Review: Frozen 2

Frozen 2 (2019)
Dirs: Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee

Everyone knows that you shouldn’t really refreeze things once they’ve defrosted, they aren’t quite the same. In this case, though, how could Disney possibly resist going back to Arandelle after the first ‘Frozen‘ was such a success?

Anna and Elsa (Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel) have to venture out of Arendelle in search of a mysterious voice that’s calling them from another Kingdom, with which theirs shares some forgotten history.

Aspects of the storytelling here struck me as really good. The way the story expands the world beyond Arendelle and slightly into building a wider fairytale universe felt like a smart move, opening a world of possibilities.

Returning to these beloved characters, we get to see them moving on in their lives. It doesn’t pick up directly after the first film, enough time has passed and situations have developed to show that the characters are adapting to their new circumstances. It’s nice to see that in animated films and as character development and growth are central to the plot of the first film, there’s something really satisfying from seeing how that’s continuing, even between movies. It’s pretty clear where the next film is likely to go, with something that Disney classics of the past would’ve used as their final scene. The new characters introduced in this film, however, don’t come up to the same level as the returning ones. No new character jumped out at me as a new favourite, which is a bit of a shame, none had a lasting impact, I can’t remember any of their names or much about them, but that’s probably because the film leans heavily on those we already know and love. 

Funnily, days before seeing this I’d been watching the first season of ‘Central Park‘ (it’s superb), which features the voices of both Josh Gad and Kristen Bell. Every time Gad’s character Birdy was singing in that, I couldn’t help but think of Olaf, his voice is so distinctive. Sadly though, I think the other weakness of this sequel is that the songs are far less memorable, none have really stuck in my head.

When people reference ‘Frozen‘ musically, it’s still ‘Let It Go’ or ‘Do You Wanna Build A Snowman’ that they start singing, or maybe that’s just me? This sequel hasn’t spawned a new ear-worm phenomenon that is so replayed it makes you sick, which I suppose is a good thing, but it was key to the original’s enduring legacy. ‘Into the Unknown’ was the song that got an Oscar nomination this time around, it’s good, within the context of the film, the song works, again coming at a pivotal moment for Elsa when she’s pushing beyond her comfort zone, but it’s nowhere near as anthemic or empowering. I love the unexpected choice of Brandon Urie for the ‘pop’ version, he’s an incredible vocalist, but no version of the song has endured in the zeitgeist for the past couple of years. 

I do think there will be a ‘Frozen 3’ in a few years, there’s an albeit-obvious story ready to write and I’m confident that songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez have got plenty more songs in them. I hope the third film will develop these characters in ways that are not necessarily bigger or more memorable, but hopefully, deeper and more emotional, both in story and songs. 

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