Frozen 2 is without a doubt the best animated movie sequel ever created and can even stake a claim at being one of the best movie sequels of all time. It enhances everything that made the first film good and better plays at the actors strengths when it comes not only at their writing, but also their songs. As a heads up, this review will go into MAJOR spoilers for the movie, but mostly at the very end. So if you don’t want to be spoiled, go and see it and come back to this article. If you have seen it already or don’t mind being spoiled, I will share what makes this movie so special.
Taking place three years after the end of the first movie (side note, we actually find out that this film takes place somewhere between 1820-1845-ish due to photography being introduced at the very end) and everything is going great. Anna loves being out of the castle, Olaf is getting older and discovering more about life and wisdom, and Kristoff is planning to propose to Anna. But Elsa keeps hearing voices in her head (glad I’m not the only one) and she feels compelled to find out what is calling out to her and feel like she needs to head north to a place her father and mother told her about when Anna and her were children. After Elsa accidentally releases four elemental spirits that have been dormant for the last few decades and they drive the townspeople out of Arendelle, the main four head out to find the source of the spirits and what is calling out to Elsa. It’s a more complex plot than the previous film, but it fits in with the movies central theme of growth. The movie knows its main audience has grown up, much like the characters, so it has put a story that they can also handle. It has more intricacies to it than Frozen, but it never felt too complicated.
If the first movie was written with bringing back the feeling of classic Disney songs with a hint of Broadway, this movie goes for broke on utilizing the talents of Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. All of the songs sound like they would be more akin to a large theatrical production than a movie musical. When it was first played, I assumed that Into the Unknown would be the golden child and win Best Song at the Academy Awards. But now, it could see it being a three way race between the aforementioned song, its psudeo-reprieve Show Yourself, and Kristoff’s 80’s inspired power ballad Lost in the Woods. These are my three favorite songs in the movie and it is a three way tie for first. The other songs in the film are wonderful as well. While none will be belted out as much as Let It Go, they don’t need to be to be considered amazing and are still going to be popular choices for singing in the car.
This movie is a feast for the eyes. What the first film did with making snow and ice look pretty, this movie makes leaves, tree, mountains and landscapes look jaw dropping. The musical numbers for my three favorite songs also have amazing abstract visuals that are not common in today’s family friendly film environment. This is a movie that requires to be seen in a high quality screening to be able to get the full effect. Even without it, the movie is still great to look at. But those extra few pixels can really make the movie even better to watch visually.
The funny is more prevalent in this movie than the first one. For starters, they FINALLY know how to use Josh Gad as comic relief with Olaf. He gets some of the best laughs in the entire movie rather than the groans he got from me in the first one. The film also has some funny moments with Kristoff trying to propose to Anna but either failing to read the room at if it would be appropriate or he completely blows it. It is a funny running bit the do, but it never gets old. And I cannot talk about funny without mentioning two musical numbers: When I Am Older and Lost in the Woods. When I Am Older has some amazing physical humor with Olaf being paranoid and scared about a scary section of the woods and remaining calm for the most part, coupled with the lyrics of how only getting older does everything make sense (it never does). Lost in the Woods is actually an 80’s music video inside of a Disney Animated feature and I don’t even mind. They use classic music video tropes, a pine cone hanging microphone and a chorus of singing reindeer to put on one of the finest musical segments of any Disney movie.
So full spoiler territory here: the central conflict of why these spirits are running rampant and causing an enchanted forest to be concealed in a mist is because Anna and Elsa’s grandfather built a dam as a ploy to hinder the indigenous people’s use of the magical creatures, who they had a symbiotic relationship of sort with. He did this because he wanted to conquer them and did so the first chance he got by killing their leader in cold blood, which lead to fighting, which upset the spirits. The villain of this movie is the effects of someone who has been dead for decades. There are no twist villains (I really thought it was going to be Sterling K. Brown’s character, but glad it wasn’t), no out right bad guys, none of that. Some people may not like this since most good Disney films have a central villain. But the conflict in any good story isn’t always man vs man. In this case, it is man vs self. The main conflict is Elsa dealing with who she really is and who is calling and Anna is dealing with having to loose her sister for a second time. As it turns out, there is a fifth spirit that is said to be the bridge between the spirits and humans (is this a Nickelodeon show with Ruffio?) This fifth spirit is actually Elsa and she has to accept that she cannot remain in Arendelle because she is not of that world, but of the spirits. Anna not only has to also accept this last part, but also work on destroying the damn to save the world. But doing so would also cause Arendelle to flood and be destroyed. But they make these incredibly hard choices and do them, even though they would loose each other and destroy their home. The final climax isn’t even a battle, it is Anna trying not to be crushed while coaxing rock monsters into throwing boulders at the damn to destroy it. Some people may not like the non traditional approach to a bad guy. But it is a more varied and realistic way of having conflict in the movie. Sometimes it is not always going to be an external force from keeping you from achieving something. It is more often than not the inner turmoil one goes through making difficult decision. And this movie does it better than most other movies that try this.
Is Frozen 2 a movie I would recommend to everyone? Yes! It is smart, funny, a visual and writing masterpiece with incredible songs. This is the movie I expected the first one to be after hearing everyone talk about it. It is a great example of a series growing with its audience and taking several chances. It is refreshing to see a movie geared toward families and to try and venture…sigh…into the unknown for a unique take. If you don’t have plans to see it, I would highly advise against doing that and make plans to experience it. If you want to see it, go out and see it as soon as possible.