Frozen II is the sequel to the international phenomenon that was 2013’s Frozen. Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee from a screenplay by Lee, Frozen II tells a story that brings back all our favorite characters from the first. Idina Menzel returns as Elsa, Kristen Bell as Anna, Josh Gad as Olaf, Jonathan Groff as Kristoff, and newcomers Sterling K. Brown as Lieutenant Mattias and Martha Plimpton as Yelana. The first theatrically released Disney princess sequel in years, let’s head into the unknown and discuss the beautiful nature of Frozen II!
First of all, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the animation in this film is absolutely breathtaking. The sprawling landscapes and detail applied to the world is unbelievable, especially anything involved with the enchanted forest. All of the details, down to the cracks in the rocks and the wind blowing through the trees is mesmerizing. The animation applied to the characters is something to behold as well. Specifically, all of the character’s eyes are so striking and deep that you feel truly connected with them. Walt Disney Animation deserves huge accolades for the look of this film, as they’ve truly created another world for the audience to step in to.
Let’s talk characters. Did they successfully capture the same lightning in a bottle with these loveable characters? It brings me great joy to say that, yes they did. In spades. The protagonist of the film is Elsa, as with the first, and her story goes in directions that are unexpected, but right. Where she begins the film and where she ends the film are very very different, but the journey to get there is beautiful, compelling, and deserved. The film absolutely gives Elsa justice. Furthering on, her sister Anna does a great amount of maturing from the first film and we see her gain a sense of independence. She began the first Frozen independent but needing others to help her. In this film, she learns how to stand on her own in another great character arc.
The film mainly focuses on the two of them, but also gives a good amount of screentime to the other favorites from the first film: Kristoff and Olaf. Kristoff has matured from the first film as well and is more heroic and brave. He’s also quite funny too, but most of the comedy stems from that lovable snowman Olaf. Josh Gad is once again a scene stealer as Olaf and nearly everyone of his jokes lands. The scene where they first arrive in the enchanted forest is a huge standout for him. You’ll know it when you see it.
It wouldn’t be a Frozen sequel without an abundance of musical numbers. Do they stack up to power of 2013’s songs? ‘Let it Go’ took over the world and was unavoidable for a year after release and is regarded as a Disney classic at this point. Well, we’ve got a new ‘Let it Go’ everyone. Elsa’s number, ‘Into the Unknown’ is a powerhouse song that will stay stuck in your head for days on end. It doesn’t hurt that a vocal run from the song is basically the films main musical theme. Other stand out songs include Elsa’s other climactic song ‘Show Yourself’, which nearly brought me to tears, and Kristoff’s song, ‘Lost in the Woods’, which is catchy, but ultimately sold because of the scene it comes from. Myself and the rest of my theater audience was howling with laughter during his song. Again, you’ll know it when you see it.
The biggest strength of Frozen II is the fact that it isn’t really a Disney Princess film, it’s almost a fantasy epic. It’s more about discovering where you come from and who you truly are than the typical princess tropes. Sure, there is a love story subplot, but instead the film chooses to really dive into the mythos of the world of Arendelle and it’s thought provoking past. Also, it makes the interesting choice to age with its original audience and tell a story that will resonant with them. Not to say this is a film for adults, it isn’t, but it chooses to go with themes and story directions that are more relevant to the age range of the original audience, rather than a younger crowd. As mentioned before, the theme of maturation and self discovery is prevalent throughout the film, and a themes like that may go over the head of a younger viewer. However, for someone that adores the original Frozen, I found this to be a wonderful choice that allows the audience to grow with the characters and vice versa.
My only small issues with the film are all in the first act. The film starts out at a lightening fast pace and by the time the characters embark on their quest, you feel like you need a breather. The story is a little clunky in the beginning, due to the fact that there’s a lot of mythos to develop, but it all ultimately pays off in the end. There’s a lot of story and information to give, so the film had to start quickly and slow down when it can. Once the second act begins, you really get to settle into the breathtaking world you’ve entered.
Frozen II is a wonderfully made fantasy epic that functions as both a princess sequel and a journey of self discovery. The beginning may be a little clunky, but once it starts going it really goes and leads to a highly satisfying conclusion. The music is catchy and powerful, the visuals are stunning, and the characters are compelling. What more can you ask for? Disney has successfully tapped into the same DNA that composed the original Frozen and created a film that will resonate with younger and older audiences alike. Do yourself a favor and venture ‘Into the Unknown’ with Frozen II.
What did you think of Frozen II?
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