Disney crafts a perfectly fine follow-up to its endearing 2013 hit.
All things considered, Disney is bound to have another huge hit with Frozen 2. It has some of the wonderful elements that made its predecessor one of the most iconic Disney Princess films of this generation. You have an earworm-worthy soundtrack (“Into the Unknown” is this film’s poster anthem and it undoubtedly will inspire countless memes and parodies). Olaf’s existential humor inflating over the course of an hour. And an even richer, more gorgeous visual work. Seriously, it’s incredibly detailed that you can even see the strands of stray hair on their heads and the intricacy of the patterns in their clothes.
The movie is set three years after the events of the first film. Arendelle has flourished under Queen Elsa’s rule, Kristoff and Anna are in a happy relationship, and Olaf still hasn’t melted. The Kingdom has now openly accepted Elsa’s powers, but it appears that Elsa has yet to come to terms with it herself. She’s bothered by a mysterious voice that only she can hear, calling out to her from an unknown place.
Elsa is convinced that she must follow the voice when a disaster unexpectedly strikes Arrendelle, endangering the lives of its citizens. Together with Anna (Kristen Bell), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Olaf (Josh Gad), and their trusty reindeer Sven, Elsa (Idina Menzel) embarks on a journey to the enchanted forest to find out what she must do to save her kingdom.
The plot sounds pretty straightforward, but the actual storyline is a bit hard to keep up with. Our adorable heroes encounter several subplots that are left tangled along the way. At some point, it gets confusing where the film wants to go. Is it a journey of self-discovery? Is it about cultural exploitation? Is this a love story? There’s one revelation after another. The movie had no space for all of it that the plot twist towards the end gets diluted and loses its effect.
If anything, I appreciate that the film also touched on socially relevant topics such as environmentalism, xenophobia, and even historical revisionism. These topics were presented in an easily digestible way that even the younger audience would be able to understand. Aside from kindness and true love, these are the more timely moral lessons that this generation needs to know about.
P.S. (and maybe a spoiler?): To those who are speculating that Elsa would come out as the first gay Disney Princess in this sequel, sadly that doesn’t happen. But gay or not, I appreciate that we have a strong, independent, Disney Princess who doesn’t need a love interest to define her.
I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed this better than the first Frozen, but from the reactions of the kids that watched with me in the cinema, I say this will be huge a holiday success like the first one (not to mention lots of new merch opportunities). Parents should also brace themselves to hear their kids screaming singing “Into the Unknown” even waaay after the holidays are over. We also get a hilarious parody of eighties music videos in the form of Kristoff’s “Lost in the Woods”, performed by Jonathan Groff. Olaf’s “When I Am Older” is also as amusing as the first movie’s “In Summer”.