The widespread acclaim of “Frozen” in 2013, which won Oscars for Best Animated Film and Best Original Song, left the sequel with big shoes to fill. The success of the first film contributed to the sequel’s achievement of the biggest global opening at the box office for an animated film. Luckily for viewers, comedic undertones, breathtaking visuals and powerful vocals from all the cast members prove that “Frozen 2” lives up to the reputation of the first movie.
“Frozen 2” picks up in the delightful kingdom of Arendelle, where Elsa (Idina Menzel) is still queen but the characters are not together. Anna (Kristen Bell) and Kristoff’s (Jonathan Groff) relationship has moved on to thoughts of marriage, and Olaf (Josh Gad) remains the same lovable and quirky character from the first film. However, Elsa hears noises and senses danger coming to her kingdom, and this looming threat brings the original “Frozen” gang back together.
The group journeys to an autumn forest, which departs from the winter theme that dominated “Frozen.” Every scene in the fictional forest is filled with awe-inspiring graphics featuring vibrant colors and meticulous details of shedding leaves. The intricacy of these graphics cultivates an enchanting world wherein every action seems motivated by beauty.
Beyond its captivating illustrations, the movie is strengthened by plenty of humorous one-liners, mainly provided by Olaf. Even at more serious moments in the plot, Olaf’s excellent timing with his witty quips makes the whole audience laugh. This humor adds a much needed level of levity to the movie and facilitates a more enjoyable and engaging experience for moviegoers.
As with any Disney musical, the songs in “Frozen 2” are stellar. Written by the songwriters from the first film, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Bobby Lopez, songs like “Into the Unknown,” sung by Elsa, show skill both in vocal capacity and composition, even if they are not as catchy as “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” or “Let it Go,” huge hits from the first film.
“The Next Right Thing,” sung by Anna, reveals a new side of the young heroine as she exposes her grief and confusion. She laments her feelings of darkness and emptiness, which contrast with the perky, hopeful, younger character she was in “Frozen.” The “Frozen 2” soundtrack has placed more emphasis on accurately reflecting human experience, rather than depicting a cheery and idealized animated world, which provides a more relatable and down-to-earth film for audiences.
One of the most notable songs in the movie is “Lost in the Woods,” which is sung by Kristoff. Unlike most Disney movies, the well-crafted ballad finds a man, rather than a woman, professing his love and emotion through song. Likewise, although Kristoff does not play a major role in this movie, he leans into his emotions. Willing to be vulnerable and openly express his love, he tells Anna his “love isn’t fragile.” Kristoff’s sensitivity in the film renders him a commendable male role model, which is especially valuable in a movie primarily geared toward child audiences.
“Frozen 2” successfully provides educational moral lessons in addition to its inclusion of heartfelt emotions. The storyline, written by the same writers as the original film, Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, reminds audiences that its characters are not completely defined by their pasts and that personal growth and development should be welcomed. Anna recognizes her own power, Elsa becomes less self-restrained, Olaf gains wisdom and Kristoff learns the extent of his love.
While the characters in the film initially seem to fear what their futures hold, by the end it is clear that they are willing to embrace change, a refreshing lesson about the value of self-reflection and understanding how to view oneself in an ever-changing world. As this evolution is showcased throughout the movie, the movie’s focus on life lessons fashions a more dynamic experience than simply pretty graphics or catchy songs.
Essentially, “Frozen 2” encapsulates all the elements “Frozen” got right, with beautiful animations, an engaging storyline, amusing songs and loving characters that the audience is sure to root for. The classic animated Disney movie still holds its appeal regardless of one’s age — “Frozen 2” will bring a smile to audience members of all ages and rekindle a childhood spirit of love and fun in everyone.