I love animation and I love Disney. I was excited to see Frozen 2, mainly because there were loose ends from the first movie that were never resolved and I like the characters. I especially enjoyed the twist at the end of the first film wherein the two sisters save each other. What I loved best about Frozen 2 is that it does a great job of resolving some of the lingering threads from the first movie but also has an interesting story, with great music but the music does outweigh the story.
Frozen 2 directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, is the sequel to 2013 Frozen. From the beginning, we see the changes wrought from the first movie. Elsa (Idina Menzel) rules but with warmth, with her sister Anna (Kristen Bell) by her side, spending time with Olaf (Josh Gad), Kristoph (Jonathan Groff), and Sven. But Elsa begins to hear a strange voice, calling from the north. Having been warned by their parents about an Enchanted Forest, Elsa, together with Anna and the others heads on a new journey to discover the origin of Elsa’s magical abilities and save their kingdom.
The story, when taken apart from the music, has some elements that are interesting. The sisters must free the Enchanted Forest in which dwells the Northuldra people. What makes it so intriguing is the Northuldra are based on the Sami tribe and are depicted as the native people to the land. They are one with the four elements, earth, water, fire, and air. While the use of the four elements is decidedly not new, (Avatar comes to mind as does the Fifth Element), these are common symbols in religion worldwide and are also utilized by many early tribes. Using them in the story does add some authenticity and enhances Elsa’s own abilities. I also enjoyed the way the multiple threads from the original story are tied up in the sequel and those did keep me engaged.
Besides the story, the characters of Olaf and Kristoph are funny and did make me laugh, especially Kristoph’s attempts to ask Anna an important question. I love the interactions between Anna and Elsa and their love and affection. The family love shown in the movie is part of what makes the film good and that both Anna and Elsa play integral roles in the story.
The music is actually quite good. I especially like the “All is Found” which has a similar sound as folk music or native songs. There are a couple of numbers that incorporate similar sounds in the movie and these are my favorites. I felt like the music, for the most part, fit the film well and certainly felt like there was more of a focus on creating original and compelling songs for the film.
The effects are gorgeous. I love the use of the four elements and Elsa’s magic. All of these create a truly immersive quality of the film. I love the fire salamander and the beautiful water horses. The Enchanted Forest is lovely and the native people are beautifully designed. The animation is created with care and each scene is gorgeous.
In addition to the other elements, the emotions from the voice actors are well portrayed. Elsa’s fear and purpose were clear from Idina Menzel’s performance. Anna was strong and I love how Kristen Bell portrays the character. Jonathan Groff did an excellent job with Kristoph, with the character never overshadowing the sisters, along to aid them rather than be the hero. Josh Gad as Olaf was hilarious.
Unfortunately, as much as I enjoyed certain aspects, it doesn’t shine as much as the original. The music, in particular, outweighs the story, leaving us less time to get to know the Northuldra, which should be a more critical element to the film. We also don’t get anything really new or original, it is all reflections of the first movie and fairly predictable. There was also one story thread that was never resolved to my satisfaction. Besides, too much time spent on music, there is also a song that doesn’t fit the style of the film and the “over the top” video style took me out of the movie. Despite some of these issues, I really did enjoy the Northuldra, the use of the elements, and the continuation of the sister’s journey.
If you liked the first film, I think you’ll like this one. I know children will love spending more time with the characters. I loved the humor, the animation, the little elements that enhance the sister’s stories, each making a journey and finding change. Kristoph never outshines the women but his love for Anna is clear in the film. I loved the Northuldra and their tribe. If you like native music, you will love the music in this. I truly loved many of the songs and would like to hear several of them again.
Rating: 3.5 salamanders out of 5.