Review: ‘Frozen 2’ warms the heart

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Review: ‘Frozen 2’ warms the heart

The promotional image for

The promotional image for "Frozen 2". In the sequel to "Frozen", Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven travel to an ancient, enchanted forest to find the origin of Elsa's powers and save their kingdom.

Photo credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios

The promotional image for "Frozen 2". In the sequel to "Frozen", Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven travel to an ancient, enchanted forest to find the origin of Elsa's powers and save their kingdom.

Photo credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios

Photo credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios

The promotional image for "Frozen 2". In the sequel to "Frozen", Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven travel to an ancient, enchanted forest to find the origin of Elsa's powers and save their kingdom.

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Full of female empowerment, magic and, of course, music, Disney’s “Frozen 2” is sure to make anyone’s heart warm with joy, especially the little girls who were key to making its predecessor, “Frozen,” a $1.27 billion sensation in 2013. “Frozen 2,” directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, further explores the kingdom of Arendelle and delves deeper into the magic of its world.

Similar to the first movie, “Frozen 2” begins with a flashback from the childhood of Arendelle’s orphaned princesses, Anna and Elsa, which discloses more history of the fantasy world. In the form of a bedtime story, the girls learn that north of Arendelle lies an enchanted forest inhabited by magical spirits and the Northuldra people. Once upon a time, Anna and Elsa’s grandfather built a dam to help the Northulrda and visited the enchanted forest to celebrate its completion. But the gathering turned into an attack, starting a war that upsets the nature spirits. Ever since the enchanted forest has been barricaded by a strong and powerful mist.

In the present day, presumably three years after the end of “Frozen,” the characters have mostly settled into a comfortable life. While Anna (Kristen Bell), her boyfriend Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and the living snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) are pretty satisfied with the way things are, a catchy song about permanence and stability ironically foreshadows the changes to come. Although Elsa (Idina Menzel) is queen now, she’s still uncomfortable in the role, and a mysterious voice beckons her from beyond, leading her to awaken the spirits of the enchanted forest. To calm the magical forces and ultimately save Arendelle, Troll leader Pabbie (Ciarán Hinds) tells Elsa and Anna that they need to find the truth about what happened the day their grandfather built the dam, a mystery which becomes intertwined with a journey of self-discovery and an explanation for Elsa’s powers. With that, the quartet embarks on a riveting and dangerous adventure.

Walt Disney Animation Studios

“Frozen 2” focuses on the sisters in a different way than the first film. “Frozen” was ultimately about sisterhood, but Anna and Elsa spent most of the film apart dealing with separate problems. The sequel keeps explores different parts of their relationship, including their clashing motivations. Elsa wants to fix what’s wrong at any cost, while all Anna wants to do is keeps those she loves out of harm’s way. Ultimately, the emotional heart of the movie is their strong bond — and the tension when that bond is threatened.

Kristoff gets a subplot where he keeps messing up his planned marriage proposal to Anna, while Olaf contemplates the experience of growing up. Kristoff’s “Lost in the Woods” shows off Jonathan Groff’s voice in the hilarious style of an ’80s music video, with closeups of Kristoff’s face superimposed onto different shots of him singing.

Visually, Frozen 2 fully takes advantage of Disney Animation Studio’s CGI abilities. The enchanted forest is beautiful, from the lush autumn colors to the purple magical fire. The individual freckles on Elsa and Anna’s faces are visible, and Olaf’s snowman body glimmers with detailed crystal patterns.

Furthermore, the movie does not shy away from sensitive and mature subject matter, including man-made environmental disasters, colonialism and mental health. One of the key developments in the film reveals how Anna and Elsa’s elders jeopardized the environment in favor of greed. The events that transpired were not the fault of the entire kingdom but instead resulted from the choices made by those individuals who wield power. Anna and Elsa are forced to cope with the realization that those they have long admired not all they’re idealized to be.

This sentiment applies to the music too. From “Some Things Never Change”  and Olaf’s “When I Am Older” to “Show Yourself,” each number dials in on the challenges of growing up, especially finding and retaining a sense of self among moments of severe change. Featuring the same soaring chorus and high notes as “Let it Go,” Elsa’s new power ballad, “Into the Unknown,” is sure to be ingrained in the minds of many for years to come. Finally, perhaps the most sophisticated song, Anna’s “The Next Right Thing,” touches on dealing with near-crippling grief.

What makes this movie so revolutionary is that our beloved characters are not battling any standard Disney villain like terrifying snow creatures or even evil princes, but simply the formidable path to adulthood.

“Frozen 2” is currently showing in most major theaters, including AMC Century City and ArcLight Cinemas – Santa Monica.

  • Story
  • Acting
  • Technical Quality
  • Enjoyment
  • Impact
5

Summary

In the sequel to “Frozen”, Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven travel to an ancient, enchanted forest to find the origin of Elsa’s powers and save their kingdom.