Can we be honest for a second? Let It Go isn’t that great a song. It’s a repetitive song that gets stuck in your head. That doesn’t make it the best ever. That makes it unforgettable. Now, I’m not trashing the song. There is something good about it but you’d think it was the best composition to come out of Disney film. Yes, it sounds great and really evokes the film. But compare it to the stuff Disney was churning out in the 90s and you’ll realise it’s not all that. Now, I didn’t want to start this review off in a negative way. I’m trying to present a more positive attitude on the blog these days. But I read a review of this film the other day that annoyed me. It suggested that the big song from Frozen‘s sequel, Into The Unknown, wasn’t as good as the first film’s earworm because it repeated the title 3 times in a row. As if Let It Go wasn’t repetitive because it only repeated the title twice in a row. God almighty! What is the deal with that song? I know it’s got a really positive message but that’s not the reason it was played repeatedly. People see it through such rose-tinted glasses. It annoyed me so much that I almost didn’t want to see the sequel. But I owed my friend for making her see the godawful Joker earlier in the year.
It’s been 6 whole years since Frozen came out. In those years, a lot has changed for Disney in terms of their animation. I just want to get this out of the way early but this film looked fucking gorgeous. 6 years doesn’t seem like a long time but the change is breathtaking. The tiny details are amazing. You just need to compare Elsa’s hair in both films to see how fantastic the animation is. And more than being technically better, the film has more fun with the imagery. Some sequences add a touch of fun and style that the original film lacked. The musical numbers become more like music videos and then there are some really powerful scenes. It draws on the spiritual nature of the narrative and the animation becomes such an important aspect of the storytelling. It’s incredible.
However, the animation isn’t enough to hide the fact that the narrative just isn’t perfect. This is a much more complicated story with loads of subplots branching off from it. You do have to give the writers credit for trying to make a more mature film. They understand that the children who loved the original film are now 6 years older and have tried to cater for everybody. It’s great that they include the idea of maturity and the existential issues that come along with that. However, it just feels like there is too much else going on. It’s too expansive. This is a film that introduces us to a new part of the sisters’ history as well as a new mythical history to this world. There is too much to introduce and the story gets bogged down. It looked particularly bloated in comparison to the streamlined first film.
6 years after she first found control over her powers, Elsa is ruling Arendelle but she still doesn’t feel as though she belongs. So, when a mysterious voice starts calling to her, she takes it as a sign that she isn’t in the right place. When Arendelle is put in danger, Elsa and Anna head out on a mission to discover where the voice is coming from. The sisters suspect that it has something to do with the enchanted forest that their parents told them about years ago. Something awful happened there years ago and the forest has remained sealed ever since. Can they find out what happened to the forest all of those years ago and reverse it before Arendelle falls?
There are parts of the new mythology that are really exciting but there is a lot of exposition to get through. Most of the film is just telling us about something that happened in the past. Then we slowly move to where we need to be before the final act races to its conclusion. There’s just a lot of word building needed here and it just isn’t done in a very slick way. It made me wonder how much a young audience would keep up or care with a lot of the story.
Although, they do have plenty to keep them entertained. Everybody’s favourite anthropomorphised snowman, Olaf, is back being all silly. And Sven, the reindeer, still has some great moments with his owner Kristoff. At times it feels as though there are a lot of unconnected moments of forced hilarity in the hope that it will keep audiences more engaged than the plot. Still, these are the moments that will speak to the younger audience so who am I to judge? The good thing about seeing this in a cinema full of children is that you can see how much they love the silly things. Who am I kidding? My friend was laughing louder than most of them.
I think there is a lot about Frozen 2 that is better than the original. It looks great and, personally, I think the songs are better. There are some really fun ones and they span different genres. And they are really well composed. I’ve been listening to both soundtracks almost non-stop since I saw the film and, I have to admit, I’m skipping more of the first film’s songs than the second’s. My ultimate favourites are Elsa’s Into the Unknown and Kristoff’s power ballad Lost in the Woods. I also think the sequel includes more than enough of the central dynamic that made the first film so progressive. This is still a film about sisterhood and the importance of working together. It’s an uplifting and charming film. The fact that it’s not as good as it’s predecessor doesn’t make it bad. It just makes it a sequel. And as Disney sequels go, this is definitely one of the tops.