In 2014, it was impossible to not hear ‘Let it go!’ From multiple song covers on YouTube to funny Vines, the movie captured the hearts of many kids and adults. It was such a success, Disney invested in more 3-D films over the years such as Coco, Pete’s Dragon, Finding Dory, and more. However, does Frozen 2 compare?
From a plot standpoint, the second movie kind of repeats the conflicts from the first one. Some recurring themes are how Elsa struggles in finding who she is and where she belongs. It also repeats struggles Anna and Elsa face in their sibling relationship that one would think would’ve been resolved since the second movie takes place three years after the first one. You can see this through their miscommunication and hesitation in trust. Thankfully, the second film touches on unanswered subplots such as the main character’s parents, Anna’s relationship, and Elsa’s powers. However, it’s questionable if the creators’ choice in using Anna and Elsa’s ancestors’ past was good in propelling their story arc.
On another point, the story does a great job building off what the first movie set in terms of world building. It doesn’t necessarily reintroduce the characters nor does it lead into a completely unexpected route. It references important events from the first film from jokes or subtle visuals. For instance, the castle Elsa built from the first movie can be seen in the background of one of the scenes from the second movie. And, as the movie starts the audience can get a pretty good idea of what’s happening. However, the movie in overall feels more like a Frozen Part II than just a Frozen 2 in itself.
Visually, the movie is stunning. The animators did a great job sequencing visual effects in tandem with Elsa’s solo songs. The surrounding ice changes color according to the emotion the music conveys. In the scene for the song ‘Into the Unknown,’ when Elsa’s curiosity grows, so does the fire around her. Towards the song’s end, when Elsa finds her resolve, ice shards explode to crystalline raindrops around her.
Although the animation team had around the same budget to work with of $150 million, the second movie takes on detail to the next level. The characters have more subtle body language when experiencing an emotion: when Elsa awakes disturbed, one can see her neck tense and her face jolt. And, the animators were able to better emulate physical movements by trying to act out some of the scenes. Co-Head of Animation Becky Bresee said,“I actually act the scene out or my daughters will act the scene out, or [even] my husband will act the scene out. Everyone is affected by it.”
The overall aesthetic was redesigned for more complex and beautiful features such as more realistic character layouts and backgrounds. Additionally, a lot of the effects were only made possible from creating new programs to process more realistic effects such as the water horse in the trailer. The main characters also go through different outfits which is refreshing than seeing some characters like Anna or Christoph wear the same clothes throughout. A YouTube video from Insider shows screen to screen comparisons of both movies that give a better idea why a person’s eyes may be glued to the screen for Frozen 2.
Unfortunately, the main song of Frozen 2 ‘Into the Unknown’ probably won’t live up to the overplayed success of what ‘Let it Go’ was, in terms of popularity. But personally, I prefer this one and the soundtrack as a whole. This is because I can enjoy ‘Into the Unknown’ without cringing at it like ‘Let it Go’ because it was so popular. There is also another nice song that is like an enchantment song called ‘All is Found’ which is reminiscent of the similar lullaby in Disney’s take on Rapunzel. Not to mention, the band Panic! at the Disco also has their own rendition of “Into the Unknown.’
Disney movies often tend to receive critiques of how their animated movies tend to follow a lot of character archetypes such as males solving the female protagonist’s problems, or the animal sidekick, or that one character used for comic relief. Although that still holds true in recent Disney films, Frozen 2 doesn’t give Elsa a love interest and focuses on the sisterly bond both Elsa and Anna have. Olaf also develops a Gen-Z, nihilist sense of humor which is very amusing. Christoph’s subplot with his love for Anna is expected, but doesn’t seem to enrich the movie.
There can be good characters that follow some archetypes as long as it is entertaining and handled well. Otherwise, it can detract from the movie and make the audience question what was the purpose for including it. There can be very stark opinions on how the script writing went for certain aspects, as the climax felt underwhelming, but the events were befitting for Elsa’s story arc. It’s debatable of how good the movie is depending on what the person is expecting, but overall I found it a good movie and would rate it a solid eight out of 10.