Amelie Lee ’23
Copy Editor Intern
When Frozen came out in 2013, middle-school me rewatched the movie three times in theaters, enraptured by the unforgettable music and emotional relationship of Anna and Elsa. Sitting in the Claremont movie theater six years later, surrounded by excited college students and a few dressed-up children, those enraptured feelings came back while watching Frozen II, whose gorgeous animation and unexpectedly heavy plot kept college-me just as compelled.
With dramatic family conflict and refreshingly sharp humor, Frozen II delivers what audiences loved from the original: an emotional tale of love, family and talking snowmen. While the story of Frozen didn’t necessarily need to be expanded, Disney’s most recent money-grab still creates a compelling story to watch on the big screen. The movie follows the sisters (Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Olaf (Josh Gad) and Sven as they search for answers to Arendelle’s past, raising questions about their country’s treatment of the indiginous tribe Northuldra as they explore a magical forest with hostile nature spirits. While the plot wasn’t nearly as airtight and structured as the original, the additional complexities allow the audience to reconsider the morality of historical leadership—a surprisingly complicated theme in line with more adult Disney works such as “Thor Ragnarok” or “Captain Marvel.”
The first half of the movie was pleasantly paced, allowing the audience to figure out the woods’ mystery along with our beloved characters. Frozen II is visually gorgeous, with red and yellow leaves and icy oceans filling the big screen with truly beautiful animation of the world around Arendelle. I was completely hooked in the enchanted forest and the new characters it presented.
However, as the movie continued, I found myself wishing that some of the storyline were more fleshed out in the second half. As a two hour children’s movie, it’s difficult to expect every plot-point to be addressed, but I left the theater a bit unsatisfied with Kristoff’s character arc, with his problems magically disappearing as the story winds down from its climax. Additionally, while the idea of Arendelle having to sacrifice their country to repair damage to the Northuldra people was brought up, the movie never fully follows through, leaving a confusing moral lesson about reparations and the responsibility of historical predators. Predictably, the talking snowman and magical queen move quickly past this, with Frozen II spending more time on the movie’s sublime soundtrack instead.
While these new tracks will not become instant classics like “Love is an Open Door” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” the soundtrack of Frozen II doesn’t disappoint, with catchy music that fits the storyline and stays in your head for days afterwards. The movie starts with the enchanting lullaby “All is Found,” setting the stage for Anna and Elsa’s new mystical adventure. “Some Things Never Change” is a fantastic upbeat reintroduction to Arendelle, and Elsa’s two new solos showcase Menzels’ impressive range, rivaling the iconic “Let it Go.” However, Kristoff’s song is by far the most memorable, with “Lost in the Woods” causing non-stop laughter from the audience for the entirety of its performance. A perfectly cheesy 80’s power ballad complete with reindeer backup singers and dramatic boy band poses, the song is perhaps the most enjoyable moment of the entire movie.
Kristoff’s scene is an example of Frozen II’s best quality: its humor. While Olaf was a slightly annoying quirky comic relief in the original, he steals the spotlight in the sequel— every scene he is in is hilarious. From reenacting the entirety of the original movie to his jokes about the crises of adulthood, Olaf is much more than a slapstick sidekick in the new movie, giving the movie’s adult audience witty and existential quips to enjoy.
Overall, Frozen II accomplished what it set out to do, building an intriguing new world for children to see their favorite characters in and painting it’s now-older audience a complex portrait of historical responsibility. While I might not be Disney’s target demographic, Frozen II left me just as excited and unbearably prone to bursting out in song as the first.