Written by McKenzie Gibel, Staff Writer
It is autumn in Arendelle, but the aesthetic isn’t the only thing changing – Olaf’s exploring maturity, Kristoff has a plan, and Elsa’s hearing voices. The much-anticipated sequel to the ever-popular Frozen slammed into theaters on November 22, 2019, to much acclaim. In its box office debut, Frozen II earned itself a record-breaking $358.2 million worldwide. Directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck and writers Lee and Allison Schroeder pulled out all the stops. Frozen II lives up to the hype, it will have you laughing one second and sobbing the next. It was a surprisingly deep story with themes like environmentalism, self-actualization, accepting the past, and confronting the future.
At the end of the first movie, Elsa was accepted by her people and although she was still a little unsure of herself, she, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven lived happily ever after. In Frozen II, Elsa has an itch that must be scratched – she still feels like an outsider and now a persistent voice is urging her to run away and find her place in the world. At first, she resists, but after a passionate ballad (that will be in your head for weeks) called “Into the Unknown,” she decides to take a risk and accidentally sets angry spirits loose on her kingdom. To save Arendelle, she, Anna, and the gang must follow this mysterious voice into the Enchanted Forest, find the truth, and appease the spirits.
In this movie, we get to see very different sides of Anna, Olaf, and Elsa. It is more mature and ambitious than the first one but continues to have a kid-friendly overtone that makes it a great family movie. The story attempts to explore elements of environmentalism by showing the power of nature, but the struggle of the characters within themselves and with each other is far more prevalent. The musical score by Oscar-winning composers Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez is generally lighthearted and catchy and even includes an 80’s ballad, “Lost in The Woods,” performed by Kristoff and Sven (Jonathan Groff). However, there are far more serious songs including “The Next Right Thing,” performed by Anna ( Kristen Bell) in which she struggles to overcome her greatest challenge yet, and “Show Yourself” by Elsa (Idina Menzel) in which she finally finds the source of the voice. Younger audiences probably will not understand the mature undertone of these songs, but older audiences will be tearing up, if not sobbing outright (I certainly was).
Overall, Frozen II was a very intense, funny, warmhearted musical with a variety of themes and musical styles. It will be a fun watch for the whole family – but you might want to bring some tissues!