Cast: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad and Jonathan Groff
Directed by: Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck
Written by: Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck, Marc Smith, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
After six years, Disney’s highly anticipated sequel to the box office smash hit ‘Frozen’ has finally landed in cinemas. With such a successful first film there were always going to be challenges, the first was so magical and empowering which quickly built an enormous fan base.They developed brilliantly funny and charming characters, expressing the importance of friendship, courage and determination as well a songs that will stay in your head for days (whether you want them to or not…) and as a fan of the first film, I was very hesitant when I heard they were making a second. The trailers didn’t give a lot away, any interviews or reviews of the second film before it’s release branded it ‘better than the original’ and with ‘even catchier songs’. I allowed myself to believe that maybe Disney had pulled it off, this, most likely was my first stumbling block, in getting rid of any natural uncertainty I had very high hopes and they weren’t quite satisfied.
The story takes our heroes on an adventure to the enchanted forest to figure out why Elsa feels called there and to see if they could discover why she was born with her powers. As with the first film we see themes of family, loyalty, friendship and love alongside sacrifice. You can’t fault the values of a film that empowers a generation of children to love fiercely and cherish friendship. This sequel continues these themes clearly and in a way that children can understand. I’m a sucker for a love story, and one thing that the original film was praised so highly for was highlighting the love of a sister over the ‘love’ of a man Anna just met. By the end of the first film any romantics out there are fully rooting for the relationship that’s developing between Kristoff and Anna. Frozen 2 gives just enough to keep the romantics happy as we see their relationship growing while facing and overcoming challenges without it being the primary focus of the story. The writers deserve credit here, I imagine that it would have been easy for this to be a massive focus of the story but they managed to keep the tone and underlying messages of the first movie while still giving a nod their relationship.
As with many sequels Frozen 2 is somewhat darker than the original. It carries a slightly more mature storyline and I actually felt that some of the younger audiences might find parts of it quite difficult to follow as there are a lot of flashbacks and ‘imagination’ sequences. Having said that it’s not complex, it wont leave children asking a whole load of questions on the way home. The darker elements are, however, balanced out nicely with humour. Mostly down to the character of Olaf who, whether you loved or hated him in the first movie, completely steals the show with his hilarious one liners in the second.
You can’t discuss anything to do with Frozen without acknowledging the music. ‘Let it go’ was the breakout hit of the first film, and, in my opinion, the whole soundtrack of the first film was really strong. The music really played a part in the story be it comical and lighthearted or powerful like the aforementioned ballad. The first thing I noticed in the soundtrack of the second movie was how ballad heavy it was, there are a couple of lighthearted fun songs near the beginning but it gets pretty heavy quite quickly. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for me the format felt like song-story-song-story rather than using the music to assist in the storytelling. There is a nice little nostalgic throwback in the bringing back of ‘reindeers are better than people’ and it was great to see the movie using the phenomenal vocal talents of broadway star Jonathan Groff, who voices Kristoff, in giving him his own song. There’s been a lot of speculation but all we can do wait and see which song pushes through as this movies ‘big hit’.
I have to be fair. I have seen the original more times than an adult without children probably should have. Because of this I learnt the songs very quickly, I discovered hilarious little quirks written in that I might have missed had I only seen it once as I have done the sequel. But this one didn’t hit the mark for me, but I am fully aware that this is probably down to my naive hope that it might actually surpass the original. I’m sure i’ll watch it again and, maybe, I’ll enjoy it more. On a whole it is a well presented animation carrying strong themes with good and important values, it empowers individuals and is entertaining enough. I have no doubts that it will be another box office smash hit and will have adults and children alike all singing along to the soundtrack within a matter of weeks.