When they made Frozen, they started out going in one direction, and then completely turned around and went in another. It shows, but the narrative they put together, complete with the cast and the soundtrack, was pretty phenomenal anyway.
They did not do that with Frozen II, or, at least, not that I can tell. So far as I can see, they sat down and created a single coherent story to develop the world and the characters within it, as well as their relationships. It’s pretty well done and pretty fun!
The story once again follows Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven, this time as they journey a ways north. The reason? Because something is calling to Elsa, and reaching out to her as shadows of the past loom over her kingdom, her people, and her family. So off they go, into the unknown, to uncover the truth that was lost behind a wall of mist. What they find, what they do, and what they choose will change them and their futures forever.
Change is a big part of the movie. Growing up necessarily involves a great deal of change, and nothing stays as it is forever. Olaf very much wants to grow up and know everything, Elsa has a destiny greater than she ever thought, Kristoff wants to make a single, particularly pivotal change to his life and his relationship with Anna, while Anna tries to keep things the same, to keep her family safe, but must eventually come to terms with how impermanent almost everything is, with exception to love. And even that, I would say, can transform and grow.
However, that change is almost always painful in some way, and there is no set path towards one’s eventual destination. Often, quite often, reaching towards a light demands stepping through the darkness, taking risks, making hard choices, and enduring sacrifice and loss. The distant scene can be overwhelming and obscure and frightening, so we need to focus on our very next step, the next right thing we can do. We often go too far, delve too deep, and drown in the cold, empty, dark, but that does not mean we can’t rise again, into an even greater light than we ever knew before.
In short, it deals with basic human fears and insecurities in an entertaining way.
And I have to say, I like Frozen a good deal more for how it developed Anna and Elsa in such a way that they were ready for the challenges of Frozen II. I mean, if they’d not matured in their first adventure, they would never have made it through their second. The first movie was about two girls growing up to face the world, while the second is about two women actually facing the world.
Fittingly, the relationship between the two sisters is developed and strengthened as well. They aren’t the same, but they are strong, each in their own way, and they support one another. One might fear that the bond between them might break as it changes, but it only grows all the stronger. So strong that they are more like two sides of the same coin, or, rather, two ends of a bridge, forging connections between peoples and between humans and spirits as much as between each other.
The movie is, perhaps, a little heavy on both the songs and flashbacks, the mysteries are pretty easy to guess, and Kristoff’s arc was fairly minimal. Yet the music is generally quite beautiful (“Into the Unknown” has particularly gotten under my skin). The flashbacks actually all tie the story together as this being the culmination of not only Anna and Elsa’s story thus far, but of many stories which are older than they are. The resolution of the mysteries still felt worthwhile. And Kristoff… well, what can I say? It takes a bit of time to get the most important choice in one’s life right. 😉 And at least this time he really was in the right place at the right time to save his lady love’s life! Go, reindeer-boy! 🙂
One final thing I found interesting was the absence of a villain. That seems to be an emerging pattern, actually. Frozen played a little trick by turning its prince into the villain for the final act, Moana had monsters and adversaries, but final one wasn’t really a villain at all, and Ralph Breaks the Internet had a threat in the form of Raplph’s insecurities given physical form, but not really any villain at all. Now Frozen II had pretty much no villain at all. The closest we got to that was the echo of a foul, treacherous deed committed long ago, one which set everything since into motion.
An interesting pattern begins to form, doesn’t it?
Oh, and I very much appreciate the attention they gave to the Scandinavian aspect of the culture, as seen in so many of the details, from the food, to the clothing, to the dwellings and music of the reindeer-herders. My mother is Norwegian, and she took special delight in that! 🙂
At about an hour and a half long, Frozen II is a fun little adventure for the whole family, spellbinding and hinarious (it makes fun of itself, too!), yet also serious and significant. I enjoyed it very much, and highly recommend it. It will definitely find its way into my personal library. 🙂
Rating: 9 stars out of 10.