I don’t know if it was the reclining chairs, the $8 ticket (thank you, ResSoc, for the group excursion), or the actual movie, but Frozen 2 was a really good time.
The film, which is a sequel to the 2013 Disney blockbuster Frozen, is best described by Sarah Maat, ArtSci ’23 (and my friend). When asked to sum up her thoughts on the movie in one word, Maat said, “Woohoo!”
Frozen 2 is self-aware, enjoyable, and its visuals are gorgeous. Honestly, I’d be satisfied if the entire movie was two hours of incredibly well-animated waves crashing to the tone of Idina Menzel’s high notes.
While the film isn’t as good as its predecessor, those are impossibly big ice slippers to fill. Considering insurmountable expectations from toddlers and teenagers alike, it does well.
Overall, the sequel is effective because it knows its audience. Yes, there are young kids waddling up to the theatre in blue Elsa dresses belting the lyrics to “Let it Go,” but there are also plenty of adults eager to see the latest Disney film. Frozen’s original audience has aged six years, and its creators understand that. They strike a beautiful balance between light themes of love and sisterhood and dark ones of loss and post-colonialism.
The movie’s comedic relief also reflects this balance. People of all ages can laugh at Olaf’s delightfully chaotic and surprisingly accurate recap of the events of Frozen, but certain jokes are definitely meant for older audiences.
“The strongest voice acting performance is Josh Gad […] Olaf’s existentialism is really funny to an older audience,” said my friend Graydon Sims, ArtSci ’23.
The darker tone underlying Frozen 2 gives the film a deeper layer lacking from its predecessor. Its exploration of post-colonialism and Indigenous erasure, for example, adds surprising complexity to the plot. Unfortunately, this plotline wraps up in the typical squeaky clean Disney fashion: the characters don’t face any real consequences of Arendelle’s dark colonial past.
Of course, I can’t conclude this review without paying homage to the songs. They’re not as catchy as those in the first Frozen, but that’s a good thing—I left the theatre without a song stuck in my head.
Nothing comes close to “Let it Go,” but most of the songs are solid. I’d attribute this to the incredible talent of the Broadway legend and voice of Elsa, Idina Menzel. This time around, the writers knew who they were writing for and it shows. Idina Menzel is given her time to shine, and she deserves it. Her song “Into the Unknown” gives me all sorts of goosebumps.
Thankfully, in Frozen 2, Jonathon Groff (Kristoff) is finally given a proper song. Like Menzel, Groff is a seasoned Broadway actor: he’s known by many as Hamilton’s original King George III. His power ballad in Frozen 2, “Lost in the Woods,” is both comedically and vocally brilliant. It comes as a well-deserved upgrade from Frozen’s “Reindeers Are Better Than People.”
However, some of the movie’s songs fall flat. I’m mainly referring to the opening ensemble number “Some Things Never Change.” It has a catchy melody, but its lyrics dance all the way down the frosty road to Cheese Town. The incessant repetition of the line “I’m holding on tight to you” made me cringe.
Overall, Frozen 2 is a success. It has its flaws, but it still manages the incredible feat of capturing what was so beloved about Frozen while incorporating new, fresher elements.
In short, I wouldn’t expect the parade of Elsa dresses to cease any time soon.
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