The phenomenon continues: A review of ‘Frozen II’

In 2013, Disney released “Frozen,” its adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen,” over the Thanksgiving weekend. Thus, one of the biggest pop culture phenomena of the decade began.

It was an instant hit and a record-breaker at the box office. Until 2019’s “The Lion King” (the remake of the 1994 original), “Frozen” held the record for the top-grossing animated film of all time, earning a total of $1.29 billion worldwide. It won Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. “Let It Go” (the winner of the aforementioned Best Original Song award) is a staple of Disney playlists even to this day.

It’s impossible to overstate what a boom “Frozen” was for Disney, let alone for animation in general. It’s an impressive legacy to say the least, and it would be tough for anything to live up to it, even its own sequel. However, “Frozen II” did indeed manage to live up to its phenomenon-spawning predecessor.

“Frozen II” was released Nov. 22, exactly six years after its predecessor. It takes place three years after the events of the first film. The story is about Elsa hearing a spirit voice calling her out to an enchanted and forbidden forest. Her sister Anna, the mountain man Kristoff, his loyal reindeer Sven and the living snowman Olaf come along on this journey which reveals the origin of Elsa’s magic among many other mysteries concerning Arendelle and a nearby tribe of people who coexisted with nature spirits.

Eduardo Rangel | The Poly Post

The soundtrack makes great use of Idina Menzel’s singing talent, especially in the songs “Into the Unknown” and “Show Yourself.” It wouldn’t be a surprise if either  songs joined “Let It Go” in winning an Academy Award for Best Original Song. The background music was also a treat to hear, and it worked to the movie’s advantage.

Just like the predecessor, exquisite attention to detail was paid to the animation, especially on the snow, ice and water. The water and ice were the most meticulous and costly details in the film, due to a theme throughout the movie about water containing memories.

The plot had many interesting twists and turns; it excellently follows the theme that water contains memories, and a lot of the problems that were present in the first “Frozen” (illogical actions by certain characters being chief among them) are not present in this one.

Although the characters themselves were great, the actions taken by a majority of them in the first film were foolhardy at best. Thankfully, this problem is fixed, and as a result their development doesn’t feel forced. Kristoff’s hesitance to propose to Anna is hilariously awkward (by the writing’s intent, not by incompetence on the writers’ part), Elsa’s protectiveness of Anna is believable and Olaf is still as cute as ever. Even when he starts to get angry (no, really, he does at one point), he’s still such a jolly guy overall. 

The first “Frozen” was a good, but flawed film. However, there is no denying how much of a gigantic cultural phenomenon it was and what a great legacy it was and still is. “Frozen II” is a worthy addition to that legacy as well as a worthy sequel to a landmark film. Perhaps it’ll be a phenomenon of its own.

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