‘Frozen 2’ // Film Review: A Solid, Long-Awaited Sequel from Disney

We’ve all been waiting for Frozen 2 to come out after the original was released six years ago. There’s this sense that the anticipation of a Disney sequel, that’s not made for the straight-to-DVD route, is at a high for young children when they see some of their favorite characters back for what could be a fascinating new adventure to remember. But knowing that this is solely made for kids, it will surely be a ton of fun for them, that might goes the same with adults too.

What’s the Story: Queen Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) starts to hear a strange, haunting siren sound from the north, and she doesn’t know why it wants her. In keeping Arendelle out of danger after spirits have awakened from an enchanted forest, she along with her sister Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell), Kristoff (voiced by Jonathan Groff), Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad), and Sven embark on a journey outside the town to discover how Elsa gained her magical ice powers and save their kingdom.

Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, and Jonathan Groff in Frozen II (2019)

People have jumped on the bandwagon and say the first Frozen isn’t anything special and dared to say the o-v-e-r-r-a-t-e-d word. Luckily, I’ve never been one of those people. That’s right, I love Frozen, and it was one of the best movies to come out of 2013. You heard that correctly. Not only did it surprise everybody when it became this huge phenomenon for Disney, but it made over a billion dollars worldwide, earned its two Oscar wins (Best Animated Feature and Original Song), and has the right to be named a classic from the company. The closest we’ve gotten to a follow-up were a couple of shorts, and nobody wants to remember that 21-minute short shown before Coco (Thought it was fine, but unnecessary to be shown in theaters). Turns out I didn’t become a bitter person that disliked it years later.

So, it was inevitable that fans have been wanting a sequel for a long time. Now that the long-awaited sequel has finally come out before the end of the year, does it even come close to being more fantastic than the original? Some might feel that surpassed the original, but for me, Frozen 2 ends up being satisfying Disney sequel, even though it isn’t great.

The animation has to be talked about first since there’s so much to praise about. Visually speaking, nearly every scene is eye-popping with gorgeous animation that I can’t believe these animators took the time to render and make it look good enough to be real. My mind was blown away by how breathtaking it looked, especially when it takes place outside and exploring the woods and the leaves feeling like it was tailor-made for be watched in the fall. There’s a sequence that was shown in the teaser where Elsa is trying to get across the sea, and I couldn’t take my eyes off the water and how real it looks. This might be a hot take, but it improves over the first film.

The returning voice talented hasn’t lost their touch with lending their voices to these now well-established characters with a good amount of screentime for each of them. Bell and Menzel work well together as Anna and Elsa, and Groff as Kristoff gets a bit more to do in here. Those who wished for more Elsa in this will be pleased. A few new voices added to the film like Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Martha Plimpton, and Jason Ritter were good additions.

One of the better improvements that this has over the other is that the relationship between Elsa and Anna was the standout. We already know that their sisterly bond was distant due to Elsa’s powers and shutting out Anna throughout most of their lives, but as they go along on the adventure together, I just loved that Anna just wants to keep her out of danger by wanting to stay by her side. I did enjoy that aspect the most in here. We have to be attached to the bond is these sisters, or else it the rest of the film wouldn’t work.

Some people might get annoyed with Olaf this time around and how the character is, but not me. Being worried about him was in the back of my mind because when an animated character like the lovable snowman gets a lot of funny moments from before, its welcome can be worn out. A few scenes felt that way, yet he still made me laugh and steals every scene he’s in. Hearing that those can’t stand him just knows they don’t have a sense of humor. A lot of the kids that were in my showing were laughing at all the moments with him. Gad killed it once again.

Kristen Bell and Josh Gad in Frozen II (2019)

The times where it meant to be funny caught me off guard, and I, along with others in my audience, was laughing at the same parts, most of them came from Olaf. Its jokes were probably on-par with the first movie.

Since this is also a musical, of course, are the new songs written for this better than the ones from before or something that could be the next “Let It Go?” They are good, but just like the music from Mary Poppins Returns, there isn’t anything too memorable that will be stuck in my head after leaving the theater. There was no way of matching anything like the popular Oscar-winning tune in terms of wonder and amazement. Not to say any of them were bad, but still did their job at sounding great and catchy, all done by returning writers Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. Out of all of them, my favorite would easily go to “Into the Unknown,” performed by Menzel and later by Panic! At the Disco on the soundtrack. Heard a lot about it saying it’s the best and it didn’t disappoint.

There isn’t one that was particularly weak. I originally thought about Kristoff’s song “Lost in the Woods” being one of them, but I came around on it after listening to it again. The entire sequence in the film made me laugh. At least those who are fans of Groff are glad to know he gets a full song to sing. I didn’t even listen to the soundtrack before walking in so I could be in awe when a song sounds good.

Side note: I wasn’t one of those who became sick over “Let It Go” because I didn’t hear it a lot of the radio when it became popular or used the term “earworm.” Plus, it’s a fantastic song, so sue me for like good music.

Probably the sole reason why Frozen 2 couldn’t reach the level of greatness like its predecessor is that there’s something about the story that wasn’t as interesting as I thought. The darker tone didn’t bother me since I figured that was what director Chris Buck and co-director and writer Jennifer Lee were going for, but it wasn’t able to reach that emotionality or surprising elements that some were expecting. One of the things that some hope to be explored was how Elsa gained her powers or what happened to their parents, and we do get those answers. Other than that, there’s this sort subplot about Kristoff wanting to purpose to Anna and keeps messing things up that was clever at first but became a little stale after a while.

As soon as it over, it actually kind of surprised me that we were already in the third act without even knowing. Props for not making it boring, but I felt like I needed a much bigger build-up to it. This was strange because it was leaning on the track of becoming fairly good, and then it kind of went away when I was like, “Oh, that’s it?”

Are there any Oscar chances for the film? It’s a sure shot that it’ll get nominated for Best Animated Feature, and there’s a chance that “Into the Unknown” might land a Best Original Song nomination, as well. But the real question is that is the front runner to win? If you asked me two months ago, I would’ve said yes. However, there’s no way that it’s going to be Toy Story 4 since I feel that provides more emotional moments and a better story.

In the end, Frozen 2, while not amazing, is a good enough sequel for the family, along with those who liked the original. The story could’ve done some improvements to make it fresher, but everything else from the breathtaking animation, humor, and some solid new music is good enough to check out. Personally, I still believe the first one is better in terms of remembrance and being more fun, probably in that small group that feels that way, but if your children are obsessed with this franchise, then go out of your way to being entertained.

Grade: B

 

5 comments

  1. The songs weren’t as memorable, I agree. But once I came home I listened to them again and they’re just so deep and meaningful. Into the Unknown and Show Yourself are definitely my favorites at the moment. Kristoff’s ballad isn’t too far behind either lol 😀

    Like

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