‘Frozen 2’: How Production Design engaged Elsa’s change as the Snow Queen
Rarely design helps drive the account in activity, however when generation architect Michael Giaimo had a brainstorm for the four natural spirits of fire, earth, wind, and water in “Frozen 2,” it changed the animation and prompted a definitive change of Elsa (Idina Menzel) as the Snow Queen.
“From the very beginning, there was this idea of Elsa connecting with the elements of nature,” said Giaimo, who was assigned for his work on “Frozen 2” by the Art Directors Guild Awards. “But it was actually slow in growing, narratively, that there would be four elements and how they would be described. It wasn’t a given at the beginning that they would be exemplified by living creatures. But it all evolved. And I would say the art department played a major role in helping to develop that elemental narrative.”
It started around two years back, when Giaimo thought of creating iconography for the four components, not as far as characters however as a visual communication. Yet, he needed to put it on hold until chiefs Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck had a superior thought of how the spirits considered along with the story. At that point, a half year later, during a discourse about a shawl worn by Iduna (Evan Rachel Wood), the mother of Elsa and Anna (Kristen Bell), everything started to click. “Iduna is so connected to nature with the Northuldra tribe of the Enchanted Forest,” Giaimo included.
“I said to the directors that designing a symbol of the elements could be used on that shawl and could somehow be leveraged later on. The directors were open to it. That’s when we designed the four diamond shapes and the other symbols on that shawl. Because of this design on the shawl, we created the diamond as a framing device. And from there, with our art department, we put it on the monoliths when you enter the Enchanted Forest, and they became the shards of ice that fall on Arendelle at the end of ‘Into the Unknown.’”
The images in the end helped shape the spirits of nature, especially Bruni, the lizard/fire soul, which has precious stones on his back. “This was such a thrill for our art department,” Giaimo said. “We often don’t have an opportunity to lead a bit of the narrative theme. Our job is to take the narrative and support it the best we can. Here, we actually came up with a couple of ideas that inspired Jen to further create characters for these elements. She not only plussed it, she made it resonate as something much bigger than our initial graphic thought.”
This diamond iconography reached out to the shading tones for the spirits, which ran from blue to purple, and finished with the formation of Ahtohallan (the antiquated stream that holds the responses to the past), where Elsa turns out to be completely changed into the Snow Queen. The art division made Ahtohallan as a glorious, ethereal ice sheet included a few chambers, throwing precious stone shapes, which refracted the light, and uncovering Elsa’s recollections and encounters as holographic pictures.
“The directors liked the idea that the diamonds follow her into the chambers and that she orchestrates the four large diamonds on the ice floor into forming her new look as the Snow Queen,” said Giaimo. “And, in her physical transformation, we knew right away that her final dress would be white.” That’s in such a case that people consolidate every one of the shades of a rainbow, they structure white light.
“And, with each of the four large diamonds, smaller ones rise up and form, in an organized fashion, the diamond patterns on that dress,” Giaimo proceeded. “If you look more closely, the dress fabric contains diamond shapes and symbols of the four elemental spirits. But it’s not about the dress, it’s about her connection with these four elements. We found a visual way to show that she is now one with those four elements.”
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