As far as sequels go, “Frozen II” is not just a basic rehash of the original, but instead goes in a different direction. While not as groundbreaking as the 2013 original, “Frozen II” has enough fun characters, beautiful animation and excellent songs to satisfy viewers.
The film takes place roughly three years after the events of “Frozen” and sees Queen Elsa, voiced by Idina Menzel, adjusting to her position as queen of the kingdom of Arendelle with the help of her sister Princess Anna, voiced by Kristen Bell.
When the spirits of an enchanted forest begin to wreak havoc on the kingdom, Elsa and Anna, along with Anna’s boyfriend Kristoff, voiced by Jonathan Groff, his reindeer Sven and a magical snowman named Olaf, voiced by Josh Gad, embark on a quest to save their kingdom as well as uncover the secrets of the forest.
One of the best improvements “Frozen II” makes is in the film’s animation. The character motion is magnificent, and the color palettes of autumn and winter are used effectively. Despite being animated, the characters and their environments feel real.
The characters have also shown some evolution. Elsa struggles with being queen because she constantly worries about if every decision she makes is the right one. This is a good thing to show children because with great power comes great responsibility. The bond between Elsa and Anna is also further explored and given a new set of challenges.
Because Elsa and Anna spent so many years apart, Anna wants to stay close to her sister now that they have reconciled, even if means going into danger. This conflict is engaging to witness and makes for great character development.
While many may dismiss the songs of the film as inferior to the original, nothing could have possibly topped songs like “Love Is An Open Door,” “For The First Time In Forever” and the often overplayed “Let It Go.” These songs have spent such a long time in the public conscience that it is nearly impossible to top them. However, the songs of “Frozen II” are particularly enjoyable.
Elsa sings a song about going into uncertain peril called “Into The Unknown,” which is an inspiring anthem that tells children to not be afraid of new tasks that await them. Another song that stands out is the love anthem “Lost in the Woods,” which is sung by Kristoff.
It’s reminiscent of 80s ballads like “You’re The Inspiration” by Chicago and “I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore” by REO Speedwagon and makes for a catchy tune. The entire soundtrack is infectious and will stay in the heads of viewers days after seeing the film.
The film’s biggest weakness is the overall story. It’s just not as investing as the original because the situation is less dire. The characters talk about how they need to save Arendelle but the viewer never sees how Arendelle is doing while the heroes are trying to save it.
In “Frozen,” the never-ending winter and the plummeting temperature was more important because the effect it had on the citizens of Arendelle was shown.
There is also a more desperate attempt at comedy such as the subplot revolving around Kristoff trying to propose to Anna, which is just painful to watch. The comedy doesn’t work, and it’s not very entertaining. Olaf is also more annoying in “Frozen II” whereas in the first film, he was likable and fun to watch.
However, Olaf also gives some excellent dialogue and performs a perfectly enjoyable song called “When I’m Older” so he’s not completely awful, just sometimes overbearing.
While flawed, “Frozen II” has much to admire including how it tries to be its own film instead of a direct sequel to one of Disney’s highest grossing films. It has enough humor and songs to entertain children with enough artistry and character for their parents to enjoy.