Before the release of this new Frozen film, I didn't listen to any of the singles, and I didn't read any news. I wanted to be as surprised as I could be during the film, and I wanted to feel the full impact of the themes. I knew this film would be trying something new, and I was pretty darn excited.
Frozen II (2019) brings the audience back to Arendelle, where the sisters Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) are closer than before and ruling as queen and princess. The film also returns to some themes explored in the previous film and doubles down on them- like family/sisterhood and identity. It's about Anna and Elsa trying to save their home and also find their truth and themselves.
The film brings back the beloved characters from the first film- Sven, Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), and Olaf (Josh Gad)- and tries to expand on their personalities. Olaf is the 'young child' of the group. He is learning his way through life, its dangers, and new feelings he doesn't understand. He is meant to be the bridge for children to understand that "things may be scary and changing now, but it'll all be clear when you grow up." Kristoff is fully invested in his relationship with Anna, and he still shows a healthy relationship for the character, but that seems to be his entire story arc throughout the film. Sven is still the wisest and cutest reindeer of them all.
Everyone in this film seems to be on separate journeys, so with that, the film skips around a lot. I was tossed by the pace of the film, because some scenes last too long while others feel far too short.
The design and animation of this film is some of Disney's best work. Every blush, every facial expression, and every fallen leaf is carefully created to fill the story with so much life and vibrancy. The color palette expanded this film from just icy blues to purples, pinks, and a burst of Autumn throughout. The details and expansion of Elsa's powers (visually and story-wise) were marvelous, and there's no doubt Elsa was my favorite part of this entire story. There is more exploration of Arendelle and its history and landscape. The story is brought to life in so many ways; it's a visual treat for adults and children alike- without ever feeling like sensory overload, which I believe, is a feat within itself.
Some of the songs of this film are not as catchy as the first, in my opinion. Back to what I said about not listening to the singles before the film, this was my first time hearing any of the songs, and I knew they would work much better in the movie itself. Olaf's song in Frozen (2013) is better than his new song in this film. The film also seems to stop midway to give a character their own music video- which under the weight of the film, I do not believe was necessary at all. Into the Unknown, though- that song and scene was chef's kiss. I first heard it in the film, and it completely fits with the moment. Elsa's songs like Into the Unknown and Show Yourself are like stepping stones placed after Let it Go. Every time Elsa gets a solo, she is more sure of herself and more comfortable in her own skin. They really fleshed-out her character and her journey this film. In hindsight, Frozen was just the first step to Elsa's realization and identity, and this film creatively rounds out that part of the story as well as Anna's story.
Returning back to the story and its themes, this film could have been one of Disney's strongest films had it decided to take more risks and strayed a bit more from its usual formula. This film solidifies Elsa and Anna's relationship, and if you know me, you know their story of sisterhood is the pinnacle, the heart, and the soul of this entire franchise. You can tell there was a lot of care, emotion, and detail placed into their character arcs, and I believe they ended in ways that showcase the remarkable personalities of each character. Disney decided to emphasize and show the strength of both sisters to make them both heroes of this story, and I believe that was the best decision.
This film also explores Arendelle's history, as well as Anna and Elsa's family history. Disney wanted to highlight family, truth, colonialism, sisterhood, grief, self-love, purpose, and so many other themes in this film, and it does so, but some of the themes weren't explored as thoroughly and effectively as others. There are moments when the story is exploring these themes in genuine and beautiful ways, and the story feels like it's rounding out perfectly, but then it cuts to a different scene with no warning, and it completely shifts gears, taking you out of the moment. From Point A to Point B, I think there were too many moments taken away from the grander story that it felt incomplete.
This film presents healthy relationships and love in ways that many other Disney animations have not explored. SO although I did have a few moments that I felt disappointed, overall I believe this film does the two titular characters justice, it makes creative attempts at exploring themes for children and adults, and it expands the world of the first film in a sublime way that amplifies the illustrations and emotional themes set in place by its predecessor. I don't believe adults should be worried about children watching themes of grief, colonialization, and loss. These themes have always been explored in children's literature, and when done properly and magically, they can leave lasting impacts on children. This film does that, even when the story feels all over the place sometimes.
Jacindable Rating: ★★★½
starring, Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Martha Plimpton, Jason Ritter, Rachel Matthews, Jeremy Sisto, and more
written and directed by, Jennifer Lee, Allison Schroeder, and Chris Buck
My name is Jacinda, and I am a film lover and student. Check out more of my pieces at Flipscreened!
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