Frozen 2 is out this weekend, and while its soundtrack doesn’t hold a candle to the last film, its story may actually be better.
When Elsa starts hearing a voice calling out to her, she (along with Anna, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf) embarks on a quest to uncover the truth about herself and her powers. The film is written by Jennifer Lee and co-directed by Lee and Chris Buck, with music by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, and score by Christophe Beck. Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, and Josh Gad all return to star.
Let’s get this out of the way right up top: this is a beautiful looking flick. The animation is inviting, captivating, and just about flawless. We all know the score by now — Disney has mastered the concept of animation, and every review will say the same.
As far as the story goes, this sequel takes a pretty different route than its predecessor. The first Frozen is a very traditional Disney movie; there’s a villain and an external conflict that the characters have to face. Frozen 2 is driven more by internal conflict. It’s about developing the characters we met in the first film, and digging into their fears and insecurities. There is still an external problem that starts the characters on their journey, but it’s downplayed to the point where it’s ultimately forgettable.
This all works to the movie’s advantage. It feels like the filmmakers realized that the Frozen fandom has grown somewhat in the last six years and wanted to tell a more mature story to match.
That being said, there is still a fair amount of cheesy dialogue, as well as predictability in the plot, but it is a kid’s movie after all.
As a character-driven movie, Frozen 2 lives and dies by its main cast. Luckily, most members of the gang get to stand out in their own way, and their chemistry with one another is probably the film’s greatest strength. Elsa felt distant and cold (pardon the pun) in the first film, despite being the star, but is much more likeable and interesting in this follow-up. It’s great getting to see her and Anna interact after they spent most of the last film apart; their relationship is the emotional core of this franchise.
And – in a shocking turn of events – Olaf actually steals the show in most of his scenes. In the first Frozen, the snowman was an annoyance. His jokes were juvenile, and he was clearly there mostly to sell toys and keep the little kids interested. But in Frozen 2, while his slapstick will still keep the little ones entertained, most of his jokes will likely go over their heads. His whole shtick in this one is that he’s gotten older, and therefore more mature, and most of his jokes are very clearly directed at the parents in the audience, even veering into meta-commentary at times.
The only main character whose story doesn’t work is Kristoff, who feels like he’s only in the movie out of necessity, and whose arc doesn’t make much sense. The only reason you even know he has an “arc” is because he literally says it out loud, but you don’t really see how he got from point A to point B. It’s as if his progression happens off screen. But, honestly, this is Anna and Elsa’s movie, so if those two get more development at the expense of Kristoff’s, that’s forgivable.
What’s less forgivable is the music of Frozen 2. Save for one song (which you’ve probably already heard), the soundtrack is bland and forgettable. There is no “Do You Want To Build A Snowman” or “Love Is An Open Door” that you’ll be humming for days after seeing the movie. Perhaps that’s actually a blessing, especially since most of us have only just gotten “Let It Go” out of our heads after six years, but it is a rather disappointing surprise after the first soundtrack was a smash hit.
With a strong story but a “meh” soundtrack, it will be interesting to see how Frozen 2 holds up with Disney fans. Regardless, it’s absolutely worth checking out.
What’s your favorite Disney animated movie of the last decade? Let us know in the comments!