Everyone knew after the first Frozen film in 2013 that the franchise was a cultural phenomenon. The film had so much influence on children and adults alike, so the sequel had a lot to live up to.
Frozen 2, without a doubt, surpasses the original film in every aspect, from the music to the central conflict storyline. Everything about Frozen 2 is appealing for children and adults alike, topped off with an unforgettable soundtrack.
Frozen was perfectly cast. Kristen Bell as Ana, Idina Menzel as Elsa, Jonathan Groff as Kristoff and Josh Gad as Olaf was by far the perfect lineup for the characters. Frozen 2 not only solidifies the idea that the cast is perfect, but it perfectly showcases the best parts of the four main characters through their dialogue and their music.
In addition to the, once again, phenomenal performances of the main voice actors, Frozen 2 adds Evan Rachel Wood as Ana and Elsa’s mother and AURORA as the voice of the enchanted forest, who both give emotionally charged and beautiful vocal performances. Though it’s hard to add to an already perfect cast, Wood and AURORA are the perfect additions. Another honorable mention is Sterling K. Brown, the voice of Lieutenant Mattias, who is another spot-on addition to the cast.
The shining star of Frozen 2 is its soundtrack, written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. Though the first film is known for its charming songs like “In Summer” or “Love is an Open Door,” along with the film and Elsa’s staple song, “Let It Go,” Frozen 2 completely changes up the theme of the soundtrack. The song that resembles the first soundtrack the most would be “Some Things Never Change,” which is an uplifting tune that marks the only time the cast all sings together. But from the beginning, with Wood’s “All Is Found,” it’s clear the soundtrack is much more mature than its predecessor.
Each song centers around a heavy theme of the film, like Olaf’s song “When I’m Older” about trying to understand aspects of life that are scary and hard to deal with or Ana’s song “The Next Right Thing,” which is arguably the most poignant and sophisticated Disney song dealing with grief and loss.
The tracks that steal the film however are Kristoff’s “Lost In The Woods” and Elsa’s “Into the Unknown” and “Show Yourself.” “Lost In The Woods” is unequivocally present for the adults watching the film, as it perfectly emulates an 80s power ballad, complete with every trope imaginable. Comedy wise, it goes hand in hand with Olaf’s song as a few moments of comic relief in a heavy film.
Elsa’s two songs in the film are possibly the best songwriting in a Disney film to date. “Into The Unknown” is equal parts adventurous and stirring, as it ignites the central plot of the film. The song illustrates an idea that sometimes the unknown, though frightening, can be the most exciting and informing journeys of a person’s life. “Show Yourself” is one of the most emotionally charged songs in Disney history. Bringing in a powerful chorus, an unexpected duet and one of the most beautiful vocal performances from Menzel, “Show Yourself” is difficult to get through without at least tearing up.
The moving performance of “Show Yourself” proves to be extremely memorable, as well as the rest of the soundtrack. However, the gorgeous animation in the film makes it all the more memorable. The animation is some of the most high quality 3D animation in history. The water, ice and earth elements are all very realistically portrayed, and the way the characters move is so human-like and sophisticated.
Frozen 2 also provides a much more sister oriented storyline, which is beautiful to see. In Frozen, we see Ana and Elsa struggling to form a relationship, but in the second installment, the two are the best of friends. It’s a nice change to see a deeper connection of love flow through the two sisters, and it definitely adds to the emotion of the film.
There’s no clear villain in frozen, which sets it apart from other Disney films. Instead, Ana and Elsa’s villains come from within: the struggle to deal with growing up, finding out who they are and discovering hard truths. The idea of being able to admit when someone was wrong and to right that wrong is heavily emphasized throughout the film, but also the idea that finding yourself is an ongoing journey that doesn’t just happen overnight is extremely prevalent. Every character faces their own insecurities and heartache during the film, in a relatable and beautifully realistic way. Frozen and Frozen 2 are two of the only Disney films that deal with such heavy issues, and are still enjoyable for children who may not yet understand.
From the first Frozen film to its sequel six years later, the characters, animation, music and storyline grew in elegance and artistry right along with the audience, but had all the same charm as the original. Frozen 2 is not just the best children’s films of the year, but it might just generally be one of the best films of 2019. Frozen 2 teaches us that it’s necessary to face your insecurities, but also that it’s okay to take a chance and venture “Into The Unknown.”