Into the Unknown

Given the massive success of Disney’s Frozen, it is no surprise that a sequel would be created. Disney could have played it safe by simply giving audiences more of the same—catchy music and memorable characters that can easily be translated into merchandise. Frozen II provides that, but it also offers so much more. It is an ambitious movie, and its departure from the original is immediately apparent: the art contains colors that are more vibrant and striking, and the music has more minor melodies. The biggest difference, however, is in the story itself. The characters have matured after the events of the original movie, and even the plot is more mature, delving deeper into fantasy and mythology. All of these things help Frozen II illustrate important Gospel truths.

Some Christians may be confused by this, as the movie contains obvious pagan themes, such as magic and elemental spirits. But remember that some of the greatest Christian writers—like G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien—were deeply influenced by pagan myths and fairy tales. They believed that myths contained deeper truths that pointed to the Ultimate Truth that could only be found in Christianity. The same is true of Frozen II. Let’s explore some ways that the movie connects to what Lewis called “a myth which is also a fact:” the Gospel.

Into the Unknown
After the events of the first movie, Elsa has found happiness in the love of her sister, friends, and the kingdom of Arendelle. Yet something calls to her, something out there:

 

This call to adventure and the unknown is the cornerstone of fantasy stories: Harry Potter receiving his letter to Hogwarts, Lucy discovering Narnia through the wardrobe, and Gandalf enlisting Bilbo for an Unexpected Journey. For Elsa, it is a melody that draws her into the unknown and into the Enchanted Forest. By the end of the movie she realizes that the Enchanted Forest is where she truly belongs.

This call to the unknown is not just the stuff of fantasy and fairy tale, however. It dwells deep within every human. This sense of longing reminds us that this world (as it is) is not our home. We seek to be freed from the sin, suffering, and decay of this fallen world and to become members of God’s fulfilled Kingdom. The Greek word ekklesia, which is translated “church” in the New Testament, literally means “called out ones.” Just as God called Abram to leave his father’s house and go to the Promised Land, God has called you to leave the things of this world behind and to enter into his Kingdom.

No Mere Mortals
Elsa feels that not only is there more to life, but that there is more to herself. We already know that Elsa is more than a mere human, having magical powers that enable her to control ice. Even so, she feels that there is a greater part of her that she must discover. This can be dismissed as the cultural cliché of “finding yourself,” but Christians can understand this in a deeper sense, that we can only find our true selves in Christ: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17, ESV). Unlike Elsa, finding her true powers within herself, we become complete as we are regenerated and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. When God calls us, it is not into the unknown, but into being greater and fuller selves than we could ever imagine.

Bridge to Humanity
Elsa’s call into the unknown occurs when she inadvertently awakens the four elemental spirits of the world. She eventually discovers that there is a fifth spirit: one who serves as a bridge between the magical and natural realms. She journeys to the magical realm of Ahtohallan to find this spirit. There she learns that she is that spirit. Elsa is the bridge between magic and humans.

In Christianity, what is the bridge between God and humanity? It is Jesus, the God-man. He is our source of salvation. We are unable to reach God on our own, so Jesus bridges the chasm for us. In theological terms, Elsa can be seen as a type of Christ—a person or event that points us toward Jesus in a certain manner. The way that Elsa bridges the magical and human realms, Jesus is the bridge between God and man. He reconnects us to the Father through his death and resurrection.

Conclusion
Christians may be concerned that myths and fairy tales draw people away from Christianity, due to the pagan themes of such stories. Instead, we must recognize that all truly good stories connect to the one True Story—the Gospel—in some way. While no manmade story is perfect, we can still appreciate when one contains truth, as Frozen II does. Elsa receives a call to become a greater person than she was, and to reunite the people of Northuldra and Arendelle. In the same way, God calls us to leave the things of this world behind and to follow him. Jesus is the bridge between God and humanity, reconciling us to the Father. While Elsa was called into the unknown, God has “called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Pet. 2:9).

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