In Frozen 2, all starts off well, and then it is not. Elsa’s hearing a creepy voice, Olaf’s pondering life, Kristoff’s wanting to propose, and Anna… Has nothing in particular on her mind. Elsa accidentally wakes the spirits or something and the Frozen Company set off to find the Enchanted Forest wherein dwell the Northuldra, who used to be friends with Arendelle. This eventually leads to Elsa pursuing the voice and answers at the mysterious river Ahtohallan…
Overall rating: ★★½ (out of five)
Okay, let’s get this over with. (This alone probably indicates my overall feelings towards the movie.)
Things I liked
- Elsa’s and Anna’s outfits. Gorgeous, every one of them. I want their wardrobes.
And their figures but that’s wishful thinking.
- Olaf’s retelling of the story in Frozen. That was really funny; reminded me of Scott’s friend Luis in the Ant-man movies.
- Kristoff’s difficulty in proposing to Anna and her constantly misreading his words was pretty amusing too.
- The fire salamander was terribly cute. Almost too cute. hahah
- The scenes between young Elsa and Anna and their parents were very sweet and touching, especially knowing that they’ll lose their parents to a storm later.
- The Next Right Thing sequence was well done, and Anna’s grief and despair was palpable and relatable. If only I could remember the song…
Things I disliked
- The songs were unmemorable. I could not remember a single tune right after the movie. The only one I could recall wasn’t even a full song – it was Vuelie from the first movie, which now turns out to be a song/chant of the Northuldra. I remembered song titles and/or my impression of them but not their tunes. I remembered that Elsa’s big song here was Into the Unknown, that Kristoff’s song was spoilt by the presentation of the song, that Olaf’s ditty on how things would make sense when he’s older was amusing, and that The Next Right Thing had some nice bits in there… But I couldn’t conjure up any of the melodies in my head. Not a single one. This is sad.
The music of the songs felt “hollow.” I really like the grand “full” sound of a large orchestra a la John Williams, or a sweeping Broadway sound a la Alan Menken, so having most of the songs primarily backed just by a piano or keyboard made it feel… Hollow. I can’t think of any other word to describe it. The creative team for Frozen clearly wants a more contemporary take on the music, but when the songs mostly just sounded like fairly standard pop ballads and such… It cannot charm me.
- Kristoff’s song. Lost in the Woods? Something like that. I didn’t love the melody but I really disliked the mode of presentation. They turned it into what felt like a parody of 1980s-90s music videos. It really pulled me out of the story, especially when they threw in that Bohemian Rhapsody shot. It wasn’t that I didn’t get the visual references, but I didn’t get the reason why it had to be that way. What was the purpose of suddenly having a “music video” smack in the middle of the movie when the characters exist in a fantasy version of our world with none of our technology and pop culture?
- Maybe for children, the storyline was unpredictable. For me – and anyone even vaguely acquainted with the direction Hollywood storytelling has been going in the last few years – it was evident almost from the get-go. The king tells a story of how his father offered friendship to the Northuldra but they were betrayed? Obvious sign that Things Are Not What They Seem. The Northuldra start singing Vuelie? Oh, so was Elsa’s mother a Northuldra? The water tells Elsa that their father was saved from the Northuldra-Arendelle conflict by a girl. Even without seeing her face you could guess immediately that that would be Iduna (Elsa and Anna’s mother).
The only thing that was not-quite-predictable was Elsa’s ending up as the ice spirit and abdicating in favour of Anna. Well, I assume that the ice spirit is what she was at the end…
This insistence on this sort of twist is grating now. Yes, Hollywood, Disney, everyone… I know you lot want to show that you’re trying to “right the wrongs” of the imperialist West and so on and so forth. But it’s at a point where it’s no longer useful as a twist. But then you all wouldn’t dare to do otherwise now because people would accuse you or perpetuating stereotypes and glorifying the past or something. Sigh.
- There was (to me) a lot of vagueness and various loose ends related to Elsa. What exactly was the voice? The ice spirit? Or is Elsa the ice spirit? If she’s the ice spirit, when she dies what happens then? Or is she immortal? Or merely the representation of the ice spirit??
And why exactly does Elsa now feel that she is where she belongs? If they meant to show that she feels more akin to the Northuldra, I think they didn’t do it well because although there was some interaction, there wasn’t enough to justify why she’d be more comfortable staying there. Is it a combination of her being the ice spirit and the Northuldra being more in touch with the spirits of nature? Maybe. The movie doesn’t tell us.
- The Arendelle soldiers who were lost in the forest all this while, fighting with the Northuldra. Did they never change their clothes? They were wearing the exact same uniforms.
- And is Olaf just going to keep being the character who dies and then is revived? I hope they don’t do Frozen 3. Can’t imagine what other story they want to wring out of this cast. I don’t really care if they do…