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MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Frozen 2’ even better the second time around

by Jeff DePaoli

In 2013, Walt Disney Animation Studios caught lightning in a bottle with the release of “Frozen.” Can they do it again with “Frozen 2”? In my opinion, they did even better the second time around.

frozen 2

You’re certain to see the aspects you love from the original film, including your favorite characters, catchy tunes, and beautiful landscapes, but they‘re often matured throughout.

Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff are still living happily ever after since the events of the first film, but we see they’ve all grown up a bit. Elsa seems more comfortable in her role as Queen and Anna and Kristoff are more in love than ever before. We learn early on that Kristoff has a ring in his pocket and he’s ready to propose – the trick is finding the right moment.

sven and olaf

Of course, a “Frozen” movie wouldn’t be complete without the trusty sidekicks, Sven and Olaf. The wisecracking snowman has simply become funnier. He actually had me laughing out loud quite a bit throughout the movie. In fact, Olaf stole the movie at one point when he did a one-man performance reenacting the first film. It was a laugh-out-loud showcase that had the audience applauding afterward. It felt like a moment at live theatre, I loved it.

The music of the film is a bit all over the place. There were some songs I really enjoyed, some that I found forgettable, and one that felt out of place.

frozen 2

I’m sure one of the more stressful things about creating a sequel for “Frozen” was the pressure of writing another “Let it Go.” In “Frozen 2,” there are two new songs for Elsa and I feel they hit the “Let it Go” mark with the new song “Into the Unknown.” This is the song your children will be singing until you’re ready for them to let it go. I enjoy the overall melody and orchestrations of this song, but it’s the haunting voice of Norwegian singer Aurora that makes me want to hear it over and over.

Another musical moment that stood out to the audience in attendance was Kristoff’s big number, “Lost in the Woods.” The crowd laughed a lot watching this number and applauded at its conclusion, but I, honestly, was a bit baffled by it. I guess it comes down to a matter of opinion. I certainly appreciated the 80’s glam rock number, but it felt out of place in this movie. It was jarring and “unbelievable.”

Yes, I recognize that a lot of unbelievable things happen in the world of “Frozen,” but I just didn’t buy this one. Although I didn’t love the placement of this song in the movie, it was lovely to hear Jonathan Groff performing as Kristoff in this film, considering this character has very little to sing in the original. 

I think the biggest plus to this movie over the first one was the visuals. The night before going to see “Frozen 2,” I watched the original (conveniently on Disney+), because I don’t think I had sat and watched it all the way through since its theatrical release. If you don’t have a little one in the house who has watched it over and over again, I would suggest you do the same, as this sequel does depend a lot on prior knowledge.

arendelle

Having just watched the first movie, it was easy to see just how much computer animation has advanced in the past six years. The world of Arendelle was much more photo-realistic, the textures felt more tangible, and the water looked spectacular. My favorite season is fall, so I really enjoyed seeing the autumnal earth tones in the world of “Frozen 2.” Any of the landscape shots seen throughout the film could easily be hung on the wall as artwork. It is stunning.

In addition to these truly realistic-looking landscapes, there were quite a few scenes that were very creative and came directly from an artist’s imagination.

frozen 2

Nokk is the water horse you’ve most likely seen in the film’s marketing. This character looked so real I felt I could reach out and touch it, and I didn’t even watch the movie in 3-D. During the previously mentioned song “Into the Unknown,” we see Elsa enter a world surrounded by all black and sparkling lights forming the Nokk and more.

While watching this musical number, the first thing I felt is that this scene specifically was begging to be made into a Disney Parks nighttime spectacular. Perhaps “World of Color: Into the Unknown.” I could absolutely see that happening and based on the visuals in the movie, it would be fitting. Another moment that felt like a theme park attraction was an adventurous boat ride with Anna and Olaf as they’re dodging and being chased by Earth Giants – some new characters you’ll meet.

The big question is, will there be a “Frozen 3?”

Honestly, “Frozen 2” wraps things up very nicely and felt like a conclusion – but so did “Frozen,” so who really knows? What I will say is that “Frozen 2” allows this franchise to live on for a long time with many new character costumes available for merchandising, sequences, and music appropriate for the theme parks and new characters that we could easily see again in some short films.

elsa, anna, kristoff, and sven

Overall, “Frozen 2” was an enjoyable movie that is sure to become an immediate hit for fans of the first film. It had a nice mix of the stuff we know and love while also introducing new mythology and music. There are pleasant plot surprises that I won’t spoil here, but I will note that one of the children attending the movie with me closed his eyes several times throughout because the movie got “too sad.”

“Frozen 2” has a 1 hour and 43-minute run time. Attendees who sit through the credits will not only be treated with a cover of “Into the Unknown” by Panic! at the Disco, but will also enjoy an end-credits scene.

“Frozen 2” hits theaters on Nov. 22. Check out the final trailer below:

Frozen 2 | Official Trailer 2

In the Parks:

You can currently meet Princess Anna and Queen Elsa at many of the Disney Parks, including Walt Disney World with the Royal Summerhaus at Epcot’s Norway Pavilion and in Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure.

For a limited time, guests visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris, Disney California Adventure, or sailing aboard the Disney Cruise Line can catch a sneak peek of “Frozen 2.”

A new seasonal event inspired by “Frozen,” called ‘Frozen Celebration,’ is coming to Disneyland Paris in 2020. A “Frozen”-themed land will be added to Walt Disney Studios Park in the coming years.

The 2019 D23 Expo revealed a new attraction planned for the “Frozen”-themed land coming to Hong Kong Disneyland – a roller coaster called “Wandering Oaken’s Sliding Sleighs.” A copy of Epcot’s “Frozen Ever After” attraction will also open in this new land.


Jeff DePaoli is a voiceover artist and producer living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice of Disney Trivia on Alexa as well as the host of “Dizney Coast to Coast,” the ultimate, unofficial Disney fan podcast. Get your free gift of “America’s Hidden Mickeys: Lesser Known Disney Destinations Around the U.S.A.” at www.DizneyCoastToCoast.com

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