Disney, Film

Disney’s Frozen II is not the sequel we asked for or needed. And it’s still a let down

It’s a bit late for this hot take, but 2019 has been the year of unnecessary and just kind of shitty Disney sequel films. Particularly animated ones. I mean from what I heard even Endgame ended up being a disappointment.’

 

It’s not exactly making me excited for the new Star Wars film, but that isn’t what this blog is about. We’re here to talk about Frozen II. Why they chose Roman numerals is beyond me. To be fair to the film, I never expected a lot out of it in the first place. 

For most of the year, I forgot this movie was even a thing. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it wasn’t on my radar for most of the year. But I will say, out of all the movies Disney has made this is one of the few that could actually use a sequel.

FROZEN 2
In Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen 2, Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven journey far beyond the gates of Arendelle in search of answers. Featuring the voices of Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad, “Frozen 2” opens in U.S. theaters November 22.©2019 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

And they just botch it. The movie doesn’t meaningfully build on anything from the previous film: themes and ideas get all mixed up and it never really manages to establish its own identity. I have never seen a Disney sequel that is so obsessed with being a sequel.

It’s not necessarily a terrible movie. Nor was it a bad idea, but the film simply had too many ideas in it, so none of them really got executed well. The focus needed to be narrower and the pacing needed to be changed, so we didn’t spend 30 minutes setting up the conflict of a 105-minute film. 

There’s so much wasted time in this movie. The film opens with a flashback that neatly lays out the conflict for later in the film. Yay, foreshadowing. The rest of the film takes place about three years after the events of Frozen, and all is well. Nobody seems to have a problem with Elsa ruling, she has her ice powers under control, the gang plays charades every week, and Kristoff is about to Anna.

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And then Elsa begins hearing a voice. She tries to ignore it but somehow ends waking up the elemental spirits, and is forced to evacuate Arendelle. And once again, rather than giving Elsa important information, they send her on a quest to discover the secrets of the kingdom’s past. And to find out the Enchanted Forest closed itself off.

In the forest, the trio plus Sven and Olaf find the Northuldrans, the Indigenous people of the land and small troop of Arendelle soldiers, but that doesn’t matter because despite the fact that Elsa and Honeymaren have a nice interaction and Kristoff seems to have more chemistry with Ryder than he does with Anna in this film, none of them play a really big part.

FROZEN 2
In Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen 2, Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven journey far beyond the gates of Arendelle in search of answers. Featuring the voices of Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad, “Frozen 2” opens in U.S. theaters November 22.©2019 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

The only important thing to know about the Northaldruns is that they’re connected with nature, and have the knowledge that Elsa, who is half-Northaldrun (on her mother’s side), is the fifth element.

It honestly comes across like somebody tried to write a Frozen/Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfic. And it means Elsa’s powers make less sense in context. Like if her powers were a gift…why weren’t her parents more understanding? Honestly, it would have made far more sense to just have her powers be something that happened every thousand years, and the knowledge was lost to the ether.

I don’t mind that Disney included a made-up race of Indigenous people but the association of them with magic, borders on some awkward slightly stereotypical tropes. And also…the film already kind of had representation. I might be mistaken, but I thought Kristoff was supposed to be Saami, a real Indigenous group native to Norway.

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And their story focuses on them getting reparations from Arendellians after their king tried to ripe them out, which is supposed to echo the issues the Native Americans have faced. This isn’t the first time Disney has tried to tackle this topic, Thor: Ragnarök or Star Versus the Forces of Evil both did with varying degrees of success, but here…it doesn’t really work.

It’s awkward because it’s solely Anna and Elsa, who make the reparations. They take responsibility which is good, but there’s no sacrifice. I feel like there should have been a sacrifice, and the two groups people continue to live apart in the end. There doesn’t seem to be any kind of mutual exchange of knowledge or culture. And in this case, Arendelle didn’t exactly steal their land. Elsa and Anna’s grandfather built a dam that he said would help, but in the end purposely harmed the people.

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I don’t know. It just feels like its missing something, even though in the end Anna and Elsa use the privilege to help, it just kind of rings hollow. And neither one of them really embraces their Northuldrun heritage.

Even though Elsa ends up abandoning Arendelle, it’s to become a wanderer, not to connect with her roots,

Why is every Disney movie these days so hellbent on separating the protagonists? That’s not a happy ending Disney. It’s not sad either. It may be “realistic” but it lacks narrative cohesion. Especially here. Elsa had no reason to be on her own.

And how is Anna a better ruler? But that is beside the point. One of the worse things about this movie is that it feels the need to reference the original every ten minutes. We all know what happens in the movie. 

We don’t need to be reminded about “Let It Go” or how much of a dick Hans was every other scene. And we didn’t need a two and a half minute long recap of the events as told by Olaf 45 minutes in.

It just completely ruins the pacing and the tone. And it stopped being funny after about 30 seconds. It just got exhausting.

The music was nice. Slightly more cohesive than the previous film. But two of the songs were so obviously trying to capitalize on “Let It Go’s” success.

Elsa in Frozen 2Credit: Disney
Elsa in Frozen 2 Credit: Disney

The first song, “Into the Unknown,” is indeed a very good song, but it basically deals with the same ideals and themes as “Let It Go.” And to be honest, the lyrics just aren’t as memorable. I don’t really recall the song at all.“Show Yourself,” is another Elsa ballad. And while the lyrics didn’t stick out to me, the visuals directly mirrored that of “Let It Go.” I actually liked that. The entire scene was stunning.

 But still…All the other songs are pretty forgettable except for Kristoff’s “Lost in the Woods,” which is bizarre.

It has the visuals of 80s/90s love ballad music video complete with random closeups and fade outs of Kristoff’s face. It doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the movie. It’s fun, but tonally it feels awkward and forced. And it’s also at that point the film completely drops Kristoff, until the end.

Don’t get me wrong, the kids in the theater loved it. And parts of it, like the Black Sea, were visually interesting. But the who;e thing was just hollow and soulless.

Look Disney, I fully understand why you gave your highest grossing animated movie of the decade a sequel. You don’t have to justify that. But…even though you seemingly own the movie market now, doesn’t mean you’re allowed to make it shit. And make no sense when watched alongside the original.

And that’s the scoop.

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Score: 5/10

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Year of release: 2019

Length: 105 minutes

Directors: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee

Producer: Peter Del Vecho

Screenplay Writer: Jennifer Lee

Story by: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Marc E. Smith[2] Kristen Anderson-Lopez[2 Robert Lopez[2

Voice Actors: Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad

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If you liked this review read: ‘Toy Story 4’ like Forky, is kind of trash

 

5 thoughts on “Disney’s Frozen II is not the sequel we asked for or needed. And it’s still a let down”

  1. Thank you. I really enjoy these genuine reviews. Disney has been a mess in the cinema for over a decade to me. More people should be able to see past the bells and whistles.

  2. I heard the sequel was very underwhelming even though I was never a Frozen fan to begin with. 2019 was such a year where Disney pimped out so many franchises to such insane levels with sequels and remakes. I certainly don’t need to mention which other examples there. It also blew my mind that Disney got sued for plagiarism for the first movie for their teaser trailer ripping off The Snowman short if you’ve heard that story before.

    Funny enough, I have been talking about Disney a bit in a critical sense online or offline including a recent review I did about the documentary Mickey Mouse Monopoly for example. https://iridiumeye.wordpress.com/2021/04/17/mickey-mouse-monopoly-review/

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