Frozen II Review

After the success of Frozen, I’m pretty sure we were all waiting for when Disney would announce that they were making a sequel, most likely when the frenzy surrounding the first film died down, and Disney did not disappoint.  Now I am an animation geek, I did love Frozen I, but with the market saturation surrounding the film for years and years afterward as someone above the target age for the film seeing a Frozen II had me skeptical.  When I heard of Frozen II being made I thought we’d be expecting another version of the first Frozen just repackaged differently, another plethora of catchy songs young kids would be singing 24/7 for another couple of years, decently developed characters and a plotline that most everyone can follow along with but adults would find repetitive after the first ten watches with their kids.  After I watched the trailer for the film I was cautiously optimistic, this was a trailer for an animation film that seemed like it would have a solid plotline and good characterization/character development.  I got really excited, was this the Frozen sequel that I was dreaming of?  In short, yes.

 

There were a couple of things that surprised me, for one the fact that the soundtrack for the film has no true equivalent to the anthem of Let It Go (parents around the world probably cried tears of joy).  In fact, it seemed as if the songs took a bit of a back seat, but for this film, it totally worked as supporting narration/storytelling which was super enjoyable as someone who is older than the target age for the movie.  That's not to say that I haven't spent more time than is reasonable blasting the soundtrack in my room and dramatically singing along.  The film is also surprisingly deep, like a little dark for a Disney film which was shocking but oh my gosh it feels like a bit of a refresher for Disney to explore a bit of a darker tale that’s still geared towards kids.  There are also a couple of comedic scenes that are much needed for this type of darker Disney film, but they come out of nowhere so when they happen it’s slightly jarring, but have become some of my favorite anecdotes to describe to friends who haven’t seen the film yet.

I love that Disney took the original Frozen and continued the storyline, focusing specifically on Elsa and Anna’s family history and where Elsa’s powers come from.  I loved that after the resolution between Elsa and Anna in the first film it’s shown that they have continued on working on being there for each other as sisters, which also sets a good example for the young kids the film is geared towards, that you can have a fight with a sibling but you can get along and work towards having a good sibling relationship.  Kristoff takes the character cake in this film by showing a good and healthy relationship between him and Anna. 

The animation is also incredible with the realistic fire and waves in the film, the water for which the VFX team had to create specifically for Frozen II.  Create not in the sense of a whole new engine or program or anything like how programs had to be made to animate Rapunzel’s hair in Tangled.  The VFX team had to create water that spoke to the Frozen universe’s style of animation, the first mission for the team was to create that stylization of the liquid so that it was intense enough for the scene in which it appears, the second mission was a technical one to make sure that the magical horse Nokk appeared appropriately like a horse, using nostril flares and ear flicks as a horse would use to communicate emotion; also fixing weird reflections that could appear on the render and when Elsa is riding Nokk that the horse isn’t transparent enough that you can see her leg on the other side.  There’s no denying that animation texture rendering has gotten better but that’s not necessarily the only thing you should focus on, also look at the fluidity of the characters, the micro-expressions on character’s faces that are now possible is astounding. 

 

If you’re a big animation fan I would highly recommend seeing Frozen II at some point.  I would recommend this movie in general to anyone who wants to see a good film that leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy inside. 

 

[Image Credit: Pamela McClintock from The Hollywood Reporter]