A Fun Movie to De-Stress you in Spite of Underdeveloped Plot Lines
Review by Aurora Frewin
Gathering in theatres on a cold night, I felt the elegance of winter while watching Frozen 2. I went out with some university friends and my two roommates, one who loves Frozen, to de-stress during the end of the semester. The film grossed a worldwide record of $358.2 million at the box office debut, more than double their production budget of $150 million. Frozen 2, despite its flaws that were difficult for me to look over, is a fun movie to sit back and enjoy.
The movie begins with a story about an enchanted forest filled with Northuldra – a Sami cultured people. Three years later after the coronation, Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) and Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell), must travel to the enchanted forest to save Arendelle. The only way to save Arendelle, it is made quite clear, is to fix the past between the Northuldra people and Arendelle’s soldiers, who have been trapped fighting each other for over thirty years. Here, they not only find spirits inhabiting the forest, but also discover more about their parent’s past.
A movie with a different atmosphere than the first Frozen, Frozen 2 presents a magical filled world with the same level of sisterly love as before. However, I did have some reservations in a couple of areas.
The plot was predictable – not untypical of a Disney movie – but it’s a fun adventure of discovery. The song “Into the Unknown” foreshadows the ending, which I didn’t mind, but throughout the movie I felt there were several plot lines that felt underdeveloped or dissatisfying.
The truth of the past surrounds the conflict between the Northudra people and the Arendelle soldiers. Anna is on her way to right the wrong to get the spirits to stop being angry, when the Arendelle soldiers block Anna’s path.
I thought this was a perfectly valid conflict in the context of what started the problems in the first place. What I did not like was how the soldiers easily stepped aside for Anna. I understand that she is royalty and the soldiers respect her, but after thirty years of fighting, I expected there to be more of a stand off. If a conflict has been going on for thirty years, then I would expect the soldiers to fight with Anna, stuck in the past. This made the resolution of the plot unsatisfactory for me.
Another plotline was Kristoff and Sven. Kristoff is vying for Anna’s attention trying to surprise her, and although he succeeds in the end, he and Sven are barely a part of the movie. While Olaf joins Elsa and Anna for their big adventure, Kristoff doesn’t show up till the end of the movie. The lack of inclusion in the major plot underwhelmed his character for me.
The last plotline I wasn’t quite sure about the message “but not too far, or you’ll be drowned”. The only way for Elsa to discover the past is to get in trouble. Throughout the movie, Elsa is warned to stay out of trouble, so is the only way to discover the truth is to get into trouble? This little part just didn’t work for me.
Some of the songs in the film were outstanding, but others and the timing of the music I wasn’t so sure about. I found the song “Let it Go” and “Into the Unknown” had a sense of freedom and Olaf’s songs “In Summer” and “When I am older” had the same fun and oblivious tones. It was nice to see the music keep the same atmosphere in both movies, but also have different goals.
There was, however, a song that I don’t think fits the movie quite so well. Unlike the first Frozen, Kristoff gets a song in this film. I was excited when the music started playing for him, but I was not happy with his song “Lost in the Woods”. It sounded like something a boy band would sing, and while it was fun, it took me out of the movie. Kristoff is an awkward guy who is trying to impress the love of his life, but the awkwardness of a boy-band song didn’t mix well with his character. I felt like the outtake song “Get this Right” sung by Kristoff on the Spotify playlist “Frozen 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack/Deluxe Edition)”, fits more of his character. It recounts all the things that he wants to do right but messes up at.
The rest of the music was good, but there was one final bit I didn’t like. The first fifteen minutes of the movie had three songs in it. I do like a good music intro into a film, but this was too much for me. Overall, I did enjoy the music and I do find myself humming “Into the Unknown”.
One of my favourite parts about the film was the animation. Headed by animation manager Lauren Albers, it’s one of the best that I’ve seen. The amount of detailing that went into small scenes or items, such as Elsa and Anna’s clothing is stunning. The designs on their mother’s scarf are intricate with many different small and coloured details. Elsa’s and Anna’s dresses are simple in concept, they move beautifully with the surrounding of their environment, and capture who they are.
A scene that sticks in my mind in terms of the animation is when Elsa battles with the sea. It was quick, but had many details in the water and Elsa’s movements were flawlessly executed. It really looked like the sea and moved like energized waves. I felt like I was in the water with Elsa.
Another one of my favourite things about the film was the world-building. I really love how the film explores another place, unlike the first Frozen, where the film stayed mostly in Arendelle. The Northuldra people, based on the Sami people – an indigenous Scandinavian culture – is a beautiful addition to the film. Although, it would have been nice to have seen more involvement of them in the plot.
I also love how the exploration of the world ties into Elsa’s exploration of her purpose. As part of this journey, Elsa and Anna’s parent’s past is explored which I appreciated as most parents in Disney films are dead or play a minor role with little relevance to the story. This was a refreshing point of the film for me as I felt satisfaction in knowing their past and how it related to the conflict.
Not much has changed with the characters. Kristoff and Sven are still the awkward duo which I enjoy, and Olaf’s addition is more intellectual, but he still has his oblivious and loving nature. Anna has matured a bit in her understanding the risks that this journey may have, and Elsa does begin to when she discovers her purpose. The sisters’ do, however, still have their personalities from the first film – Anna’s quirkiness and Elsa’s nervousness. Overall, I like how there were additions to their characters but kept to the original concepts.
Frozen 2 is not a perfect movie, but it is still enjoyable. It has a different atmosphere than the first movie, making it fresh which I appreciate. The world-building and animation is phenomenal, and although some music choices are questionable, I still enjoyed them. I also like how this this film develops the characters.
The original Frozen had the girls exploring who they were. Frozen 2 is about them finding their purposes. While the plot lines could have been more developed, it was a fun film to sit back and enjoy.
see also Gabriela Delgado’s review