‘Frozen 2’: A thrilling journey into the unknown

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Photo: Walt Disney Animation Studios

Hallie Faust and Malia Wanderer

Six years after the epic Disney blockbuster “Frozen” hit theaters, sisters Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell) return to the screen for a grand adventure through an enchanted wood with companions Olaf (Josh Gad) and Kristoff (Jonathan Groff).

Anna, Princess of Arendelle, chats with the charming snowman Olaf on an iceboat. Throughout the movie, both characters undergo emotional development, as Olaf experiences anger for the first time and Anna is crippled by grief. Photo: Walt Disney Animation Studios

The film follows Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, Olaf the snowman, and Kristoff the iceman as they set out on a treacherous journey, following a voice calling Elsa into the unknown, to uncover the truth about their home kingdom, Arendelle’s, past. Along the way, they encounter nature spirits who are both friend and foe and Anna faces emotional struggles.

The journey leads to many personal discoveries for the characters, and also branches off from the first film, in that “Frozen 2″ explores the inner feelings of characters besides Anna and Elsa. As Olaf learns how to deal with his newfound maturity, Kristoff battles with doubts about Anna’s feelings for him, which he expresses with his song “Lost in the Woods.” 

(Warning: Content ahead may contain mild spoilers)

Following the typical Disney plot, “Frozen 2” ends on a happy note demonstrating the power of love and friendship. However, this perfect ending seems forced and unnatural due to the darker path the movie takes with its tragic events and maturing themes. The movie also wrapped up too quickly when it felt that more paths could have been explored for further character development.

Through its songs and story, the film explores more mature and important topics like grief, self-acceptance, insecurities, and how to deal with unwanted change through its songs and story. 

Many central themes in the film emerge through musical numbers. Near the beginning of the film, Elsa, voiced by Idina Menzel, expresses how she feels out-of-place in Arendelle with her song “Into the Unknown,” and later in the movie, as she calls out to the mysterious voice, her song “Show Yourself” promotes self-acceptance. Similarly, the song “Some Things Never Change” introduces the theme of change. This theme is also reflected in Olaf’s song “When I Am Older,” where he sings about growing up. This song also shows how Olaf has matured, depicting him as more aware as he wonders what it means to grow up. In her solo “The Next Right Thing,” Anna sings about hopelessness at her lowest point, and how she just has to “do the next right thing.” This song is powerful, bringing tears to some fan’s eyes, and it shows the audience that even the optimistic Anna can struggle with crippling depression.

Photo: Walt Disney Animation Studios

“Frozen 2: is an enjoyable movie with many references to its predecessor’s, songs like the short “Reindeers are Better Than People” reprise, Elsa cringing at a vision of herself singing “Let it Go,” and the reuse of the opening chant “Vuelie.” It also includes a quick glimpse of Elsa’s ice castle on the North Mountain, bringing back memories of the first movie.

The movie also incorporates humor, thanks to the dynamic between the characters and Olaf’s childish comments and unique way of storytelling through the rearrangement of his body. Kristoff’s solo, “Lost in the Woods,” shows elements of a typical music video in an animated fashion with reindeer, leaving audiences laughing. 

“Frozen 2” has been in the works for over four years, and the quality of the movie reflects the improving animation technology and the time put into the movie. The artists include tiny details such as texturized fabric and individual hairs on the sisters’ heads. The autumnal aesthetic is beautiful, the bodies of water look almost real, and Elsa’s ice magic is stunning. 

Compared to its prequel, “Frozen 2” has a much more interesting and deep plot as well as better character development, especially in Olaf. Although the soundtrack is catchy and carries important themes, it falls short of the songs in the original movie, as it lacks an iconic song like “Let it Go.”

Overall, despite a forced ending, the long-awaited sequel is a fantastic movie with an amazing soundtrack, intriguing plot, and beautiful animations, making it the perfect follow-up to “Frozen.”

“Frozen 2”

1 hour, 43 minutes

Release Date: Nov. 22, 2019

Rated: PG for action/peril and some thematic elements

Directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck

Starring: Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad