“Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2” gives insight to movie production viewers have never considered while creating surprisingly deep connections with the artists behind the film.
The documentary shows behind-the-scenes action during the final 12 months of production it took to make "Frozen 2." Each episode mostly follows lead directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck as they communicate with the hundreds of artists, actors and designers.
The series starts with an episode titled “A Year to Premiere, at the 12-month mark until the worldwide debut of 'Frozen 2.'” The pristine animation made for the song "Into the Unknown" is heavily discussed in this episode, such as the interesting tactics used to formulate the movements of the characters.
In just the first episode, viewers see animators filming themselves doing the actions and facial expressions they want the characters to emulate in order to reference the most realistic and emotional depictions. This episode shows just how far the animators had yet to go by showing the live-orchestral recording of "Into the Unknown," played alongside the final draft of the scene in the film.
In real-time at this point in production, only storyboard drawings had been completed of this emotional scene. “A Year to Premiere” ends with animation supervisor Wayne Unten showing viewers framed letters from fans they have kept. One in particular tugs at the heartstrings by one fan explaining how “Let it Go," the critically acclaimed anthem of 2013’s “Frozen," “literally saved her life."
Episode two, “Back to the Drawing Board” has a much lighter tone as the song “Lost in the Woods” is the main topic of discussion. This was the first song the character Kristoff, played by Jonathan Groff, sang in the “Frozen” series, as such, husband and wife songwriters Kristen and Robert Lopez wanted to give this song a 1980’s rock-gospel spin.
Lee, Buck and the Lopez’s all liked the idea of having Groff's first solo song contain nods to multiple classic rock bands. Elements from the music videos and songs of “Queen” and “Backstreet Boys” were used to inspire “Lost in the Woods," making it one of the most feel-good songs in the movie.
The most prominent recurring problem everyone who worked on this film faced was that of the song “Show Yourself." This song went through hundreds, if not thousands, of changes before the final version seen in the film. At multiple points throughout “Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2," no one is sure if this song will even make it into the movie. Confusion on what the song says about the characters and plot exists in both the creators and test audiences who heard the song. It is not until episode four, “Big Changes," where a final test audience screening determines whether the song is included in “Frozen 2."
“Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2” shows how the panic of finishing a movie within one year is able to turn into the highest grossing animated film of all time. Showing the artists who worked on specific frames and songs from the movie helped audiences connect with not only their work, but with the artists themselves.