I was pretty smitten with the original Frozen when I first saw it. Then, like so many people, I suffered from Frozen hangover. Who knew “Let It Go” would be haunting our dreams for years to come? Coming back with a sequel six years later, when all of those Elsa-obsessed little girls are now tweens and teens, seemed like a risky gamble. Sometimes, though, gambles pay off. Instead of recreating the original movie with a few tweaks, Frozen 2 leans into the fact that everyone’s a little bit older with a darker, more adventurous tale.
In Frozen 2, Elsa (Idina Menzel) is haunted by a mysterious voice calling her into the Enchanted Forest. She sets off with Anna (Kristen Bell), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Olaf (Josh Gad) and Sven on an adventure “into the unknown” to save the kingdom of Arendelle.
If you’re thinking that doesn’t give you much of anything about the plot, that’s because the plot is a lot more complex than you’d expect from a children’s film. It’s a bit unwieldy and overly complicated, and at the end of the day, that’s my main criticism. While I wouldn’t expect young children to fully follow the storyline, I do expect the action of the film to give them a general idea of what’s happening.
Along with most of the familiar faces from the original film, Frozen 2 introduces enough new characters and creatures to fill out the cast lists of Frozen 3, 4 and 5. Amongst those new creatures is Bruni, a salamander living in the Enchanted Forest. He’s the one who was clearly created just for the merchandise opportunities. That said, I Googled “Frozen Bruni Target” as soon as I got home from the theater. He really is pretty darn cute. And I really do want all the Bruni things.
Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez returned to Frozen 2 to write seven original songs. Each song was perfectly catchy, although I don’t know that we have another “Let It Go” on our hands. (That’s probably a good thing.) My personal favorite is Josh Gad as Olaf singing “When I Am Older”, the song least likely to be heard on the radio. The Panic! At The Disco version of “Into the Uknown”, however, is another story. I fully expect to hear that song everywhere I go in the coming weeks. If there is the next “Let It Go” in the film, that will be the song. While we’re here, let me give a shoutout to Jonathan Groff as Kristoff singing “Lost in the Woods” in the style of an 80s power ballad. If you were alive during the 80s, I dare you not to giggle during that scene.
Frozen 2 delivers some genuine laughs, some beautiful animation, and some great songs. While not as charming as the original film, it’s a pretty darn good sequel. Even with the convoluted story, darker tones and more intense action, I expect most children will be fine watching the film. It does touch on themes of loss, death, and war, so keep that in mind for younger viewers. The film is rated PG and has a run time of 1 hour and 43 minutes. When you do go to the theater-because, let’s face it, we know you’re going to eventually see this film-make sure you stay put through the credits. There’s a bonus scene waiting to reward your patience that you’ll definitely want to catch.
About Frozen 2
Why was Elsa born with magical powers? What truths about the past await Elsa as she ventures into the unknown to the enchanted forests and dark seas beyond Arendelle? The answers are calling her but also threatening her kingdom. Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, she’ll face 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.