Disney: What Was With Frozen 2?

Promotional image for ‘Frozen 2’. Copyright goes to Walt Disney Studios.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I just watched ‘Frozen 2’ a couple days ago, yes I know I’m late, and I have a lot of thoughts. I’m going to be completely honest here and say now that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first ‘Frozen’ film. Sure, I didn’t hate it. It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen. But I didn’t really connect to Elsa and how much she was pushing others away, nor did I like the idea that love just fixed everything at the end. And yes, I also was one of the people who could not stand ‘Let it Go’. Maybe I would have liked it better if it wasn’t played as much? In the end I really couldn’t understand why this movie gained so much popularity in comparison to movies like ‘Tangled’. Over the past few years I’ve revisited the movie and was able to understand the movie and it’s popularity a bit more. Elsa doesn’t realize what she’s doing is selfish because she’s so much in her own head and in her own depression at that point. How many children’s movies do you see that actually try to tackle mental illness? Though the “love will thaw” thing at the end promotes a pretty bad understanding of mental illness (it’s a process not a sudden epiphany), but at least they did try to tackle it. Also, though this isn’t the only Disney princess film to focus on promoting strong female characters, this is one of the only ones to focus mostly on two strong female characters along with ‘Brave’. Yay for passing the Bechdel test! But this recent movie is a mess, to put it lightly. I saw a lot of people saying that they liked it better than the first one, and really I don’t understand. I appreciate that they went for an original story in the age of reboots and recreating the original, but there were so many things about this movie that were so bad my jaw was literally on the floor in disbelief. So what made this movie so bad? WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS!!!

Elsa:

Just in case you’re worried, I’m not saying that Elsa was bad in this film. In fact, she was one of the only characters with a semi-good and complete feeling story. That doesn’t mean that her part of the story was completely good. When Elsa starts out the movie she hears a voice calling to her that she doesn’t seem to know exactly what it is. This bit in general feels like Disney responding to how bad the “love will thaw” epiphany was and them trying to retcon it, but I digress. When Anna later asks Elsa what happened, Elsa for some reason knows immediately that she woke up the spirits of the forest. She and Anna promise each other that they will stay by each other’s sides during this adventure, which I actually really liked. I thought, at the beginning of this movie, Elsa and Anna’s bond was one of the best and most healthy depictions of a sibling bond I have seen in a long time. But then Elsa pushes Anna and Olaf away again towards the middle of the movie. Isn’t this the lesson we learned in the last movie? Not to push people away? Apparently Elsa hasn’t learned anything! But she’s immediately forgiven when she rejoins the group and, though both Anna and Olaf are angry at her betrayal initially, this note is never touched on again. Pushing people away and finding your own way in the world are not the same thing, and this movie acknowledges that and then treats those two things like they’re exactly the same.

Anna:

What the heck happened to Anna in this movie? She barely has any character growth of her own! In the first movie Anna is caring, brave, and adorable. She’s an endearing character that teaches an important lesson about trusting people too quickly while her sister teaches the opposite lesson of what happens if you don’t trust anyone at all. Anna has none of that here. Her entire character is based around helping Elsa. In the beginning of the movie there’s an entire song about how Anna doesn’t want anything to change, and though it’s a cliché, I though this would be Anna’s lesson throughout the movie. To be accepting of change. Instead this is pretty much never addressed again and Olaf seems to mention the change thing even more than Anna. In fact, a lot of this movie felt like it was struggling to find things for any character but Elsa to do. Also, why the hell was Anna blowing up on Kristoff all the time? I thought that they might be trying to show that Anna now had trauma from the betrayal of Hans, but the movie never touches on it and definitely doesn’t even try to fix the problem. You start wondering if Anna and Kristoff should even be together. Kristoff is supportive of her the entire time and all she ever does in this movie is try to find reasons why Kristoff doesn’t want to be with her. She is not at all the character she is in the first movie, and that might have been fine if they had actually taken a couple seconds to focus on her growth.

Olaf:

I have always liked Olaf and he was one of the only things that remained consistent for me as my opinions on the first movie changed. I liked him even when I thought the movie was bad. Olaf has a few good scenes in this movie and he got a few laughs from me, but it really felt as though the writers were trying too hard to make Olaf funny. So many of his jokes felt forced. Not only that, but it seemed like they were setting up Olaf to have this entire journey in trying to deal with change and growing up. But they only mentioned this a couple times, killed him off, and then brought him back pretty similarly to what happened in the first movie. He never gets to have his own storyline, just like Anna, and he’s really not important to the main plot at all. He’s there to be…well…there. Josh Gad is always amazing, but I couldn’t help but note how much better Olaf was in his own shorts than in this movie.

Kristoff:

Poor Kristoff. They literally leave without him part way through the movie. Throughout this entire movie it feels like Anna doesn’t even care about him. The writers really just didn’t know what the hell to do with his character. Most of the time he’s on screen they do this running joke where he keeps trying to propose to Anna. There really isn’t a good time for this in the movie considering that they’re trying to save several groups of people. Because of Anna leaving him and blowing up on him he has the realization that Anna might be growing apart from him and might not want to be with him. Which, considering her reactions to him, I really don’t blame him for having this thought. And then he appears suddenly at the end of this movie to be his usual supportive self and (say it with me, folks) they never touch on this plotline again. They set up so much in this movie just for them to never use it.

The Music:

It’s not great. It’s really not memorable. I can’t recall half of the songs in the movie. I will say that there are two songs that I like. “Show Yourself’ as well as the lullaby that goes with it are beautiful, though I’m part of the small margin who doesn’t usually enjoy Idina Menzel’s (Adele Dazeem’s) voice, I actually really enjoyed this song. I thought it was beautiful for Elsa’s character and it taught an amazing lesson about becoming the person you are waiting for and expressing yourself. Then the other song that I liked was ‘Lost in the Woods’, a song that does not match with the rest of the movie in the least. Though I love Jonathan Groff’s voice and I thought the rock ballad was hilarious, it didn’t match with the plot or the tone of the movie. I appreciate that they really went for it here, but it just didn’t fit. Though I didn’t like some of the music from the original, I can admit that (barring “Fixer Upper” which was truly terrible) the music was catchy and memorable. This movie has no such luck.

The Ending:

The plot of this entire movie is convoluted and a giant mess with all of it’s loose threads. But nothing made me so mad as the ending of this film. Anna realizes that the only way to break the curse is to break the dam, effectively drowning all of Arendelle. It is evacuated at that point, but it’s a pretty ballsy thing for a Disney movie to do. It’s also pretty clear; they have to get rid of the life that they made by the slaughter of an entire group of people. And they…don’t do it. Elsa saves the day and you’re left wondering how they could have missed the point when a literal tsunami was coming right at them. You are also left wondering what the point of the entire plot was in the first place.

Like I said, I have more of a respect for the original film now. I don’t think it was as bad as I originally thought and Elsa has become much more of an understandable and relatable character in my eyes. There’s a beauty to it, even though it’s not the best Disney film ever created and you still can’t make me like ‘Let it Go’. How did they mess everything and everyone up so badly here except for maybe Elsa? It almost makes you wonder if they actually wanted to make an Elsa movie and then thought that they had to add all of the other characters in. Just like the first film, this should have been split more equally between the characters and really it should have been more concisely written. I wanted to like this movie, I really did. Now I’m just hoping they’ll leave all of the characters alone and not try to bank in a Frozen 3.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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