Review: Frozen 2

So I’m starting to get a little behind on writing my reviews and realize that around this time last year my wife and I were going to see roughly 3 movies every week (gotta go see those award nom nom noms). But also, this time last year I wasn’t writing my blog yet. So come January I decided to start fresh and just skip writing for those ~15 December movies I had recently seen…a smart decision, by the way, because I have so few minutes to spare for writing recently. That being said, I’m not seeing quite as many movies this year (or as quickly) but I will continue to do my best to get reviews out in a mostly-worthwhile manner. And this post covers the newest Disney animated princess film, Frozen 2. I enjoyed this movie a little less than I enjoyed the first one, for reasons which I will get into. Frozen was a smash success (much of the credit going to “Let It Go”), but it simply deserved a better sequel. Still go see the movie with the fam over the holidays, but don’t be surprised when the kids (and some adults) leave the theatre with puzzled looks on their faces.
Directing team Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee are back to continue the journey of princess-sisters Anna and Elsa, except this time Arendelle borders an enchanted forest and Elsa is hearing voices…? All the lovable side characters are back too, including Olaf the ignorant snowman, Kristoff the ventriloquist, and Pascal the murderous chamele…oh wait, that’s Tangled. Nevermind. When Elsa and Anna discover that their parents didn’t just die at sea, but on a quest to discover the reason for Elsa’s magical ice powers, travel with the group over a river and through some woods to learn the secrets of the past that are causing power outages and earthquakes in the present. New friends are made, new relatives are discovered, and a completely new storyline is created to help guide you through viewing this beautifully crafted animated feature about doing the right thing without a single song you can sing the lyrics to after leaving.
Frozen, though not as good as Tangled (fight me), was a good movie. It threw most of the old Disney princess formula out the window and focused instead on two sisters and their love for each other. Was it a little quirky? Yes. Was it annoying to hear everyone singing Let It Go for endless weeks? No, I sang it many times (still do). It resonated with all ages because it was a mostly memorable film with characters that had purpose and SINGABLE MUSIC, reminding us of the 90’s renaissance but with new style. Frozen 2 did not do any of that. So why did I still sorta like it? Maybe I enjoy just complicated films…even if they aren’t supposed to be complicated. Also, there were still plenty of funny moments and endearing moments and the music was very powerful and good, just not really karaoke material. And as I’m sitting here writing I am actually liking the movie a little bit less. I’ll make sure to see it again just to be clear, but for as simple a story as Frozen had, I think this film takes the complete opposite approach by throwing in so much lore that I was too busy tying a red string around all the tacks to give the entirety of the film my undivided attention.
I don’t even know where to start with plot holes. 1) There is an enchanted forest shrouded in mist for decades that goes unmentioned in the first film and apparently nobody in Arendelle knows about. 2) Does nobody care that several of their family members have been missing for years? 3) The town of Arendelle was full of white people in 2013 (Scandinavia, sure), but now has several other races living in and around the town (I attribute the colorful addition to the backlash Disney received after Frozen was released). 4) Kristoff is seemingly out of a job with summer being restored and no snow in sight, but he is still able to purchase a wedding ring for Anna. 5) Even though a dam was built against the will of an entire tribe, nobody tried to take it down. Okay, that’s enough I don’t want to spoil movie things. But you get the point. The boiled-down version of the plot had some potential, but played out there were lots of questions I had and that seemed very out of place considering the simple plot of it’s predecessor.
Each of the main characters get their moments in the film. Elsa’s powers don’t help her build any ice castles in this one, but they do help her to do some pretty amazing things nonetheless. And her quest to discover what her parents were searching for puts her in peril this time instead of Anna, leaving Anna and the others to save the day. Anna steps up to be the brave and resolute princess in her moment to shine and her relationships with both her sister and with Kristoff make adequate progress in the film. Olaf has another comical song but I think is undercut as “the cute one” by a blue fire lizard (a.k.a. Pascal). The elements living in the enchanted forest provide some great animation scenes but are ultimately the most convoluted part of the film. They have been around for many years but coincidentally just decided to lash out after Elsa gained control of her powers and can work to bring harmony back to the elements. I didn’t like Kristoff’s side-quest to propose to Anna because it put both of them completely out of character. He started making rash and dumb decisions which was not like him at all in the first movie, and she started second-guessing everything which wasn’t like her character either. Otherwise, as strange as his ventriloquy is with Sven the reindeer, it does bring a few laughs. There are also a few new characters they meet in the enchanted forest that help to shed light on the past and what happened but ultimately aren’t given a lot of detail and don’t matter a whole lot to the film.
The story element is just a little too complex for a kid, but they will still enjoy the characters they fell in love with last time…if they’re like 9 or older. I still think Frozen has more of the “re-watchability factor” because of the music and simplicity of it all, but I also wouldn’t completely count out Frozen 2. If the kids enjoy it, keep those stockings up through January and slip it in there as a late Santa gift. Then while you’re at it, go ahead and slip some Bailey’s in your own stocking 😉 Thanks for reading, and keep a lookout for more reviews coming soon. Cheers!

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