*Potential Spoilers ahead*
Well folks, it has arrived! The film I’ve been waiting 6 agonizing years for is finally here. I can’t fully put into words how full my heart is in this moment. This review shall be my absolute best attempt in doing so.
The dynamic duo that is Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck are back and here to party. Frozen was very surface level, and while it provoked emotion to a point, it wasn’t very deep. With Frozen 2, they leap out of the safety zone and fully embrace the changes and growth of their characters and even their audience. The comedy is on point. I don’t know the last time I belly laughed at a kid’s movie. It was probably last week, but nonetheless, my theater full of fellow adults were all cackling. It’s apparent on the screen that the course of the film went through several transformations, which is normal for wildly successful animations. However, there was a ton to unpack and live up to. I give them full praise for delivering a terrific sequel; something that can be very tricky to do.
Six years after the events of Frozen, Queen Elsa is suddenly being haunted by a voice only she can hear. With strong determination to find the source, she sets out to find it. With Princess Anna by her side along with Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven, they embark on a new found adventure.
The first act seemed pretty quick, the second was the bulk of the runtime, and then the third wrapped up in what felt like a few minutes. Take away all the songs and the whimsical animation and you’re left with an aggressively subpar storyline. Almost everything relied strictly on convenience. There are even a handful of times the characters come to realizations that are a “twist” but should be painfully obvious to what is happening in front of them. Some of it smacking them so hard in the face that I actually began to question the writers’ faith in their own characters. Even with these issues, it’s still an exciting journey.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
The last movie focused more on Anna, but Elsa finally gets her spotlight. She gradually allows herself to embrace all that she is and accept her truth that serves as some killer development. With the return of our iconic cast, we welcome many new voices including Evan Rachel Wood as the girls’ mother Iduna, Sterling K. Brown as Arandelle’s Lt. Matthias, and my girl Martha Plimpton as Yelana, leader of the Northuldran tribe. Olaf has some really great development as well. He’s also growing up and learning to deal with more things every day, much like the younger viewers.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Returning composer Christophe Beck brings us an even more epic score that I knew was going to be amazing just from the trailer.
As for the soundtrack, I’m so enamored of what Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez were able to craft for us. Frozen has some really catchy numbers that appeal to the masses, but Frozen 2 is a true musical. Every song knocks it out of the park while carrying the story. There are musical themes, motifs, and even call backs to songs from the original film. Kristoff finally gets redemption from the reindeer song with “Lost In The Woods,” a tribute to 80s arena rock videos. Cheesy, dramatic, and a genius comedic relief for adults. Also, sorry “Let It Go,” but there’s a new sheriff in town and her name is “Into The Unknown.” The plot point of the siren call to Elsa eventually becomes a voice alongside Elsa’s, making it a lovely duet and also my new favorite song.
The animation alone makes this sequel a far more superior film than the first. I’ll be able to watch this film for years to come despite my quips with the story because the visuals are so entrancing. Elsa’s magic is hands down the prettiest stuff I’ve ever seen on a screen. I am still in a state of awe just thinking about it. I’d also like to mention it was refreshing to see these characters in something other than snow! The contrast between the two films’ palettes is stunning to say the least. The setting is mostly the forest outside of Arandelle. The warm autumn tones made for a very cozy experience all around. The new wardrobes look better than ever, and I can only imagine which ones will become new Halloween costume staples.
To say it’s better than the first film is easy because there are so many elements that were mastered in the last six years. While it isn’t completely seamless, it’s still an effective second half to an incredible two part tale. It tackles more complex themes like growing up, grief, community, and doing the right thing while maintaining an all around upbeat experience. I really do think it’s a film for the whole family to enjoy over and over again. Let’s just hope the big bosses let this story rest and don’t pull a Toy Story charade on us. Also, be sure to stay until the end for the list of the production babies and maybe a really fun after credit scene!