Disney has always been known for their stunning animation and character development, dating back to 1928 when “Steamboat Willie” graced the big screen for the first time. Since then, movies such as “Mary Poppins,” “Sleeping Beauty” and even newer blockbusters like “Tangled” and “Frozen” have pushed the boundaries for the Walt Disney Animation Studios. When “Frozen” came out in 2013 (dir. Jennifer Lee/ Chris Buck), no one expected it would become an instant-hit, amassing Golden Globes and Academy Awards. More importantly, it created magic everywhere for little girls and boys who felt heard by Elsa (Idina Menzel), Anna (Kristen Bell) and Olaf (Josh Gad) — which is why everyone was rightfully scared when Disney announced the sequel for “Frozen,” coming out almost six years after the original.
“Frozen II” was released on Nov. 22 and long-time fans flocked to the theaters, hoping to feel the magic that they felt during the first film. For some, it was beyond their wildest expectations. Others hoped for more romance for Elsa or a stronger plotline, but most left the theater in awe of the stunning visuals and darker soundtrack. Disney really hit it out of the park with their show-stopping animation in “Frozen II.”
The plot can be summed up in a few simple sentences. Elsa hears a voice coming from the sky, and tries to follow that voice because she thinks it can answer questions about her powers. Of course, her steadfast sister, Anna, is along for the journey, as well as Olaf, Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and Sven. Even though the plotline sounds a bit outlandish for a sequel, it actually works in a way that builds from the first movie and develops each of the characters in their own way.
The soundtrack for the movie is truly where “Frozen II” shines. We all know “Let it Go” became such a huge success, so it was very hard to top Idina Menzel’s power ballad in the sequel, but they did all that and more in my personal, professional opinion. (I have seen “Frozen II” four times in theaters, and I cried every single time.) Starting with the soft lullaby “All is Found,” we are given more detail into Elsa and Anna’s parents and how the sisters grew up. “Some Things Never Change” is a great group opener and also gives us a glimpse of how life in Arendelle has gone since the end of the first movie.
As the movie progresses, we see Elsa struggling to keep the voice to herself, and Kristoff worried about how he is going to *spoiler* propose to Anna. There is a whole subplot about the treatment of native people and Disney worked carefully to make sure they were portrayed correctly on screen, which is incredibly important to note.
Kristoff gets his own song in this movie, an ‘80s rock love song called “Lost in the Woods.” Though in the grand scheme it felt out of place, as its own scene it was funny and adults will have fun recognizing the nods to actual ‘80s songs. The penultimate song comes after Elsa leaves Anna to find the voice on her own, and she finds herself struggling to get to Ahtohallan, a fictional island that is said to hold the key to her powers. As she comes into her own, she runs onto the island and through the ice caves singing her true power ballad, “Show Yourself.” There are few words to describe this song; it’s most impactful when watching the scene itself as opposed to just on the soundtrack.
Overall, did the movie have some technical plot flaws? Sure. But it was entertaining for fans of all ages, which is a hard feat to achieve nowadays. It’s one of Disney’s most ambitious sequels, and one that doesn’t fall victim to repeating the past. Each of the characters grow in their own way and acknowledges some of their faults. The movie also is one of the darkest I’ve seen Disney go with their princesses, which was so inspiring to see on the big screen. 10/10 for soundtrack, 10/10 for animation and 100/10 for heart.