- Frozen (2013), rated PG for some scenes may scare very young children
- Frozen II (2019), rated PG for some scenes may scare younger children
Those are the Australian ratings; in the United States, the ratings are:
- Frozen – PG for some action and mild rude humor
- Frozen II – PG for action/peril and some thematic elements
As usual, I’ll the trailers and a couple clips at the end. And as usual, just to be safe:
WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD. PROCEED AT OWN RISK.
I am one of the latecomers to Disney’s beloved adaption (more like reimagining) of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen. Some consider it a girls’ movie, and a young girls’ movie at that. I don’t care. I’ve fallen absolutely in love with it, and it stands alongside Tangled as my favourite animated movie.
Princess Elsa of Arendelle (Eva Bella) is gifted with magical powers that allow her to create and manipulate snow and ice. After accidentally injuring her younger sister Anna (Livvy Stubenrauch), their parents, the King (Maurice LaMarche) and Queen (Jennifer Lee), take them to the trolls, led by Grand Pabbie (Ciarán Hinds), who heals Anna, but removes all her memories of magic, and advises her parents to remove all magic from her life – and warns Elsa that fear will be her greatest enemy.
Elsa, the heir to the throne of Arendelle, grows up isolated from the world – and from Anna, afraid that she’ll hurt her or others. However, when she is about 18 (and now played by Idina Menzel), her parents’ ship goes down at sea – and she is left the burden of being Queen of Arendelle – from behind her locked bedroom door. Due to the isolation and fear, neither sister is able to comfort or help the other through their grief.
3 years later, Elsa has “come of age”, and finally has her coronation, finally allowing her subjects (and the visiting dignitaries) to see her. That night, Anna (now played by Kristen Bell) and Elsa fight over Anna’s new fiance Prince Hans of the Southern Isles (Santino Fontana), whom Anna had met that day, with Elsa telling her “You can’t marry a man you just met”. Accidentally revealing her powers, and with the visiting Duke of Weselton (Alan Tudyk) accusing her of sorcery, the frightened Elsa flees the palace and the city – but unintentionally sets off an eternal winter. It’s up to Anna – along with rugged mountain man Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) – to find Elsa and help save Arendelle.
OK, that is an unusually long plot summary – especially since that’s just the first half hour or so! Now, where do I begin reviewing this flawless masterpiece?
For one thing, Frozen is quite a bit like Star Wars: The Last Jedi: it intentionally subverts expectations and turns many of the traditional Disney Princess tropes – actually, almost every Disney Princess movie’s major plot structure – and it does so competently, delivering a genuinely refreshing movie experience, and a great plot.
And then there’s the songs! Some have complained that there are “too many” songs; the movie definitely has more songs than normal, and apparently has the most singing in a Disney animated movie since Alice in Wonderland. However, I love each and every one of the songs; they’re whimsical, romantic, comic, emotional, and I not uncommonly find myself singing or humming them to myself. Especially LET IT GO – which stands as my all-time favourite movie song (and the moment when Elsa first says the line “Let it go!” stands as among my favourite movie moments). God, I love that song!
And then there’s the ANIMATION! Frozen is single-handedly one of the most visually gorgeous animated movies I have ever seen – perhaps THE most visually gorgeous (overtaking Inside Out)! The animation is just to beautiful, so colourful, so well-designed, and just so good! It truly stands out – especially the ice chandelier that Elsa makes when creating her ice castle (while singing LET IT GO).
I also loved the emotion in it; this is possibly one of Disney’s most emotion-rich films, and the more I think about it and watch it, the more tender moments I notice (particularly a heart-wrenching scene in the climax – which I’ve almost cried at several times). It helps the movie feel more authentic than many of the others.
I hope I didn’t make Frozen sound gloomy or depressing – it’s not! For all its emotion – and the characters’ tragic background – it’s actually a rather fun film – fun to watch, with plenty of humour, and even a bit of action! The best humour comes from Olaf, perfectly voiced by Josh Gad, an innocent and naive snowman who wants nothing more than to experience “what frozen things do in summer” (no, he has no clue).
Idina Menzel is absolutely perfect as Queen Elsa – the only Disney Princess so far to spend most of her first movie as Queen. Elsa was originally going to be the villain – like the Snow Queen she’s based on – but thankfully the directors saw sense after listening to “Let it go”. Menzel’s voice lends a degree of maturity to Elsa.
Kristen Bell is similarly excellent as the voice of the naive Princess Anna, who is one of my favourite characters in the film.
I also really like Alan Tudyk as the Duke of Weaseltown (“Weselton! Weselton!”) – sorry, the Duke of Weselton – who makes a dastardly, but fun villain.
I also rather liked the themes. Frozen is a fun, charming, modern classic, one of the greatest animated films of all time, and one of the few perfect films.
I have a feeling that this is either going to be the star of my post, or the one everyone avoids because they don’t want spoilers for the just-released blockbuster (but will maybe leave a like?). Disney’s sequel to the 2013 blockbuster is fun, epic, more mature and emotional – just all-round satisfying!
King Agnarr of Arendelle (Alfred Molina) tells a story to his young children, Elsa (Mattea Conforti and Eva Bella) and Anna (Hadley Gannaway and Libby Stubenrauch), that their grandfather, King Runeard (Jeremy Sisto), established a treaty with the tribe of Northuldra by building a dam in their homeland, the Enchanted Forest. However, a fight occurs, resulting in Runeard’s death. The battle enrages the elemental spirits of earth, fire, water, and air of the forest. The spirits disappear and a wall of mist traps everyone in the Enchanted Forest. Runeard’s son Prince Agnarr (played by Jackson Stein in the flashbacks) barely escapes due to the help of an unknown savior.
Three years after the first Frozen, Elsa (now played by Idina Menzel) celebrates autumn in the kingdom with Anna (now played by Kristen Bell), Olaf the snowman (Josh Gad), Kristoff the ice harvester (Jonathan Groff), and Kristoff’s reindeer Sven. When Elsa hears a mysterious voice calling out to her, she follows it and unintentionally awakens the elemental spirits, which forces everyone in the kingdom to evacuate. Grand Pabbie (Ciarán Hinds) and the Trolls colony arrive at Arendelle and Pabbie informs that they must set things right by discovering the truth about the kingdom’s past. Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven embark to the Enchanted Forest, following the mysterious voice.
I must confess that as the main characters were discussing spirits etc in the early scenes, I had some hesitancy about the film. I enjoy fantasy, and have no problem with ghosts etc, and the few films with gods (e.g. Clash of the Titans and Wonder Woman) I generally enjoy. But nature spirits? I’ve always been kinda iffy about that. Thankfully, however, I sound found myself thoroughly enjoying the movie. (Although a particular revelation regarding one of the spirits at the end I still find puzzling.)
Frozen II‘s story is quite good. It’s also more mature and more complex, and darker. There are some moments where it feels too complex, but almost everything is cleared up by the end, by which time I was so engrossed (and enjoying it so much) I was disappointed the movie ended.
While it’s darker and more mature, and has more serious themes, Frozen II is still quite fun to watch, with a great sense of humour – as well as a bit of tension and excitement. As usual, some of the biggest laughs come from Olaf, who is once again excellently voiced by Josh Gad. At times, the film is actually downright epic.
At the same time, the film also packs an emotional weight – arguably more so than the first film. I particularly liked Kristoff’s song, “Lost in the Woods,” which carries so much emotion. If you liked the original’s emotion, you’ll love this one’s emotion.
I also rather liked how it delved deep into the franchise’s mythology (or rather, created a great deal of it), and its surprising connections to the first film. You won’t view the first one in quite the same light again.
And then there’s the animation. Like its predecessor, Frozen II delivers solid, beautiful looking animation, possibly at times exceeding the original.
OK, while it’s nearly impossible to match Let It Go, Frozen II‘s songs are still catchy & great. Aside from Lost in the Woods, the real showstopper here is Into the Unknown, which I found myself singing as I left the theatre. I also loved “Show Yourself”. If your kids drove you insane endlessly singing the first movie’s songs… the same will probably happen this time.
As previously mentioned, Josh Gad is excellent in his return as Olaf. Similarly, Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell and Jonathan Groff are excellent in their returns as Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, and Kristoff, respectively, and once again perfect for the roles.
I also rather liked the new characters – the Northuldrans, a tribe clearly meant to be Europe’s version of the American Indians, a people close to nature – and its magic. Particularly Honeymaron and Ryder. And then there’s Matthis, the leader of the Arendellian troops trapped in the misty north. Characters are definitely Disney’s strong suit in this movie.
To quote the Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus: “Frozen II can’t quite recapture the showstopping feel of its predecessor, but it remains a dazzling adventure into the unknown.” Rather epic, too! Like Mark Baker when watching The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, my sole true complaint (as opposed to relatively small flaws that I gloss over) is that the movie ended; it’s that good! (I also recommend it in 3D.)
For Frozen II:
For Frozen II:
[What do you think of these films? Be sure to let me know in the comments! Also, send me your review for any movie, and I’ll post it on Blockbusters Reviewed.]