REVIEW: Frozen 2

From now on, you can only refer to me as Daniel Merrifield, Master of the Universe and Time. You can’t look at me directly in the eye, unless you’re eating a banana, because that would be hilariously awkward. And you certainly can’t breathe in any oxygen until I have first expelled it as carbon dioxide.

‘Why is that?’ you ask. Frankly, I’m a new man, as I was invited to the European premiere of Frozen 2, and now I’m a star. (Admittedly a star who walked the white carpet dressed as if he ram-raided Primark, and was then sat in the second screening room, where the famouses were not.)

I got to see the highly anticipated sequel to Frozen in the same room next to the room where the likes of Idina Menzel – who I recently thrased in a quiz about the film – Josh Gad and Jonathan Groff watched it for, like, a zillionth time.

Frozen 2 was a gorgeous, funny movie, and – had it have been a standalone movie – it would have been great; but in comparison to its predecessor, I personally found it fell short.

Set three years after the original Frozen, the films opens with a flashback of Anna and Elsa as children, as they learn about magical, elemental forces that a group of people, known as the Northuldra tribe, utilise to survive, until a war breaks out between them and the soldiers of Arendelle.

We return to the present day, where Elsa is plagued by a mysterious siren’s call, known as The Voice. (Just to clarify, this has nothing do with that TV show where will.i.am and Jessie J spin round on their swivel chairs as people sing power ballads.) Anna, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf team up with Elsa on an adventure to find out where this voice is coming from, in an attempt to save Arendelle, again. Real estate in that kingdom must be dirt cheap, what with all of the supernatural disasters happening there.

When we all saw the teaser trailer for Frozen 2, we were expecting something more mature; it looked moody and angsty – which is actually how I describe the teens who bully me on my morning commute every day. I, however, feel that maybe Frozen 2 was almost trying too hard to have grown up with its audience. There are so many complex, mixed messages in there, that I feel won’t stick with, well, any audience. Olaf, who is one of the greatest comic reliefs in Disney animation, often comes out with profound ideology, that never leads anywhere. Throughout Frozen 2, he can be heard uttering about transformation, and how the cast will change. He even has a song entitled ‘When I Am Older’, about how he will fully understand everything going on once he’s aged. But this never pays off. No-one really changes in the film. I honestly saw zero point in this plot line.

But don’t let that deter you – it is still absolutely hilarious. When Olaf isn’t spitting whimsical nonsense about maturing, he’s reprising his role as that little, round, chubby white bloke you can’t help but point and laugh at. I’m talking about Olaf, the snowman, not Boris Johnson. Before I saw the film, Josh Gad said he was allowed to summarise the entire plot of Frozen in the sequel, as Olaf, and this had me worried – everyone and their nan had seen the original six times over; why would we need it told to us again, but I was wrong. Olaf details the events of the original film in a genuinely funny two minute montage, and it’s easily one of the film’s standout moments. But it’s not the standout moment, is it?

Jonathan Groff finally gets a big musical number in Frozen 2, and I don’t want to overhype this when I say it, but… It makes ‘Let It Go’ look like a steaming pile of reindeer shit. The song itself is okay, but the moment in the movie is unbelievable. Imagined as an 80s power ballad, Kristoff sings over a dramatic piano, as an electric guitar wails in the background. He powerfully looks down the camera, as another version of him rolls and writhes through a forest; spotlight shining on him, before he and his reindeer backing singers parody ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. It’s so bizarre, and feels so removed from the tone of Frozen, but it’s also just so perfect. It worked so well. As did a majority of the rest of the soundtrack. Kristen Bell mentioned how Disney “doubled-down” on Idina, giving her two incredible numbers to compete with ‘Let It Go’; ‘Into the Unknown’ and ‘Show Yourself’. Someone clearly wants another Oscar. Naturally, these are earworms, and you will be singing them until Disney realises they want to make another gazillion dollars and releases another Frozen sequel with even catchier songs.

It’s a shame that the new characters weren’t as memorable. Don’t get me wrong; the original cast – Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf – all have great characters arcs and I found them thoroughly interesting. It was the newly introduced characters that seemed pointless. As I mentioned before, there was a war between Arendelle’s army and the Northuldra tribe, a group of natives who lived in the woods. After the elements rebelled, the two factions were locked in the woods by a thick, magical mist for decades, and hadn’t been seen since. Frankly, I couldn’t care less. I felt more attached to that big snow monster in the first Frozen than the dweeby kids in the fog. Although I am biased; that monster is called Marshmallow, and that is, like, one of my main food groups. Sterling K. Brown play Lieutenant Destin Mattias, the leader of the soldiers, who talks about missing his family, but we didn’t see enough of him, or any of the other soldiers, to really connect or empathise with his story. Ryder, a member of the Northuldra tribe, steps back in amazement as he finally sees the sky for the first time, and… Nope. Still don’t care. You could have probably done this whole film without introducing us to Bill, Chief Big Nuts and Doctor Firebox. (I made those names up, because I actually didn’t bother remembering the names of any of the new characters. I know I could just Google them, but… Shut up.)

While I said the sequel isn’t as good as Frozen, I have to admit that visually, it makes the original look like a steaming pile of reindeer shit. (What do you mean I’m getting lazy with my similes?) Frozen 2 takes more of an abstract approach, with different styles throughout. As I mentioned before, Kristoff’s musical number is a tongue-in-cheek parody of 80s rock ballads, whereas during one of Elsa’s songs, she sings on an entirely black screen, which is gradually filled by swirling patterns. Each act feels like it’s own moment; none of it felt like it blurred into another scene. Don’t even get me started on how unbelievably perfect it looked; never has ice looked so realistic. Unless you count, y’know, real ice.

Frozen 2 is a really funny, adventurous movie. While it’s not as good as it’s superior original, Frozen – but then again, what is? – it’s an enjoyable watch that’s going to be hard to… Forget? Not remember? I know there’s something I should say here.

Let it go. DAMMIT. Am I too late for the cool ending line? I am, aren’t I?

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