Frozen II Is at the Theaters, and Soon Dubbed in Sámi

Today is the premier for the animated sequel Frozen II here in the U.S. Unlike most Di$ney princess movies*, I will be seeing this one during its theatrical release for a particular reason.

In the story, Anna and Elsa et al. travel to the north and meet a people resembling the Sámi. For their research and inspiration, the Walt Disney Animation Studios not only talked with Sámi people but actually signed an agreement with the Sámi to do it in a respectful, collaborative way.

The Sámi are the only indigenous people within the European Union area. They currently live in the northern reaches of Norway, Sweden, and Finland, and the Kola Peninsula in northwestern Russia.

Disney even invited some members of the Sámi Parliaments to U.S. to see the movie at the world premier, meet some of the makers, and tour the animation studio.

Yle Siv Eli Vuolab Samediggi Frozen II World Premiere

The most exciting part for my linguist brain is that the studio will record and release a version dubbed in Northern Sámi, the largest of the Sámi languages. The voice actors are drawn mainly from Sweden and Norway, among them the acclaimed Sámi musician Mari Boine, but also one Finn. (Yay!)

Yle Frozen II Screencap Northern Herders

While it’s true they aren’t very numerous these days (partly thanks to racial, linguistic, and cultural discrimination), the Sámi do exist and do have a living culture. (Just check out the music scene for one incredibly vibrant aspect—yoik comes almost in all styles now!) I grew up two hours south of the Arctic Circle, and the Sámi were my classmates, neighbors, and teachers. For me it’s delightful that Disney took the time to research, listen, and respectfully pay homage to people I grew up with.

Undoubtedly I will also enjoy scenery that reminds me of trips to Lapland even if the first reports say the northern mountains look too young and rugged to be based on the fells on the Finnish side of the border. 🙂

Yle Frozen II Screencap Valley View

*) The only other exception is Moana, which was also produced in cooperation with indigenous peoples.

Images: Per-Olof Nutti, Aili Keskitalo, Åsa Larsson Blind, and Tiina Sanila-Aikio with their daughters at the world premier of Frozen II by Siv Eli Vuolab / Sámediggi via Yle. Three members of the northern herder tribe from Frozen II via Yle. View overlooking a northern valley from Frozen II via Yle.

In Live and Active Cultures we talk about cultures and cultural differences.


8 thoughts on “Frozen II Is at the Theaters, and Soon Dubbed in Sámi

  1. Stiina November 25, 2019 / 05:10

    Thank you for posting this! I’m sharing on my page. I love the Sami culture.


    • Eppu November 25, 2019 / 08:33

      You’re welcome, Stiina. 🙂


  2. The Cheesesellers Wife November 25, 2019 / 13:54

    I’m realy pleased that Disney has done this. However, does that mean that I have to go to see Frozen??? Eeek. I avoid girly films. I only watched Moana (now a firm favourite) because my adult sons bought it for me as an example of a feminist amimation (no love interest, yay!).



    • Eppu November 26, 2019 / 11:53

      We saw it yesterday. As I recall, it’s better than Frozen I but not as good as Moana. (LOVE Moana!)

      There definitely were shots and scenes that were incredibly beautiful, so if you care about that kind of thing, maybe see it in a theater. I wasn’t bothered by the obligatory straight romance sub-plot in this one, because it wasn’t given too much space and because it was already established. I have to say to me some of the songs felt more shoehorned in than fluently occurring parts of the story / genre.

      On the other hand, it was great that the most important relationship continues to be between the two sisters. I also liked that there really wasn’t an antagonist per se; the main tension came from dealing with a terrible mistake in the past.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Eppu November 26, 2019 / 11:57

        Oh, and the really funny thing is that the bit of scenery that I responded to most strongly was the rocks. Not the mountains or the trees or the rest of the flora–although they were partly successful, there were some (presumably) stylistic choices I just couldn’t figure out. But the rocks! They look exactly like the Finnish rocks I grew up with!


Comments are closed.