GIE Revs and Recs: Frozen 2
If you know anything about me at all, you probably know I'm a Frozen fan. With Elsa being such an important figure for the LGBTQ+ community, how could I not be? I loved her journey from having to hide who she was to having the confidence to live her truth. It's one of the greatest things about Frozen.
One of the other greatest things is the focus on the deep, loving relationship between two women. Jennifer Lee and her team at Disney did a great job showing that in Frozen, with Anna sacrificing everything for sisterly love, all the way through Frozen Fever and Olaf's Frozen Adventure.
Did Frozen 2 measure up? I'll tell you below.
Yes, mostly. While the storytelling isn't as tight, and they tried to retrofit a just a little too much mythology, Frozen 2 hits all the emotional marks you want, love, and need in a Frozen movie. All the Elsa/Anna feels and teamwork, plus a good, healthy dose of sisterly tension. Olaf is adorable and funny as ever. Sven and Kristoff steal hearts as lovable, goofy support and great examples on nontoxic masculinity.
Overall, the focus stays where it should be: on Elsa and Anna, and their discovery of their past and future.
Okay, that being said, let's get to the real talk. Warning:
While not as tightly plotted as Frozen, Frozen 2 nevertheless delivers all the magical, emotional punch of the first installment. Elsa's journey of self-discovery continues, only this time it leads her into a past that is not what it seems, and Anna also realizes her own inner strengths.
Some darker themes are explored here, from growing up and not wanting things to change to finding out your parents are less than perfect.
Through it all, Elsa stays true to herself--the strong young woman we first saw in "Let it Go"--but in Frozen 2, she ups the ante by showing us that it's all right to leave a life we don't want for ourselves, even if others think that's where we belong.
Anna also has substantial growth in this installment, making a tough transition from lonely girl to respected queen, with all the requisite bumps along the way. If there's one thing Anna shows us it's that sometimes you have to work hard for hope.
I loved all the interactions between Elsa and Anna, from charades to "then don't RUN INTO FIRE." As always, the sisters are best when the writers play them to their strengths, Elsa stubborn and Anna fiery. I loved that they were depicted as older, growing up, and I felt that Olaf's musings highlighted that nicely and put a funny spin on it.
His recap of the first movie is nothing short of genius. "They still have their parents... Their parents are DEAD."
Kristoff works as adorable, goody comic relief with Sven and, with Anna, he's a Disney prince secure enough in his masculinity to not mind being relegated to support. Really, Kristoff's true strength is believing in his loved ones and supporting them even when he's feeling hurt. "My love is not fragile," he says.
Hmmm... must've learned that from the love experts.
Musically, there are two "Let it Go" moments. The first,"Into the Unknown," comes at the same point as LIG, but it's more of a call to adventure, very similar to Hercules "Go the Distance." The other is "Show Yourself," which felt a little more Elsa to me, as it's about discovering not only who the mysterious voice is but who she really is and on what path her destiny lies.
The animation is beautiful, although nothing quite impresses like that ice castle in the original. Still, the ice horse and water sequences are lovely and certainly look great in 3D.
I did feel that they tried to retrofit a little to much mythology with the Northuldra, especially if you weren't fortunate enough to see Frozen on Broadway (which filled in a few of the blanks here), but I am so very glad that they paid proper respect to the native peoples on whom the characters were based.
All in all, a satisfying follow-up. I just have one question:
Can Elsa, the fifth spirit, and Lee-Loo, the fifth element, hang out?
Overall, Frozen 2 is a rollercoaster of emotions that should satisfy any Frozen fan, adult or child. Warning: you will need tissues.
P.S. A post about "Give Elsa a Girlfriend" may follow, if there's interest. Let me know!