The Frozen 2 soundtrack features beloved acts such as Kacey Musgraves and Panic! at the Disco, but Weezer's version of "Lost in the Woods" is an unholy force of 80s power ballads and 90s nostalgia.

An icon of 90s alt rock, Weezer is emblematic of nerd rock for many millennials, but to the upcoming Generation Alpha (those born from 2010-2024) they may become Disney stars. In Weezer's music video, frontman River Cuomo re-enacts, scene for scene, Kristoff (Jonathan Graff)'s performance of the 80s-inspired power ballad (including Kristen Bell dressed in full Anna gear!). Frozen's Academy Award-winning songwriters, Robert Lopez and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, say they took inspiration from Bryan Adams and their youth so they could tackle the big emotional questions addressed in the song (questioning whether or not an established relationship is still right for you) while also having fun.

Above all, seeing Cuomo, 49, and bandmates (ages 48 to 54 years old) standing in a knock-off Enchanted Forest in an homage to the most popular children's movie in the world is hilariously cringey. I want to watch this video first thing in the morning when I'm questioning why anyone bothers to get dressed and leave the house, while I'm on the train surrounded by screaming children and two businessmen aggressively bantering over my head, and after work while I'm too tired to believe there will be a future, and so maybe I won't have to do it all again tomorrow. Maybe it's the earnest yearning of the song matched by Cuomo's lost eyes. Maybe it's the purple backlighting on the sound stage. Maybe it's Frozen 2's not so hidden messaging about climate change and the fact that climate crisis is imminent.

We're all lost in the woods, motherf*ckers–and we're all creepy people wearing adult costumes, stalking around the wilderness, looking for connection that isn't there.

Weezer - Lost in the Woods (From "Frozen 2") youtu.be

FILM

Taking "Frozen 2" Too Seriously: Race, Reparations, and Revisionist History

Disney comes close to transcending the Happily Ever After pitfall–and then fails.

If you've seen Frozen, then you know that being a person of color these days is sort of like having magic powers—if you live in a society (like Arendelle) where people with magic powers are vilified and run out of many towns out of fear and misunderstanding of the foreign and unknown.

Frozen 2, released for streaming by Disney three months early to alleviate boredom from coronavirus quarantine, aims to amend Arendelle's society by tossing together a sh*t ton of magic, indigenous people, and the lies white colonizers tell. In many ways, directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee gave postcolonial studies majors everywhere a dream come true with Frozen 2. Despite Frozen grossing $1.27 billion, it had a few problems, particularly with whitewashing its fictional depiction of Norwegian culture. Ahead of the sequel's record-breaking release, word spread that the filmmakers signed a contract with the parliament of the indigenous Scandinavian Sámi community. This time, when they heavily borrowed elements of Sámi culture, they worked to "collaborate with the Sámi in an effort to ensure that the content of Frozen 2 is culturally sensitive, appropriate, and respectful of the Sámi and their culture."

As a result, they leaned all the way in; the plot of Frozen 2 revolves around the awakening of the four elemental spirits that reside in the Enchanted Forest just beyond Arendelle. Long ago, a bloody conflict erupted between the Arendellians and the native people of the forest, the Northuldra, though no one knows who instigated the violence. The spirits were so enraged that they cut the forest off from the rest of the world, creating a mythical wilderness that Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) were warned to avoid by their parents.

SPOILERS

But then Elsa has to go and belt out another solo on her balcony, the climax of which is accidentally awakening the four spirits, which attack Arendelle and drive everybody out of the kingdom. On the bright side, "Into the Unknown" is a ballin' track that's more lyrically interesting and edgier than "Let It Go"–it's sort of Elsa's version of being a Disney teen star trying to start a career in more mature mainstream pop music. The downside is that Frozen 2's runtime is 1 hour and 43 minutes, with a handful of convoluted sub-plots that include a weird Pocahontas send-up involving the former king and queen, the moral question of reparations for colonialism's crimes, and it turns out that Elsa and Anna are mixed race.

For context, the core demographics of Disney's princess movies are under 10 years old and barely have enough mass to hold down their theater seats. Reparations in a Disney film is a lot to throw at them.

Frozen 2 (Elsa, Anna, and Their Indigenous Mother...Obviously).

For the record, I enjoyed Frozen 2 at least 175% more than the original, probably because the complexity and nuance of a postcolonial narrative work well for a viewer who wasted a year completing an Honors Thesis in postcolonial literature with respect to Korean-Americans' cognitive dissonance with Korean history...But we try to protect our children these days, and that includes being shielded from Edward Said's Orientalism until puberty. Inevitably, children will be forced to reckon with the father of postcolonial studies, anyway: "Always there lurks the assumption that although the Western consumer belongs to a numerical minority, he is entitled either to own or to expend (or both) the majority of the world's resources. Why? Because he, unlike the Oriental, is a true human being." Holy sh*it, that's heavy for a nine-year-old! And yes, those are exactly the thematic stakes in Frozen 2.

The sequel managed to set the record for the highest-grossing film in Thanksgiving history because it's Disney's ideal woke version of colonization. The Enchanted Forest isn't just the home of the native Northuldran people (whose manner of dress and features were designed to resemble the Sámi); it's the scene of Arendelle's own Thanksgiving horror story. Long ago, Anna and Elsa's grandfather, King Runeard, made a peace offering to the Northuldran people by building an expansive dam to supposedly strengthen their rivers. In reality, he was weakening their forest so they would come to depend on Arendelle for resources (you know, like a colony). So while the Arendellians and Northuldrans are cavorting around the forest to celebrate their newfound unity, King Runeard murders the leader of the Northuldran people and sort of begins a genocide. And it's all because of a dam; as Inkoo Kang at Slate says, "Uh oh. Dams are almost always a bad sign in movies."

There's also a lot of rote talk about how "water has memory"; there's a hitherto undiscovered "fifth spirit" that unites all the other elements (thereby bridging the distance between magic and humans, because...reasons?!); and, oh yeah, Elsa and Anna's mother was actually 100% Northuldran. She saved their father's life at the Thanksgiving bloodbath and later married him, leaving behind her family and her home to join his shiny new world… That's Pocahontas. That's a straight-up riff on Disney's whitewashed, "noble savage" myth of Pocahontas.

As Edward Said wrote, "[A] white middle-class Westerner believes it his human prerogative not only to manage the nonwhite world but also to own it, just because by definition 'it' is not quite as human as 'we' are." So while Elsa and Anna are on a quest to save Arendelle from the four spirits (and also seek out the source of Elsa's powers once and for all), there's a moment when Elsa stands in the forest surrounded by the Northuldran people and vows with the full gravitas of Idina Menzel's cavernous lungs to free the forest and its people. But don't worry–it's not a White Savior moment! Because now Elsa and Anna are half-Northuldran, which makes them coded as mixed-race people (and indigenous people, at that!), so they can't be White Saviors, according to Disney. Just look at how Not White they are:

Anna Elsa in "Frozen 2"

Okay, yes, they're still among the whitest princesses to ever whitely save the day. But their heroic conviction to do "The Next Right Thing" (yes, that's a musical number) means that the heaviest gravity of the entire film centers on their mission to rectify their grandfather's betrayal—by destroying the dam. Doing so means destroying the city of Arendelle, imbuing this whole children's movie with emotional and moral anxieties over how far one is willing to go to rectify injustices of the past. South African writer Caryn Welby-Solomon acknowledges that "Elsa and Anna were not part of their grandfather's betrayal, but they are profiting off of it, and so it is up to them to right the wrongs." While the slapdash solution is too rushed to reach its full potential, she says the "'solution' is beautifully depicted, with Anna sacrificing Arendelle in order to save the forest and set the people free. It's a selfless act from the part of the oppressors that creates harmony between the two nations again."

But overall, it's just a "bizarre storyline," as Kang at Slate describes. It's mostly spooky—and plenty problematic—on multiple levels: "The idea that we should be willing to annihilate any and all current institutions (including the only home some people have known!) to correct historical atrocities sure is, uh, lofty. Framing reparations in this zero-sum way feels both simplistic and possibly counterproductive toward actual justice."

If there's a through-line to the Frozen franchise thus far, it's about discovering all the truths that are hidden by oppressive powers that be. While Elsa is sadly not a queer icon (yet), she's come a long way from the internalized shame of her father's "conceal it, don't feel it" bullsh*t and fears of being ostracized and rejected. Anna went from fighting against Elsa's restrictive lock-down of the castle (by developing terrible taste in men, but fine, she was desperate for freedom) to sacrificing the only home she's ever known for civil justice. Together, they seek to reverse the lies and revisionist history of their grandfather's generation perpetuated in order to maintain Arendelle's hegemonic control. Hell, all Olaf originally wanted was to experience summer, but the limitations of his frozen body stood in the way of his self-discovery until Elsa's magic overcame the cruel, ephemeral nature of snow…

Olaf Frozen 2

Am I taking Frozen 2 too seriously? You bet your frozen ass I am. Because, despite all its flaws, this movie goes further than most to introduce the discomfort of self-discovery to children. One of the (many) problems with Disney's classic Happily Ever After trope is the erasure of marginalized people whose communities frankly haven't seen many happy endings. For everybody, growing up is about uncovering the lost or misfit parts of yourself by sweeping back the lies and deceptions sowed by institutions of power, whether that's society at large or your own family. But for young people of color, generational oppression just compounds the silence and shame already wrapped around the whole ridiculous business of coming-of-age.

What I'm saying is: If you come from Un-Happily Ever After people, then even a children's movie addressing difficult questions about how to relate to fraught history can help prime you for the real discomfort of discovering how deeply histories of injustices have affected your community and your family. It doesn't make it easier (it's not magic, after all), but it reaffirms that you're part of a larger context and a larger story.

Anyone who's seen Frozen and who is part of the LGBTQ+ community understands why the idea that Elsa might be gay is so tantalizingly appealing.

There's never been a queer Disney princess or even an overtly queer animated Disney character, after all, and since Elsa wasn't immediately paired with a male love interest (and since "Let It Go" has a very coming-out-of-the-closet kind of feeling), it became almost inevitable that people began to speculate about her sexuality.

To the great disappointment of many, Elsa definitely won't have a gay love interest (or any love interest at all, for that matter) in the sequel. Frozen II songwriter Kristen Anderson-Lopez confirmed this when she explained, "Like the first movie, Elsa is not just defined by a romantic interest. There's so many movies that define a woman by her romantic interest. That's not a story that we wanted to tell at this point in time. What we really wanted to tell was if you have these powers, how do you grow and change and find your place in the world and find answers that haven't been found before?"

Still hasn't stopped viewers of the Frozen II trailer from falling in love with our favorite ice queen. Speculation about Elsa's queerness has thrown Twitter users into a frenzy, mostly because in the preview, we see Elsa with her hair down for the first time.

Frozen 2 | Official Trailer 2 www.youtube.com

Though Disney was given an F rating for LGBTQ+ representation by GLAAD, there's a long history of queer-coded Disney characters who have ignited speculation among the company's many gay fans and their allies.

Because of this and Disney's history of queer-baiting, having Elsa's queerness explicitly highlighted and celebrated would certainly be a victory for the gay community, and it would definitely be vitally important to all the little kids struggling to figure out their sexuality while watching the film, as well as for their families (and really, for queer people of any and all ages).

It's also possible that Elsa could be asexual or some variant of that. No matter what, Disney would be remiss to refrain from using their massive platform to create representation that honors LGBTQ+ people and their stories, which are too often kept buried within secret codes and silence.

As great as it would be for Disney to openly discuss Elsa's sexuality, none of this is to say that she must have a romantic relationship. Getting to watch her come into her own independently is extremely powerful proof that we are never defined by love affairs, by our partners, or by our sexualities.

FILM

Anna and Elsa Have PTSD in "Frozen 2" Trailer: All Our Burning Questions

Seriously, since when can you make a dress out of ICE?

Frozen (2013) marked a new age of Disney princesses and finally introduced a villain who wasn't an evil stepmother.

The second trailer for the much anticipated sequel teases a sinister side to the idyllic kingdom of Arendelle. Anna (Kristen Bell), Elsa (Idina Menzel), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), and Olaf (Joshua Gad) all embark on a new quest to save the kingdom from the "ancient, autumn-bound forest of an enchanted land." The trailer opens with the girls' memory of their father warning them about the enchanted forest. Now, as Elsa's powers continue to grow, she's struggling to resist the temptation to...murder everyone she loves?!

To be fair, that may not be the plot of Frozen 2, but both trailers so far have taken liberties to suggest dark forces are coming for Elsa. In the latest trailer, Elsa confesses that "there's this voice" calling to her...to which one of those round little troll guys tells her to follow the voice to find out who's calling to her...straight into the forbidden Enchanted Lands. First of all, clearly horror movies don't exist in the magical world of Arendelle because that is patently stupid advice. Second, psychiatrists clearly don't exist in Arendelle either, because someone hearing voices is a good reason to seek the advice of a professional. Admittedly, we can suspend our disbelief while watching a flick about a man who regularly pretends that his pet reindeer talks to him and no one calls him out on it—but then the trailer shows Elsa crossing the ocean by freezing an icy path for herself and then riding some aquatic horse creature? We call bullsh*t.

Frozen 2 arrives in theaters on November 20—which means we have less than two months to settle our burning questions about the world of Arendelle and the Frozen franchise.

Frozen 2 | Official Trailer 2 www.youtube.com

1. Will Kristoff realize that Sven doesn't f*cking talk?

2. Will Olaf ever self-actualize as more than a childhood plaything of two rich, royal white girls who played with the powers of life and death only to subject him to a terrifying existence?

3. Can Elsa take baths? Or does she freeze herself in a giant ice cube?

4. Sterling K. Brown voices Lieutenant Matthias, a defender of Arendelle the gang meets in the forest. But Why...Why is the only black character hidden away in the Enchanted Forest?

5. Does Olaf have a death wish? He's made of snow. Stop going outside: IT'S AUTUMN.

6. Have the citizens of Arendelle just forgiven Elsa for almost freezing them to death in an "eternal winter?"

7. Even if they haven't forgiven her, they don't have a choice, right? Because Arendelle is clearly a dynasty, not a democracy. Wtf?

8. When are we going to have a #SocialistDisneyPrincess?

9. Is Anna and Kristoff's relationship affected by Anna's inevitable PTSD from her ex-boyfriend trying to kill her and her sister?

10. HOW THE FLYING F*CK DID ELSA MAKE A DRESS OUT OF ICE?

TV

Is Luke P. Really a Psychopath?

On Episode 5 we saw an ostracized Luke crumble.

Luke P. making the same confused face when confronted.

ABC

For the past four weeks, it's been so easy to dislike Luke P.

He weaponized his connection with Hannah to manipulate her, lied to her and his fellow contestants, and became violent. What others may see as an outright psychopath may be a man in a stressful circumstance, unable to put his hyper-masculinity aside to forge a meaningful connection with Hannah and the other men.

While others may throw the term "psychopath" around like it's nothing, Luke's actions thus far are still concerning. Revisiting the term, a psychopath is "a person with a psychopathic personality, which manifests as amoral and antisocial behavior, lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, extreme egocentricity, failure to learn from experience, etc."

Combined with his inflated ego, Luke's behavior is definitely off-putting. His failure to make a meaningful connection with Hannah beyond their instant connection is difficult to redeem. Luke P. has constantly destabilized dates and caused drama wherever he's gone, unable to learn from experience. Throughout the most recent episode, it's apparent Luke was trying to connect with the men—but to no avail. He'd fall back on his antisocial tendencies in pursuit of the task at hand: winning the girl.

We know Hannah likes physical competition among the men. This week's group date involved Scotland's Highland Games; it was notably the most fun group date. She could not ignore the fact that Luke P. wasn't there, which contributed to the ease of the day. When Luke was finally chosen for a one-on-one date, he announced the date would finally help him know if he wanted to continue his relationship with Hannah. For the second time, Luke used the negative state of his relationship with Hannah as an opportunity to clarify what he wants, after declaring his undeniable love early on in the show. His refusal to be held accountable for his actions while threatening their relationship is a noticeable defense mechanism. When in front of Hannah for their one-on-one date, Luke shed his ultra-manly persona to appease her, pretending to be vulnerable by telling her what she'd want to hear instead of opening up to her about his emotional state.

During their confrontation, Luke put on a robotic facade which she then called out. She questioned why all the men dislike him so much. He did not fold, responding that in any other situation people "love me." Hannah did not take kindly to the reply, urging him to see how boastful he can seem and how that may turn people away. After all, she is a social woman who wants people to be drawn to her partner. Perhaps she was trying too hard to get him to open up about how difficult the situation with the men has been. All he could divulge was that it's been "hard," and he gave examples of how the men have wronged him. To Hannah, there was no emotion behind anything he said. She was so concerned that she begged producers to give her an out, to persuade her to send him home— also to no avail.

A person like Luke P. drives ratings, but the producers know when their lead has a genuine connection with a contestant. Seeing Hannah handling her frustration in real time instead of in a confessional was a necessary scene to convince her to figure out the relationship on her own. Unfortunately, Luke's prior actions were concerning enough for the producers to intervene, meanwhile, their date went in circles with no resolution. Hannah so badly wanted to send Luke P. home as easily as she had the other men who disrespected her, but she couldn't let him go just yet. It's confusing, considering what Luke P. did to Hannah. In a toxic, emotionally abusive relationship, the victim tends to feel like they're crazy or helpless. Hannah utilized their instant connection as a reason to keep him around, as a "what if" based on the past; but Luke gaslit the other men and then Hannah by coming up with scenarios that were outright lies, which led Hannah to question her judgment. Whenever he felt emotionally insecure or wanted to prove his dominance, he'd try to take up her time and hinder her ability to forge other connections. Instead of attempting to get to the root cause of Luke's behavior, Hannah approached him with too much sympathy when it came to his situation with the other men: Remember, he's been the one causing her distress to the point where she is mentally incapable of pursuing other relationships.

However, some contestants stepped up to reassure Hannah they were truly there for her. Others took up the role of protecting Hannah from Luke and attacking him for being a "pathological liar" and "psychopath." Luke P. could be a psychopath, but he also could be a victim of circumstance. Evidently, Luke wants to find love. Unfortunately, The Bachelorette is not a healthy environment for him. His arrogance and antisocial characteristics have ostracized him (rightfully so), which might've worsened the loneliness he's experienced. By isolating himself in a single-minded pursuit to win Hannah's heart, he's put her in the unfortunate and unhealthy position to rectify the relationship, even though he's been manipulating her from the start. Although Hannah did not give Luke P. a rose at the end of their one-on-one, it's obvious he'll be sticking around at least a little longer. The trying situation will test her ability to see past the bullshit and truly be an empowered woman who breaks from a draining, potentially toxic relationship. Hopefully, all will lead to a happy ending for them both, independently.