There is no way in the depths of Hades that Frozen II could be good, right? It’s obviously nothing more than a soulless cash grab exploiting the popularity of the first mega-huge movie, right?
Amazingly, Frozen II… I think it might just be a bit better than its predecessor mostly due to the fact that it’s gone and done something so radically different than the first movie and created a Disney movie without a villain that sees two established characters start a journey and finish as radically different people, expands the world and mythology of the Frozen universe, adds new dimension to the story we thought we knew, and makes the plot so personal to Elsa and Anna that it really couldn’t have been told any other way.
A few years have passed in Arendale as Elsa rules as Queen and Anna believes that she’s found her happily ever after. Olaf has become a bit of a nihilist, believing that nothing is permanent and that actions don’t ultimately matter — personally, I found this hilarious and it really made the character a lot less annoying this time around.
Elsa, however, is hearing a voice call to her in the night (sing to her, actually, because this is a Disney movie) and soon, she accidentally awakens the spirits who chase everyone out of Arendale and sends the sisters on a journey to the North to discover answers and mysteries.
Oh, and Kristoph and Sven are there too.
Lots about this movie works. As I said, the story is radically different than the first movie and, as I have avoided everything but the trailers, I was never sure where it was going and the unfolding mystery was quite appealing even if some of it was a tad predictable.
The story is full of emotion that is beautifully animated on Anna and Elsa’s faces and I myself, found that I was moved to tears on sheer empathy alone. There is a sequence in the movie where Elsa sings a song called “Show Yourself” in which a personal truth is shown to her and the animation is so wonderful and so emotional when the truth dawns on her that it was absolutely amazing. “Into the Unknown” may be getting all the press, but “Show Yourself” is the true show-stopper.
They all aren’t winners, however. Kristoph tags along in this movie and his b-story drags the movie to a halt every time he shows up. Compared to the rest of the film, his agonizing about how to ask Anna to marry him is so ordinary and cringy that I’m surprised it’s in the movie at all. He actually has a musical number that is just… well, there’s no other way to put it… awful. It’s out of place in the movie, tonally, it’s all wrong, and the song is neither entertaining or funny as I’m sure they intended.
Still, for what I’m sure was intended as a quick and easy sequel to make some sweet sweet cash, Frozen II is definitely a lot better than I thought it would be. It smooths out the wrinkles of the first movie, despite making a few wrinkles of its own, it chooses the novel idea of a movie without a villain, and has the audacity to actually leave its characters in unexpected places at the end.
I’m very happy with this. It’s probably Disney’s strongest sequel (and yes, I’m counting Pixar) in years.