Disney don’t do many sequels to their animated movies which make it to the theatres. This is probably because it is difficult to follow “Happily Ever After” in any sort of meaningful way but things were different with Frozen. It wasn’t just the fact it made billions of dollars and became a worldwide phenomenon (arguably Disney’s biggest ever movie) but more that there was a key plot point which was never actually explained: Why does Elsa have powers?
With a very good plot device to start from (and the aforementioned money and success) a sequel seemed like a no-brainer. Disney have approached Frozen 2 with the same confidence and assurance that they do any other animated movie. It knows what story it wants to tell and where it wants to take the characters and it takes the opportunity to develop the first movie with delight.
This means it very effectively builds on the first film. We get a back-story for the parents which gives them real presence in the lives of the central characters. We get an Elsa longing for answers and an Anna longing for stability. Olaf even gets a decent sub-plot which turns humorous rambling into a hidden plot device. The only character who actually suffers more in the sequel is Kristoff, who gets sidelined fairly quickly but does get a decent song.
The plot is much deeper than the first film and is clearly aimed at the broader audience this movie will now get rather than the pre-teens the original was designed to appeal to. You could argue it is also darker, with a grander peril, death playing a more focal part of the tale and the themes being slightly more mature. It still feels very “Frozen” though, with new characters, spirits and ideas all fitting perfectly into this already established world.
This story is also one with a lot more action. There are far more stand-out sequences and exciting moments here than in the original, which means it doesn’t feel as “Disney” and as “Princess” as the first movie did. Love, although sisterly, was at the forefront of the first movie while this one is much more about the past and our links to who we are. It is a much better film because of this.
The first Frozen movie also had some iconic songs which became pop culture stand-outs, with “Let it Go” leading the charge. Arguably, the two mega-songs from this movie blow “Let it Go” out of the water and Kristoff’s “Into the Woods” has some great comedy credit. Others fall slightly below par but feel perfectly Disney nonetheless.
Frozen 2 is also an ambitious movie with what it is trying to build upon and develop and this also leads to some very exposition heavy moments. Characters feel the need to literally explain whole plot points and very clearly make the next part of the story make sense. This is sent up well in a great recap of the first movie by Olaf which is hilarious.
Overall, Frozen 2 is that rare movie beast of a sequel which betters the first. It effectively develops the characters, builds on themes in the first movie logically and delivers a more exciting and maturer movie for the now broader audience. We don’t need a third Frozen, but I may have said that after I’d watched the original.
Rating – 4
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