Do you want to build a snowman? You can’t. Olaf already exists. Let it go. One of Disney’s most high profile “princess” sequels ever is here in the form of Frozen 2 and I got a chance to see it last night. Of course, Elsa’s actually a queen, not a princess. So I guess Anna is the princess? It’s so confusing.
Frozen 2 is a good, but weird movie. It’s very abstract and feels esoteric on the surface. My mind reeled with questions after I finished it, and I still haven’t decided whether there’s a bunch of symbolism I’ve yet to parse, or if it should just be taken as a kids movie without any depth. Maybe it’s even somewhere in between.
The movie does a lot of legwork in the first few minutes to set up (and by set up, I mean retcon) an entire adventure for the sisters of Arendelle. This alone left me with a billion questions. If all of this backstory was true in the first Frozen, then does everything still make sense? What does it mean for the characters who already knew about all this weird magic forest stuff? I don’t know, man. It’s blowing my mind.
But, of course, the movie is charming and engrossing, with beautiful (though perhaps somewhat forgettable) music, amazing animations, and generally likable characters. While Idina Menzel (or Adele Dazeem if you prefer) as Elsa did a lot of the heavy lifting last time, this movie feels more like Kristen Bell’s playground as Anna. She gets more songs to sing, and gives Menzel a true run for her money in the talent department. Anna’s character is also more relatable, while Elsa is just a tad bit outside of the human experience with her magic ice powers, and the movie only pushes her further that direction.
Then there’s the supporting cast. Olaf does Olaf things. Kristoff is still talking to reindeer (which I maintain indicates a mental illness that someone should really look into). And they add a couple of minor cute things to round out the cast. You can never have enough cute things.
More than most Disney movies, I feel like a lot of attention was paid to teaching kids something. At least two songs seem squarely aimed at identifying with the childhood experience and/or growing up to be a good person. This isn’t bad, necessarily, but it does feel like a departure from the norm and can throw you out of the movie sometimes because they’re just a little bit meta.
Also — I think someone just learned how to render water over at Disney animation. They really went wild with the water stuff. There’s one new “character” that’s made of water, and it really is a sight to behold. Some very impressive stuff.
But I just have so many questions. Some of them are spoiler territory, but others aren’t as much. Like — is Elsa always naked now? Is she just wearing ice clothes? Doesn’t that make her super cold to hug (which Anna does frequently)? How did Olaf stay together without the little snow cloud over his head all the time? And so many more. If you watch this movie and want the full list of spoiler questions I have, hit me up.
At the end of the day, Frozen 2 is mostly exactly what you expect. It’s a little bit abstract compared to other Disney fare, and certainly dips heavily into high fantasy, but that might be a refreshing change of pace for some viewers. Kids will love it, of course, and if you’ve got some of those, this is probably already on your must-watch list anyway.
Should you watch it? If you have kids, you pretty much have to, but you should also watch it if you just like a good animated movie
Should you take your kids? Yes; otherwise you have to be like me — the freaky adult in the theater without any kids
What you should watch first: Frozen, though honestly they recap the whole movie for you multiple times, as if they were afraid people might have forgotten what the first Frozen was about