Movie review by Sara Amis
If anyone knows me, they know I love two things: watching Disney movies and picking apart the plots and elements of Disney movies. “Frozen 2” is no exception; it, too, shall come under the microscopic lens of Sara Amis’ mind.
“Frozen 2” is pretty good. It’s not great, and in my opinion, it’s not the best movie Disney’s released this year. The soundtrack is fantastic, and it has tons of very catchy songs that I can’t stop singing. The plot is compelling, and it offers answers to questions you might’ve had during the first movie, but the pacing is a bit odd. Overall, though, it was a good movie; it’s definitely worth the price of admission, and it’s a good use of two hours.
However, I would argue that the first “Frozen” was better than the second. I would also argue that despite “Frozen 2” consistently bringing up things that happened in the first movie, it ignored most of the actual events and character arcs that were present.
WARNING: If you want to see the movie or be surprised by anything, don’t read until after I say the coast is clear. If you’ve already seen it or just don’t care, read on!
Elsa’s character arc was much more interesting than her arc in the first movie, but the focus on her caused other characters to fall flat. Kristoff’s character was almost thrown away; he became a running gag of “I keep trying to propose but get interrupted/put my foot in my mouth” that got old soon, but he did get an awesome 80s-music-video-type song right in the middle of the movie, which was absolutely amazing. Anna has some pretty serious abandonment issues that are clear throughout the movie--her repeated insistence that she can’t lose Elsa, they just got back together, etc.--that were completely disregarded and spat on during the ending when they split up. Her becoming Queen of Arendelle is glossed over rather hardily. Olaf was given a midlife crisis where he questions the changing nature of everything, which is very different from his naive and overly optimistic character in the first movie, but it is really funny and does make sense for his character.
The plot was very interesting to me, and it shed a lot of light on the origins of magic in this universe. It begins with a flashback to their childhood, and their father tells them of the time he journeyed up north to the enchanted wood, where the people lived in harmony with elemental nature spirits (fire, water, earth, air; “Avatar the Last Airbender,” anyone?). The idea was that Arendelle would become an ally of the northern tribe--the Northuldra--and gift them a dam, but they started fighting, so the spirits of the forest descended a fog which was impossible to escape.
Flash forward and Elsa hears voices calling to her; cue a “Let It Go”-esque song (“Into the Unknown”) and Arendelle basically being torn apart. The main characters set off on yet another adventure, where they meet the Northuldra and begin to figure out this whole magic thing, along with finding information about their parents. They discover that there are still Arendelle soldiers in the wood and that the sisters are half Northuldra because their mother saved their father from the fog and then fell in love with him (or something). Kristoff tries to propose, gets separated from the others, and sings the aforementioned 80s-style song (“Lost in the Woods”). Anna and Elsa find their parent’s shipwreck, and then Elsa decides to go on a solo-quest, so she sends Olaf and Anna away.
Elsa finds the source of her magic and the memories of her grandfather, who started the war, but freezes because she went too far down--but not before sending a magic message to Anna, who somehow miraculously knows that this means she must destroy the dam, even if it means Arendelle is flooded. Anna wakes up the big rock troll things and leads them to the dam, destroying it and unfreezing Elsa, who then rushes to Arendelle and protects the kingdom from the huge wave the dam was holding back. Elsa decides out of nowhere that she needs to stay with the Northuldra because apparently, she’s the “Avatar”--sorry, wrong franchise--she’s the bridge between magic and the human world, and Anna has absolutely no qualms with her sister leaving her the crown and abandoning her again, just as long as she’s back for charades.
It’s very slow at the beginning as they travel north and very fast and action-packed at the end, almost like they were running out of time, so they had to cram the climax into five minutes. The ending didn’t make sense to me because the whole point of the first movie was reuniting these sisters, and now they’re torn apart, but somehow everyone is okay with it? It just doesn’t seem like what the characters would have done or how they would have reacted.
OK, spoilers are over
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, or that I dislike it. On the contrary, I liked it a lot. I came out singing the songs and with a huge smile on my face. The soundtrack was absolutely phenomenal, and I really love how the songs have a constant melody running through them. The vocals and voice acting were amazing, as well. The animation was stunning--they captured the magic of the world and brought the audience along with them. The landscapes were beautiful, and the animation of the ocean was gorgeous. The jokes were funny, and Olaf gave us some of the best parts of the movie. However, there were just some plot elements that I felt dragged the movie down a bit.
Overall, I felt that it was a better standalone movie than a sequel. With a few adjustments, it could’ve been great, but the way it is, it’s just good.