Frozen II: Disney’s Next Right Thing

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Leave it to Disney to create another gorgeously animated film that is funny enough to have the theater buzzing with laughter, sad enough to have people physically leaving the theater, and entertaining enough to enthrall an audience of six year olds for nearly two hours. Frozen II had big shoes to fill after the colossal hit that was Frozen. The release of Frozen II was greatly anticipated, with audiences expecting a lot from Disney’s favorite sisters, reindeer, fixer-upper, and huggable snowman. Frozen II, directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, delivered yet another beautiful fantasy story supported by a fantastic score and lovable characters, but still fell short of the original.

The film opens in a flashback. Young Elsa and Anna are spending time with their parents and listening to stories from their past. Then, they learn about an enchanted forest that has been locked away by a magic mist for years. This story sits in the backs of their heads until they are adults, and Elsa hears a mysterious voice calling her to the forest. Elsa and Anna then trek to the enchanted wood with Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf, and have to discover the truth about what happened there between the native people and the people of Arendelle. If they do not find the truth and right the wrongs of the past, then the people of the enchanted forest may be trapped forever.

Since the release of the first movie in 2013, the capabilities of Disney’s animation team have truly blossomed. There is beautiful imagery throughout the film, especially in the elemental spirits. The way that the artists behind Frozen II can manage to create a gust of wind with a complex personality is a feat that should be praised. Also, in regards to the technical side of Frozen II’s composition, the soundtrack, as expected, was phenomenal. With the powerful voices of Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell at the forefront, composer Christophe Beck had a lot to showcase, and, by featuring show stoppers like “Into the Unknown” and “The Next Right Thing,” he certainly did not disappoint. 

Plot wise, this addition to the Frozen universe really added a lot in terms of backstory and mythology. The film not only took the time to give Elsa and Anna’s parents a more developed past, but it also gave us insight into the history of Arendelle and the magic of the area that we had never seen before. We also got to see more of Anna’s growth as a character. She shows resilience and maturity as she grows into an independent, strong-willed monarch of Arendelle. She is a very good model of perseverance and inner growth for the children in the audience. Olaf is lovable, as always, but also follows his own important character arc that sees him through the stages of growing up. 

In contrast to the engaging and well written character arcs that Anna and Olaf have in this film, Kristoff and Elsa fall flat in this film. Kristoff barely advances the plot in any way because his arc was basically completed in the previous movie, and he was given very few chances to grow or change in this one. Elsa seems to sustain the same character flaws she had in the first film. She breaks almost every promise she makes to Anna between both movies by repeatedly pushing her away, yet she is rewarded for it. In the first film, she becomes confident in herself and her powers with the power of familial love, but in the new movie, she goes on another path of magical self-discovery, ultimately pushing her sister away yet again. This seemed counterproductive in the grand scheme of Elsa’s character development. 

Frozen II is a beautiful movie with some incredible points in the story, though there are a few parts that fall short of the original. Despite this, it was a very good addition to Disney’s repertoire. It only missed the mark on a few points, but it essentially achieved everything it set out to do. When it comes to nostalgia and satisfying the audience from the first film, or Disney magic pleasing the new young children in the audience, this sequel definitely delivered.

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