In 2013 the world was introduced to Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell) in the smash-hit animated musical Frozen. Now 6 years later Elsa, Anna, Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Sven and Olaf (Josh Gad) are off in another adventure in Frozen 2.
This time around Arendelle is in danger, the source of the danger is the spirits. These four elements are out of sync and apparently the gang needs to find the bridge between these elements to fix the balance.
If this plot sounds familiar it should, it’s what Aang the Avatar does at several points in his journey in Avatar: The Last Airbender. There’s even mention of a fifth spirit that must be the bridge between all these spirits. That unoriginality aside the plot sees the gang head off into an ancient magical forest hoping to save Arendelle from impending doom. From there they meet new friends, encounter magical beings and discover the origins of Elsa’s magical abilities.
Into the unknown
Music is at the forefront of Frozen 2 just like Frozen. The issue is though it is obvious they are trying to replicate the wonder of “Let it Go”. The new songs are valiant attempts, in particular “Into the Unknown” which is quite emotional and full of that cinematic oomph. There is also “Reindeers Are Better Than People” which is easily the funniest element of the film. The song brought me to tears and I was so happy.
Due to the music being at the centre of the film, and the plot is a somewhat recycled element as well Frozen 2 had to up its game with the visuals and characters.
Thankfully the visuals are gorgeous. The colours are lush and pop onscreen. They are rich and luxurious. There is a scene where Elsa does battle against a storm and it’s full of that visual wonder audiences look for in a film.
I will say though that the majority of the designs are unimpressive. The ancient and magical forest is filled with a lot of swirling colours but it’s not designed anymore interestingly than any other animated forest.
A beautiful world, filled with nothing of substance
So I’ve talked about the songs, and the plot of the beautiful world that is Frozen 2, so what about its people? Honestly apart from the returning cast, nobody new gets anything interesting to do.
There is the fire spirit who at first glance looks like they’ll be a lot of fun and will inject a new level of energy into the film but sadly that potential is lost. Why? The fire spirit is nothing but a new toy to sell to the masses and sadly it will work. I had to continually remind myself that this character added nothing to the film.
There are also the wasted new characters like Sterling K. Browns Lieutenant Destin Mattias, and Rachel Matthews as Honeymaren. Honeymaren is described as “a true free spirit” and “bold and brave” woman who wants to bring peace to the enchanted forest. You see none of this in the film as Honeymaren is in the film for a total of 5 minutes spouting exposition to Elsa.
Ultimately Frozen 2 is a film that doesn’t know what it wants to be. It has no clear message. The “danger” the heroes find themselves in is pedestrian and the expanding of the world doesn’t feel fully realised. The film speaks of change at several points throughout its 103-minute runtime but in the end it felt somewhat hollow.
Frozen 2 is fun, at times emotional and is easily one of the best films Disney has churned out this year. There are sadly many issues that stop it from the heights of its predecessor.
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