In 2013, the world felt a dip in temperature as Frozen — Disney’s then-latest 3D animated Feature, took the entire globe in an icy never-ending blizzard of good praises, songs that would be played everywhere, and viral videos of people singing or lipsyncing to Let It Go. Six years later, with an additional animated special and a full-on Broadway play in tow, Frozen has not slowed down in popularity. So, while we expected it, I was quite skeptical about a sequel for one of the beloved Disney title of this decade. And if you’ve ever seen part 2’s of popular Disney titles (Aladdin 2, Lion King 2, etc) you know there’s a good reason why they went straight-to-video.
Frozen 2 follows shortly after the events of the first film and the animated special (Olaf’s Frozen Adventure). Arendelle enjoys blissful weather and everything seems perfectly fine – at least on the surface. The whole kingdom is preparing for a fall season marred with changes (“Some Things Never Change”), something Olaf (Josh Gad) isn’t particularly fond of. And while Kristoff and trusty reindeer Sven (Jonathan Groff) plot to ask Anna’s (Kristen Bell) hand in marriage, Elsa (Edina Menzel) starts hearing strange ethereal voices night after night urging here to seek out something—or someone out in the distant (“Into the Unknown”). This prompts her to awaken ancient elemental spirits that will reveal another truth in the family’s somewhat complicated history as well as place the entire Kingdom in possible mortal peril.
While not anymore the breakout spectacle that it once was, Frozen 2 manages to keep audiences glued (or frozen) to their seats with a better paced musical extravaganza. Following the first film, music is everything to Frozen 2 but it had less radio-friendly billboard-topping songs than its predecessor (i.e. none from Frozen 2 can topple down “Let It Go”, “For the First Time in Forever”, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” and “Love is an Open Door”). However, musically each song weaves in to the next much more seamlessly. Certain score styles can be heard in one of the main songs of the film and lyrically they flow much like a stage play now than it did the first time.
In fact, if anything, directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee plus songwriter duo Robert and Kristen-Anderson Lopez doubles down on Frozen’s stage musical experience with bigger locales, more stylistic songs, and larger-than-life musical production (you feel this a lot during “Into the Unknown’s” sequence). And sure, while “Into the Unknown” is no “Let It Go”, the song was able to weave itself in and throughout the film.
As a Broadway junkie, I loved every minute of it!
And if you’re of a certain age, you’ll appreciate this film so much more as well. Themes and even dialogues are quite more mature than the first Frozen and with good reason. The kids who enjoyed themselves so much with the first movie are 6 years older now than they were before. What makes Frozen 2 shine is that the big-ticket solo songs aren’t just delegated to the two main leads (Elsa and Anna); everyone had the opportunity to shine. Both Olaf’s and Kristoff’s solo song performances are hilariously memorable. I will not spoil the moment for you but get ready for some 90’s feels.
Plot-wise, I was surprised with how the movie flowed – particularly because Frozen 2 does not have a clear villain. There are no evil princes acting all goodie-two-shoes and backstabbing you later, nor are there invading forces trying to overthrow your kingdom. Frozen 2 is all about finding your truth and moving forward into unknown territories. That’s pretty much it. And while on paper that sounds rather thin, the movie was able to create this beautiful narrative of self-discovery by using environmental scenarios rather than exposition to arrive at varying conclusions.
Animation shines brightly in Frozen 2. Six years after the first film, Frozen 2 has advanced in technical capabilities rendering life-like effects like water, wind, fire, earth, heart. HEART? Okay, hear me out. Character reactions are spot-on amazing that even though you’re watching an animated feature, each character can clearly portray what they feel via a multitude of micro expressions. Even when Idina or Kristen Bell would break their voices because their characters need to cry midway through a song, the animators were able to perfectly convey those.
At the end of the day, Frozen 2’s main enemy is itself. How does one live up and push past a hit success animated movie that has garnered so many awards? The answer: You don’t. But you push through and do it anyway. This is uncharted territory, this is going into the unknown. And guys and gals, you’re going to love it here.
Frozen 2 opens nationwide today, November 20, 2019. Check your local cinema for listings.