Movie Review: Frozen 2 (2019)

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Summary: Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven leave Arendelle to travel to an ancient, autumn-bound forest of an enchanted land. They set out to find the origin of Elsa’s powers in order to save their kingdom.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Idina Menzel as Elsa.  She is the Queen of Arendelle, Anna’s older sister and has magical ice powers. This movie picks up about a year after the first movie, she’s fallen a little better into her role as Queen but there is still something not quite clicking for her. She still feels out of place, as if she doesn’t belong and this is shown when she realizes she’s hearing this musical call. She doesn’t know who or what it is but after singing “Into the Unknown” and something happening to the Kingdom, she decides to find out just what is going on. Throughout the movie, she learns little things about her family’s past and about herself. This movie really focuses on Elsa’s journey to discovering who she is and where she truly belongs, especially now that she is more confident in her powers and using them. Idina Menzel does a great job in voicing Elsa. She’s very quiet and reserved and Idina’s voice is soft and she does great line reading for the character, particularly in emotional moments or when she’s talking to Anna. I love the sisterhood we see between Elsa and Anna and that’s it so much stronger here which is natural. I also love how Elsa interacts with Kristoff being that he’s important to her sister (though I wished they’d interact more). I just like her journey throughout this movie of discovering herself. Frozen was about her coming to terms with her magic and this is about her coming to terms with where she belongs.
  • Kristen Bell as Anna. Anna is Elsa’s younger sister and she’s the opposite of Elsa when it comes to her personality. She’s outgoing, outspoken, full of energy, awkward and clumsy but it works for her. She’s endearing. She adores her sister and is protective that she would do anything to make sure she and Elsa don’t fall apart again. I understood that. At the same time, she’s dating Kristoff and they have a great rapport as well. I thought Frozen was about her more than Elsa (Who was the catalyst) but in this she’s taken on a supporting role which is fine but she’s still fierce in her decisions. Kristen Bell is amazing as Anna. Her personality and delivery shines through for this character and I cannot imagine anyone else playing this role. Plus, her “The Next Right Thing” solo is lovely, and I teared up.
  • Jonathan Groff as Kristoff and Sven. He is an iceman and Anna’s boyfriend. In this movie, he’s playing that supportive role, but he has his own plot in this movie of trying to figure out the best way to propose to Anna, but she’s distracted with everything else going on. Not to mention, he’s not good at trying to be overly romantic in his proposal. He has some great lines though that I remember being like “best boyfriend ever”. He says things like “my love isn’t fragile” or when Anna needed help, he helps her and says, “I’m here, what do you need?” without asking a single question of “what are you doing out here?” or anything like that. I was like yesssss. I loved it. He might be worried, but he never hinders Anna’s personality. I like Groff a lot, he’s so likable and his delivery for Kristoff is so much fun and I like his kind of mellow/chill personality.
  • Josh Gad as Olaf. I think Josh Gad is funny most of the time, I like how he delivers lines for Olaf and I do think Olaf is funny and he is likable but there are times where I just don’t need him to interject anything. He has that kind of tendency of being annoying. It’s not all the time but I do feel that way. I did tear up a little during a scene with him later in the film, the music played during that sequence was lovely. In this, his existential thoughts are about growing up and water having memory. It was funny most times lol.
Supporting Characters. We meet a lot of new characters as well as seeing some returning ones. Their parents return with more lines and a bit more personality. We often talk about their bad parenting when it came to Elsa in the first movie, so seeing them like this, allows the audience to see that they were trying.
Arendelle People 
  • Evan Rachel Wood as Queen Iduna. I’ve always liked ERW and I was surprised at her singing in this film with her lullaby and a song she sings later with Idina Menzel. But she carries that motherly tone with her daughters, and I would have loved to see more of her to be honest.
  • Alfred Molina as King Agnarr. We learn a little more about him and Alfred Molina’s voice was perfect, and I wouldn’t mind learning more about him too.
  • Sterling K. Brown as Lieutenant Destin Mattias. He has such a distinct voice and I like him a lot (even though I always remember him as the bad guy from Supernatural lol) but he was the Captain of the soldiers from Arendelle. His role is very much supporting but if they do a third one, I expect to see him.
The Northuldra Tribe 
  • Martha Plimpton as Yelana. She was cool, she’s the leader of the tribe and clearly cares a lot about them. She acts as a guide in ways to Elsa in giving her advice. If we get a third film, I would like to see more of her.
  • Jason Ritter as Ryder. He is Honeymaren’s brother and shares Kristoff’s love for reindeer and I liked him a lot. He was energetic, funny and I think he and Kristoff would have a great friendship since Kristoff is surrounded by women lol.
  • Rachel Matthews as Honeymaren. You’ll probably see a ton of articles about her but at least in this movie, there’s not much there. She seems cool in that she wants to bring peace to the Enchanted Forest but it’s not like she’s a major supporting character nor did we see anything that interesting about her so I personally think the articles are reaching BUT if they give her more to do in the third movie, where it makes sense then sure. I’m down.
Amazing Music. I think the music in this film is so good. I listened to the soundtrack for a while after I saw the movie and I think it’s beautiful. The actual songs are beautifully sung, and I thought a lot more complex than the ones in the first one. Don’t get me wrong, I love the songs in the first one, but I thought these were more emotional and heartfelt. The Lullaby song that Evan Rachel Wood sings is lovely, she also sings with Menzel with “Show Yourself” and I did not she could sing like that. “Into the Unknown” and “Show Yourself” are showstoppers and I thought both were better than “Let It Go” and Idina Menzel shows out on both those songs. Kristen Bell has a beautiful and emotional solo “The Next Right Thing” which I did tear up on. I thought it was a disservice to Jonathan Groff in the first movie at not having a real song since he has an amazing voice but he gets that here in “Lost in the Woods” which the sequence in the film is literally the best in that the adults in my theater were cracking up because it was filmed like a 90’s boy band music video. The best. The instrumentals are amazing as well. Aurora is a young singer and you hear her throughout the movie as she is the voice of this high-pitched singing call. Beautiful.
Beautiful Animation. There is a clear upgrade in the animation from the 2012 film to now. I think it’s obvious, particularly with Elsa’s magic and that scene on the water. The water looks so real when it cuts to that scene of Elsa on the beach. It’s so amazing.
I also think both Anna and Elsa’s animation has allowed us to see they’re older and their clothes. I mean, Elsa has a dress where it looks like it’s bleeding out of her skin. Amazing! Then the musical sequences, “Show Yourself” and “Into the Unknown” really allow for them to show off AND the spirits too.  Beautiful. I saw the film in Dolby which does allow for great sound, but the screen is also brighter, and the colors really pop. I think it’s worth seeing it like that.
Interesting Story. So, the story is really interesting. The idea that something is calling to Elsa and she must figure out who or what it is I like that a lot because it’s mysterious. So, there’s that plot. Then Kristoff is trying to propose to Anna but she’s not paying attention because she’s worried about her sister and I like that, it’s cute. It’s like an episode filler but it’s cute. Then there’s this other stuff with their parents… and there are so many interesting threads we get introduced to and I was into them.
Cons:
Narrative Issues. I don’t think the story is boring by any means, the problem I found that it’s not as tight as it probably should have been. It’s a very interesting story, I was very eager to understand and to find things out, but I found that there was a skeleton but not much flesh, but the idea of the flesh was so interesting, I felt let down once I saw it not quite land the way it should have. Especially after seeing that amazing teaser trailer with Elsa trying to get over the water. I think there was a lot of threads that just didn’t connect in the best way.
Story Slows Down. There are points in the movie where the pacing slows down and I remember going “Okay, let’s get back to the story now” and I don’t know why it does that because the story is very interesting. I liked a lot of what was setup with the stakes and consequences but there are times when it shifts focus to a side plot, which I liked, but it felt like a filler episode. It just gets very excited to include all this stuff, but it feels incoherent.
No Consequences/The Ending. Sooooo, there are a few elements that happen in this movie that left me questioning the consequences of the actions that people make. For example, once Elsa uses her magic to alert Anna about something that happened in the past, which while I get her powers are growing, I thought it was a little weird how she could just recreate moments with her powers (you’ll see what I mean), Anna makes this decision at the end, I mean it was a big decision and I wonder what would the fallout have been like. Then later, Elsa stops Anna’s decision with her powers and that’s just it. Yes, she has a reason to why it works but it was a deus ex machina and I guess I wanted them to really go through with it. But at the end of all that, Elsa makes another big decision and I get it and respect it but what does that mean for her?
Some Questions. I have a few questions about things that just happen without a real explanation why. For example, after Elsa has this great second musical sequence later in the film, she goes into this lower chamber and something happens to her that just happens out of the blue. There was no explanation as to why it happened, there was no warning that it would happen, and she seemed just as shocked as I was. It would have been cool if it was explained why it happened to her of all people. I’m trying not to spoil anything but there’s some magical stuff that happens with a group of people and I need to know if the forest affects time. But if it affects time, how did people actually grow up there? I just… I need some clarification. I need to see the footnotes of the script lol. Also, Elsa’s powers are growing, that’s cool, but the whole thing of “water has memory” was such a big thing and while it was cool, I feel like it shouldn’t have been something that she could do until after the “Show Yourself” scene when we really see her come into her magic. *sighs* I just have so many just questions.
Overall, I loved watching Frozen II. I really enjoyed myself. I think it’s a great movie to watch for anyone who liked the first one and even if you didn’t like the first one, I think there is a lot to like in the sequel. All the main characters (except for Hans) has returned and I like them all, with a like/dislike relationship for Olaf lol. I love the sisterhood between Anna and Elsa and Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell really work well together and play their characters well. Kristoff is still likable, and I think he and Anna are great, he has some great strong moments when it comes to romance and his love for her. The music is fantastic, and I think a lot better than in the first one. The animation clearly had an upgrade and we had an interesting story to watch unfold. Now, with that said, I think the story does leave a lot to be desired in that it needed more tweaks, it has some pacing issues in the second act and there were some choices made that I thought were without true consequences. It’s really a narrative issue for me with this movie. But in the end, Frozen II is a really good sequel, it’s worth the watch in the theaters. I saw it in Dolby, and I think that’s a great way to appreciate the animation and the music.
Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Frozen II? What are your thoughts? Is it better than Frozen? Let me know in the comments below!
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