Frozen proved everybody wrong six years ago, showing Disney could come up with something original and worthy to fit into the lineage of the classics of its golden age. The embodiment of girl-power, iconic songs and its quality humour of the original raised the bar high for a sequel. But then came Frozen 2, which not only meets but beats many expectations of audiences of all ages.
The first movie’s storyline, based on the Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, was an iconic and heart-warming tale of sibling-love and the power of finding oneself. However, Frozen 2 is a completely original idea from the brains and pens of Disney screenwriters. This time, through an Odyssey-style journey into the deep unknown triggered by a haunting, siren voice that calls Elsa restlessly into the depth of a forest under the spell of spirits, the characters we grew to love and understand in the first film are all going through a radical transformation.
First of all, Frozen 2 is wildly mature. It is unexpected for an adult audience to see how Disney manages to give incredible depth to the story, both through the formation of its characters and touching on some of the most vital global issues, whilst still make it hilarious and enjoyable for children. This includes facing constant change and the panic of growing up, presented in Olaf’s purely adorable and annoying character; the very real, difficult and awkward struggles of a long-term relationship by Anna and Kristoff; finding one’s inner strength against all the adversity around by Elsa; and the fight of coping with loss, grief and loneliness by Anna. Also, the storyline smoothly implies issues of colonialism and living with a tainted national past, and sheds light on human destruction of the environment.
At the same time, the animation is stunning, the painting of nature is even more breathtaking than in the first part. No matter if it is endless, roaring forests, pitch-black tons of waters or giant, cold mountains, the view is monumental and perfectly detailed. There is a general vibe of darkness going through the entire movie, but it well captures the atmosphere of the deep north.
There are definitely predictable, cliché narratives. The sometimes forceful ‘love is the answer’ agenda of Disney movies did make an appearance here. However, the film smartly makes fun of itself for promoting these often cheesy, explicit truths. In the end, of course, everything turns fine. The story’s emotional heaviness and surprising reality might have benefitted from a more realistic and less idealistic end. Some characters still remain a little shallow and simplistic that forms a contrast with the depths the main characters’ portrayal goes to. But the jokes are punchy, there are complete scenes where you cannot help but laugh all the way through, and despite its faults, you’ll leave with a heart-warming feeling and some thoughts to bring with you.
Overall, Frozen 2 is a very fine work of New Disney, fitting into the line of Inside Out, Coco and the Princess and the Frog. It demonstrates Disney is still capable of uncovering deep truths, entertaining and teaching in a beautiful, funny and subtle way, and making precious movies likelyto be loved both by the smallest and the oldest.
Image Credit: Elaine Smith via Flickr