It’s been nearly six years since Disney blockbuster “Frozen” introduced itself to the world, and its highly anticipated sequel was finally released on Nov. 22. While the first movie tied up its ending in a neat little bow, hunger for more sisterly adventures demanded a sequel from the franchise juggernaut. It seems the audience is satisfied: the film has broken a multitude of records and garnered over $700 million at the box office over its opening week. The sequel explains the long unanswered question of where Elsa’s powers originated and why.
The film picks up three years after the events of “Frozen,” and Anna and Elsa are enjoying their newfound reality with open gates. Elsa’s reign stays strong with Anna by her side, Olaf the Snowman has matured and is confronting life’s big questions, Sven still enjoys his carrots and Kristoff spends a majority of the film developing the best-possible proposal for Anna.
However, chance comes knocking when Elsa begins hearing a strange, mystical voice calling out to her from an enchanted forest just outside Arendelle’s walls. Suddenly, elemental hijinks ensue, leading to our heroes searching for answers beyond the kingdom’s borders.
First things first, the sequel admittedly does not live up to the original but serves as an excellent follow-up. “Frozen 2” starts with an abundance of reintroductions but strengthens as the film continues. The plot may be predictable at parts but remains engaging and exciting throughout. The side-plots, including Kristoff’s continuous proposal attempts and Olaf’s existential questions, add humor and personality to the tale without overshadowing the main story.
The sequel’s songs may not be as memorable as those from “Frozen,” but it would be nearly impossible to replicate the worldwide phenomenon of “Let it Go.” However, the movie’s title track “Into the Unknown,” sung by Idina Menzel, comes close. The mysterious voice belting vocals and the strength of Elsa’s notes remain catchy and magical as ever.
“When I Am Older” relates to adults everywhere, as Olaf hopes that life’s mysteries will eventually be answered with maturity (despite it not being this simple). Parents will also appreciate Kristoff’s 1980s-inspired love lament in “Lost in the Woods.” Despite these humorous entries, “Frozen 2” still provides its own set of tearjerkers with “Show Yourself” and “The Next Right Thing,” sung by Elsa and Anna respectively.
The film does have its own fair share of memorable quotes, but most of the humor comes from Olaf. His newfound knowledge and sudden realization that life is complicated proves to be a hilarious gag throughout the movie to which older viewers will definitely relate. The fire salamander Bruni, who serves as Elsa’s new animal companion, also brings a lot of laughs, thanks to his extreme cuteness level.
The animation, too, is especially impressive. The natural visuals of Arendelle, the Enchanted Forest and the mythical river of Ahtohallan look lively and very realistic. The animators managed to give a sense of character to breezes, despite a limited amount of screentime.
The film, notably, lacks a villain. There’s no scheming princes or two-faced dukes this time around — instead, the plot focuses on the relationships between the protagonists and how their characterization continues to develop throughout the movie. The characters do struggle against obstacles such as pesky wind spirits and lurking Earth giants, but there’s no evil deliberately working against them. The absence of an antagonist works in the film’s favor; the journey to answers does serve as a race against time but gives the audience the chance to grow closer to the heroes.
Take Elsa, for example. While “Frozen” mainly follows Anna’s quests, “Frozen 2” brings the snow queen to the forefront. Elsa spent the first movie fearing her magic but learns to accept herself near the end. Elsa may be more accepting of her magic in the sequel, but still questions her place in the world. A scene nearing the climax, where Elsa discovers the source of the voice and finally fully embraces herself, is especially moving. Also, spoiler alert: future audiences can anticipate another “Let it Go”-esque dress change, and plenty of ice-magic shenanigans.
“Frozen 2” places its primary emphasis on the importance of family. Anna and Elsa’s sisterly bond, similar to the previous installment, pushes the majority of the tale forward. In a way, their roles reverse themselves from the first film to the second. While Elsa pursues the siren’s call, Anna desperately tries to protect her, but not for selfish reasons — she wants Elsa to stay safe. Nevertheless, Anna still supports her sister and vice versa. The strength of their bond helps develop both characters and proves to be especially inspiring to millions of young girls watching the film.
Kristoff’s arc throughout “Frozen 2” is also worth mentioning. While a majority of Disney princes’ intentions revolve around “saving” their princesses, Kristoff instead does whatever he can to support Anna and help her pursue her goals. He’s vulnerable and unafraid to express his feelings, especially in his solo “Lost in the Woods.” He shows young boys everywhere that these are normal feelings, and that it’s okay to express their true emotions, rather than being tough and manly at all times.
All in all, the main message of “Frozen 2” is that change is inevitable. Newfound experiences can be intimidating, but having a close relationship with family and friends will help push you through. Instead of rejecting or preventing change, embracing it will lead to self-growth. “Frozen 2” separates itself from its predecessor and establishes its own tale of two sisters. It is a breath of fresh air in the ever-expanding “Frozen” franchise.