Six years isn’t nearly enough time to wait in between Frozen sequels. The first film is this formulaically infectious cash cow that every parent was violently forced to throw their hard earned money at because none of their pigheaded offspring knew how to, “let it go.”
You may be quick to point out that a 35-year-old man isn’t the key demographic for Frozen II, but I am a major fan of animation. I love Studio Ghibli, I enjoy the majority of Pixar’s work, Moana, Wreck-It Ralph, and Zootopia are all outstanding, and Cartoon Network is about the only television channel I’d fight tooth and nail for to have on a regular basis.
Despite Disney and singing being a duo that has collaborated long before many of us reading this were born, Frozen felt like it had far too many songs. Everyone seemed to sing about everything, comedic relief isn’t funny (you are just terrible, Olaf), and Marshmallow is the only redeemable character in the entire film; he growled at everything, threw people around, and didn’t say or sing much. What’s not to like?
Only three years have passed for the inhabitants of Arendelle and everyone seems to be in the middle of currently residing in their happily ever after; Kristoff intends to propose to Anna and Olaf fully embraces his unnecessary immortality and is convinced that everything that happens will only make sense when he’s older. But Elsa feels out of place and is beckoned by what sounds like a siren’s call from the forest.
A strange mist has hidden the enchanted forest and everything within it for as long as Elsa and Anna can remember and Elsa believes that the forest spirits are calling to her so she can finally do something other than make ice cubes and ice sculptures all day long. With an origin that has ties to their parents, Elsa and Anna along with Kristoff and Olaf travel to the forest in hopes of discovering why Elsa has her magical frigid gift to begin with.
The highlight of Frozen II is the forest spirits, which are broken down into the four elements we’ve all become accustomed to over the years by different movies and TV shows. The Nokk is a water horse that is only able to walk on land when Elsa uses her ice powers to freeze it, Bruni is an adorable blue salamander that controls fire, Gale is the name given to the wind/gust spirit by Olaf, and then there are Earth Giants who are basically just grumpy boulders. The big “mystery” in Frozen II is that there is a fifth element that no one can seem to figure out.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the forest spirits is that none of them sing and none of them talk in an annoying voice or try to be overwhelming with their subpar humor. The Nokk generally just looks cool and neighs like a horse from time to time, Gale blows things around, and the Earth Giants are slow and stompy kaiju that groan from time to time and sleep when nothing is going on. The highlight is Bruni, who basically has the curiosity of a cat and zips around at crazy speeds. Elsa’s ice is cool and soothing to him, so he takes a liking to her right away and is the required amount of cuteness expected in an animated Disney film.
Panic! At the Disco’s cover of “Into the Unknown,” which plays over the end credits is actually really good. It helps if you’re a fan of Panic’s other work or Brendan Urie’s voice, but it actually surpasses the version used in the film which can’t be said about Weezer’s mediocre cover of, “Lost in the Woods.” It’s a shame about Weezer too since “The End of the Game” from next year’s Van Weezer is so great and even the Green Eggs and Ham theme that Rivers did for Netflix, “Backflip,” is crazy catchy and a lot of fun.
Maybe this started in the first Frozen film, but Kristoff is now talking for Sven as if he can read his thoughts or something; like a cat or dog owner that talks in a baby voice to vocalize the pets wants and needs. It seems to be a bit much in the sequel and somehow culminates in a family friendly bestiality joke if there ever was such a thing. Kristoff has several failed attempts at proposing to Anna where she always interrupts him thinking he’s trying to insult her and it’s as unfunny as it sounds and only gets worse after the half a dozen times it occurs. Kristoff’s song, which is “Lost in the Woods,” is this weird 80s music video homage complete with reindeer backup vocals and Queen and REO Speedwagon references.
Meanwhile, Olaf is taking everything in stride because while things are scary and hectic right now he’s convinced it’ll all make sense when he’s older. Olaf is obsessed with this future version of himself that is so knowledgeable because he hypothetically has made sense of everything since he’s had time to digest and decompress it all. The beginning of the film is teasing that the more things change the more they stay the same and, surprise, they even have a song about it.
Don’t worry if you don’t remember everything that happened in the first film; Olaf recaps it all in this one-snowman performance of it all. The problem is if you don’t see Olaf as comedy relief, then his existence is not only torturous but also unnecessary. He really doesn’t do anything in Frozen II that would warrant him sticking around forever. Sven should bite off his carrot nose already and be done with it.
Frozen II has this half-hearted concept that feels like a cheap alteration to the likes of Captain Planet, The Fifth Element, and Princess Mononoke. If we’re comparing animated musicals that came out in 2019, Steven Universe: The Movie is so much more satisfying; it somehow has more songs and a shorter duration but has more of an emotional impact and feels like a journey worth taking despite a season finale that seemed to wrap up most loose ends. Frozen II is absolutely a continuation of what was started in the first film, but the songs are just as bland and the adventure seems just as fruitless. A few new characters, a new dress, and a reindeer sing-a-long aren’t worth a 103 minute strained serenade of monotonous fluff.
- The other forest spirits.
- The end credits.
- Songs are weak and uninspired.
- Story feels like a ripoff of better films.
- Olaf is seriously the worst.