All This Ice, I Still Get Warm Feelings – Frozen 2 Review

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Frozen 2 Review – Even though the movie is really focused on cold and ice, I get a warm fuzzy feeling all over

I made a huge mistake. I completely underestimated Frozen 2. Not that I wasn’t happy or excited for a sequel, or had Let it Go on repeat, I just didn’t expect it to really further the story. WOAH, was I wrong. Frozen 2 opens up the kingdom of Arendelle and its lore, providing a rich history and also an incredible foundation for its future. The film also really grows the characters in some very emotional ways. The theme of family and love emanates throughout the characters’ words and actions. The film hits a full array of emotions through subtlety and grandiose displays. Before I go more into more details of my Frozen 2 review, here is the official synopsis of the film from Disney:

Why was Elsa born with magical powers? The answer is calling her and threatening her kingdom. Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven, she’ll set out on a dangerous but remarkable journey. In “Frozen,” Elsa feared her powers were too much for the world. In “Frozen 2,” she must hope they are enough. From the Academy Award®-winning team—directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, producer Peter Del Vecho and songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez—and featuring the voices of Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen 2” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2019.

Rated: PG
Release Date: November 22, 2019

First, I want to cover the film’s story and my general thoughts on it. I’m going to be direct, Frozen 2’s story is really good. It is engaging, hilarious, and heartwarming. Everything we’ve come to expect from Disney Animated films. I have to say in my Frozen 2 review, to seem like a credible reviewer among my peers, it’s formulaic and does not break the mold. But as a thorough lover of films, and an avid fan of enjoyable content, Frozen 2 does it well. I would say the best way to describe it as, there are likely numerous amateur productions of Hamilton going around, but when Lin Manuel-Miranda performs it, it’s better. That’s what Frozen 2 is like to the formulaic story structure. The highs and lows are a masterful ebb and flow of emotions. There are long bouts highs and lows, then instant shifts, without giving emotional whiplash. Frozen 2 plays the hearts strings like a concertmaster (which is a term I looked up to make it sound like I know about violins).

As impressive as the story is at evoking emotions and opening up the world, what amazes me, even more, is how they are able to give their main characters so much presence. Elsa and Anna are obviously the primary main characters, but Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven have truly magnificent stories throughout the movie. Elsa and Anna further continue their sisterly bond, which is strained by age, duty, and ability. Elsa being older and having powers feels protective of Anna, often scolding her for getting into dangerous situations she should not attempt because of her lack of powers. Anna acts of the guardian of the guardian, while Else maybe queen and the protector, she is not invincible and no one understands better than Anna. Their conflicting views collide and further develop them as sisters, and also as individuals. As they learn more about the other and begin to understand, they also further learn about and understand themselves even more. I personally enjoy their growth even more, because it is independent of romance, which used to be a heavy staple of Disney animation.

Not to say the film is without romance, but the situation is focused on the guy’s side for a nice change of pace Kristoff’s primary focus is to propose to Anna. He has multiple opportunities which lead to multiple mishaps, and some of the funniest lines of the movie. The mishaps are usually moments of levity, despite being really sad for Kristoff. Sven is there to support his human brother in any way he can. It is a folly of events, that feel very real and apparently relatable to my friend who said similar things happened when he tried to propose. The failed attempts lead to Kristoff’s song, which is an 80’s ballad to end all ballads. This song will inevitably make its way to be a stand-alone music video on the internet somewhere. The song is hilarious, pulls on the heartstrings, and rides that perfect line of homage and parody of the genre. Jonathan Groff absolutely nails the performance. It is easily one of the best parts of the movie, but still a very sad moment for Kristoff.

My personal favorite part, and what I consider the true heart of the movie, is Olaf. Olaf could easily be the annoying character that ruins a movie but instead is arguably the part. The writing, of course, is a huge part, but Josh Gad’s performance contributes just as much. In terms of writing, Olaf’s naiveness and general lack of awareness allow for an incredible narrative device that can directly call out things and tell the audience what they should be understanding or knowing. I believe Olaf’s song about understanding things when he’s older is a meta nod to his near fourth wall breaking call outs.  Olaf very often points out the joke or is the joke himself. There is even a scene where he regales the entire story of the first film. Which is my personal favorite part of the movie. It was full of sight gags, Olaf commentary, as well as audience reactions from those who were part of the story and those hearing it for the first time. It was roughly 3 minutes of pure joy that are completely unnecessary but thank whatever higher power you believe in for its existence. Aside, from the obvious levity Olaf brings, he instantly brings the heavy. I don’t want to spoil anything, but Olaf punches you in the heart. I believe what makes Olaf work so well as a ridiculous character is that Josh Gad plays Olaf straight the entire time. Even when he is being impaled or viciously torn apart, Olaf is genuine in his thoughts, reactions, and speech. He’s not trying to be the odd one out, he genuinely sees himself as the normal and behaves that way.

It wouldn’t be a Frozen movie without incredible music, and Frozen 2 brings it. I will say, the songs do not hit quite the iconic status of the first, but really what can? However, the songs are fun, impactful, and incredibly performed. The voice talent collected for this film is out of this world. Idina Menzel shows off her amazing voice in each of her songs and, many times, just casually in dialogue. There are many times Elsa (Menzel) just throws out a few notes and each time her godly vocal ability is felt. It’s truly incredible that a voice that powerful can just happen at a whim. Then there’s Kristen Bell. I honestly forget she has such an incredible voice. I am currently swooning over her performance of Eleanor, that I completely forgot she could really SING. Anna (Bell) gets more dynamic songs this time around and the audience will be left in awe of the magnificent musical talent of the film.

I’m really stretching for any critique of the movie to really drive my Frozen 2 review. The only thing I have is there is not enough of Sterling K. Brown’s Mattias. That’s it.

Frozen 2 is a truly worthy sequel, and one to not be missed. I am ashamed I thought that this film would not match the grandeur of the original, but I am elated to be wrong. The film is perfect for the whole family and truly has something for everybody. There is a gripping tale of adventure, a romance focused on the male’s perspective, a cute and lovable mascot providing levity and brevity, and the power and value of family. And on top of all that, world-class musical performances. Frozen 2 is Disney Animation doing what they do best, creating a beautifully crafted film in every sense of the word. My Frozen 2 review gets a 4.5/5

Frozen 2 releases in theaters November 22, 2019. Tickets available now.

 

Frozen 2
4.5

TLDR

Frozen 2 is a truly worthy sequel, and one to not be missed. I am ashamed I thought that this film would not match the grandeur of the original, but I am elated to be wrong. The film is perfect for the whole family and truly has something for everybody. There is a gripping tale of adventure, a romance focused on the male’s perspective, a cute and lovable mascot providing levity and brevity, and the power and value of family. And on top of all that, world-class musical performances. Frozen 2 is Disney Animation doing what they do best, creating a beautifully crafted film in every sense of the word.

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