by tomorrow, probably. There was one thing that I didn’t expect Frozen II to do though. There was no way, in my mind, that Disney could manufacture another smash-hit like “Let It Go.” That song is more than a song now. It’s a cultural phenomenon and it’s a song that will be sung for generations to come.
I didn’t expect to like Frozen II’s “Into The Unknown” more than “Let It Go.”
No, really. I will admit that “Into The Unknown” will never be as popular as “Let It Go” nor will it be remembered after a few years. The song itself just isn’t as catchy nor as memorable as “Let It Go.” So, why do I like “Into The Unknown” just a little bit more?
Don’t get me wrong. I truly believe that only a person with an ice-cold heart would dislike “Let It Go.” It may be one of the decade’s most overplayed songs ever but it’s still hard to pour hate on it. It’s really a wonderful song and Disney just got everything right with it. The song itself is fabulous and Elsa/Idina Menzel has a really powerful voice that has enough belting power to carry the tune.
It also goes without saying that the visuals that go with “Let It Go” in the first Frozen film is positively perfect. I mean, watching Elsa so sad and lonely at the beginning of the song, gradually escalating the use of her ice powers from just creating snow flurries into a great big ice castle just hits the mark on so many levels. It shows how Elsa is becoming more used to her abilities and accepting that she has these powers, something she was taught to be ashamed of. Elsa singing the song is also a monumental point of Frozen. It’s the turning point for Elsa as she now accepts who she is and the things she can do because of who she is. In short, “Let It Go” is not only a powerful song but a huge part of what made Frozen a good story.
Another thing about “Let It Go” that makes it extremely memorable is its simplicity. Maybe there is some complexity to its composition but, when I say it’s simple, what I mean is that anyone can sing it. There aren’t any super high notes nor are there many reverberating melodies that you have to do. What you do need is the ability to belt out and sustain long and powerful notes, which isn’t all that hard to do. If you take a deep breath just before those verses, you’ll make it. “Let It Go” is rather easy to sing and that’s not a bad thing. That’s one of the reasons why everyone remembers it. It’s because practically anyone can sing it.
I don’t think the same thing can be said for “Into The Unknown” from Frozen II.
One of the things that caught me off guard was the haunting vocalizing Aurora does to begin the song. It gives it an ethereal feel, like it’s something mystical and magical. It’s perfect and there’s a part of me that would like to believe it’s auto-tuned as it’s just too good! It’s a tone that sounds so soft and beautiful and it’s very tough to sound that wispy and siren-like. You can hit the note but you can’t really get it to sound like that.
Then we get to Idina Menzel as Elsa, who is kind of debating with this siren voice. It’s starts off slow and the rhythm is a little bit… jumpy. That’s the way I would call it. It’s never smooth but it works because Elsa sounds rather confused at this point. We then hear Elsa trying to reason out that she’s supposedly happy in her position. By the third verse, she figures out that the voice is actually right and she’s not and she’s longing for something more. That’s really good writing and I do wish we get a more conclusive “answer” from Elsa, saying that she will join the voice, rather than making it a question.
However, the thing that really gets me with “Into The Unknown” are how Idina Menzel and Aurora manipulate the central notes. The “Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah” part, if you will. The last part of the “into the unknown” lyrics drift effortlessly into a version of that “Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah” that’s a mirror or the intro but more forceful yet sounds equally beautiful. It’s also much more complicated to sing as you have to reverberate between those 4 notes. It’s just a more impressive song because of how difficult it can be to sing when you compare it to the relative simplicity of “Let It Go” from Frozen. This is why hearing a good cover of “Into The Unknown” is much more impressive as well.
My only real issue with “Into The Unknown” is the rather abrupt ending it has. It’s a totally Broadway thing to do and I get that. I really just wish they gave it a lengthier end.
I also think Disney is hobbling its rise to popularity by not releasing the “official” music video for “Into The Unknown.” Yes, it’s place in the film and the visuals that accompany it isn’t as impressive as Elsa creating a freaking castle out of ice like in the first film.
Will “Into The Unknown” reach the heights of popularity of “Let It Go” before it? There’s a snowball’s chance in hell that’ll happen. “Let It Go” is just too memorable and much easier to sing by everyone. However, it’s the complexity of “Into The Unknown” that makes me rank it just a little bit higher than “Let It Go.” I will probably forget the basic tune of “Into The Unknown” in a couple of years but I know “Let It Go” will forever be stuck in my subconscious. I still think Frozen II’s “Into The Unknown” is a much more richer song so it’s better in my book.
What’s your favorite song in Frozen II? Let me know in the comment section below!