‘Frozen II’ Warms Even the Coldest Snowman

by Christian Ramos on November 21, 2019

in Print Reviews,Reviews

[Rating: Solid Rock Fist Up]

In 2013, Frozen became yet another Disney movie juggernaut. Unlike many of the companies previous films of the new millennium however, Frozen was something else. The film was able to make money back and more through merchandising, huge box office results, songs that stayed with the entire world and even, a Broadway musical. It is safe to say that this film rightfully became the pop culture animated film of the decade.

It was obvious from the start to get a sequel and herein lies Frozen II (directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee), a more mature story than the first that lets its main characters reach into their deepest souls and discover their true selves. 

Three years after the events of the first film, sisters Elsa (Idina Menzel), and Anna (Kristen Bell), along with their friends Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Olaf the snowman (Josh Gad) and Sven the reindeer live happily together in Arendelle. Elsa is accepted by all and no longer has to hide her powers. She can simply “let it go”. When Elsa hears a strange calling from the north, the gang sets off beyond the mist of an enchanted forest, that according to the trolls, might contain a clue as to why Elsa has powers. This same forest was once home to the Northuldra tribe, and the girls parents King Agnarr (Alfred Molina) and Queen Iduna (Evan Rachel Wood) used to tell the girls of the tribe betraying the troops of Arendelle, angering the spirits of the forest and sealing it from the world.

Within the forest, the group encounters soldiers of Arendelle including Lieutenant Destin Mattias (Sterling K. Brown) and Yelana (Martha Plimpton) and the Northuldra tribe who have been trapped in the forest near thirty plus years. Elsa continues to hear the calls in the forest and treks onward with Anna at her side to uncover the secrets of the forest.

One thing that surprised me about this film was how mature it is. The main theme of Frozen seemed to be don’t hide your true self and embrace yourself, but Frozen II has such deep feelings. Explore your feelings, get mad, react to things, and speak up. These are such deep fundamental lessons that audiences are going to take from this – especially since the main target audience – children are very impressionable to such films.

Even dear Olaf, the annoyingly charming sidekick everybody loves, grows up and starts to question all the bigger questions of life. He’s the voice of reason in this feature and honestly steals the show every chance he gets, even bringing a little mist to the eyes. The writers of this film seemed to sit down and really get to the heart of their characters and understand that they are deeply complex, which works here much better than the first.

Some highlights of the film are in its animation. Once more Disney animators take new challenges upon themselves to give us all the most and many moments of animation are beyond gorgeous, including during Elsa’s big first number, Into the Unknown, moments in the forest especially with the spirits and Elsa’s song in the ice caves, Show Yourself. Unfortunately, the songs in the film are not as strong as writers Robert and Kristen Anderson-Lopez’s first score. You simply can’t beat how popular “Let it Go” was, and it’s going to be hard to replicate that popularity. These songs, like the plot are more mature, and going to be a lot harder to hum to after hearing them for the umpteenth time. Kudos tho to Olaf’s song “When I’m Older” that had me laughing. They’re not bad by any means, and it most often are songs in Disney films that for me, sell the movie and make plots move along. 

Frozen II is going to be another hit for the studio and it is well deserved. It’s a very rewarding and mature film that, though not as spellbinding as its predecessor, has a bit more depth in its themes, growing up itself.

Christian Ramos is a classic film fan, having had the dream to host Turner Classic Movies for years now. He also has a large amount of Oscar trivia in his head, remembers dressing as Groucho Marx one Halloween, and cherishes the moment Julianne Moore liked his tweet.

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