“Frozen II” is a blast for the whole family; a trek through the Disney-animated winter wonderland of Arrendale.
The film, directed by “Frozen” directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, stars once again Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel as sisters Anna and Elsa, respectively. The film takes place very soon after the first “Frozen” and Elsa and friends are enjoying Elsa’s time as newly-crowned queen of Arrendale, their semi-Scandanavian homeland. As the town is celebrating the coming of summer, they are assaulted by spirits of the four classical elements: earth, water, fire and air. The people of Arrendale are run out of the nation and after hearing an old legend about their parents, Elsa, Anna, and their friends Olaf, voiced by Josh Gad, Kristoff, voiced by Jonathan Groff, and their pet reindeer Sven set out to protect Arrendale and figure out exactly what is causing all the commotion.
The movie has original music by the first film’s songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristin Anderson-Lopez, most notable for their work previous to Frozen on “Southpark,” and the songs are one of the film’s best traits. In my opinion, I think the songs for the first film are better in quality and narrative carrying power, but they stand on their own. “Into the Unknown,” Elsa’s signature song in the film, is quite powerful and demonstrates her restless nature even as the newly solidified queen of Arrendale. Throughout the film, Elsa is haunted by a mysterious voice that her father and mother each were in turn haunted by. The voice draws Elsa and the gang to an enchanted forest not mentioned before in the franchise and Elsa is the only one hears the mysterious voice out of her friends.
The film is surprisingly more dark and mysterious than the previous installment, introducing themes of permanent death of main characters and dealing with grief in healthy ways. Anna specifically has a whole song about dealing with the loss of loved ones which in the time period the movie is supposed to be set in, was a common occurrence due to war and disease. The film’s healthy approach to loss has a lot to teach the younger patrons of movie theatres and will surely provide to the emotional health of the next generation. The film’s other grim themes include frustration and imposter syndrome and mental health specifically in relation to extrovert-introvert dynamics.
Additionally, the film is very well animated. Aesthetically, the film’s art style is a little bit of Pixar mixed in with Disney’s own excellent animators who breathe life in to the Scandanavian world of Arrendale. Great examples of this include the runic symbols that appear on all sorts of structures. These symbols appear just as ancient as real world runes and lend itself well to the overall atmosphere of the film.
Ultimately, “Frozen II” is a great way to enjoy a movie with your children. A word of caution though: many young children have issues sitting still for the two hours required to any movie. If you decide to go to the movies as a family, make sure your children and you yourself understand proper movie etiquette.