Dina Reviews: Frozen II

Watch Frozen 2 | Full Movie | Disney+

Here in Norway, the big animated Disney movies are always released at Christmas. Because the “romjul” week, which is the Norwegian word for Boxing Week (the week between Christmas and New Year’s) is THE time for going to the movies here. Especially for families. And few movies say “family movie” better than an animated Disney movie… and so, after the rest of the world have already seen the movie and it’s been discussed and reviewed and the Internet has grown sick of it, it’s finally launched to the general public in Norway. 

And Frozen II is no exception. I went to see it on New Year’s Eve… which also happens to be my birthday, and I’d got a cinema gift card for Christmas, so… yeah, it was essentially to celebrate. I was really curious about this movie, because none of the friends and family I’ve talked to who have seen the movie has been able to agree on it. Some have gushed about it and said it was great, some called it a total disaster and told me not to see it, others again just said “meh, not as good as the first one.”

So, with all in this mind, where does my opinion stack up?

Well… I LIKED the movie. It entertained me throughout. I suppose I just… wanted a little more of it. What’s THERE is really good, but there are so many themes and character beats and important backstory moments that most of them don’t get explored that well and just kind of… don’t go anywhere. 

And for once, I can’t blame the main characters for sucking up all the time and hogging the attention more than they need to, because in this movie NOBODY overstays their welcome, and the two main leads NEED all the screentime they get for their physical and emotional journeys to have an impact. You really couldn’t have cut any of it. Anyone who isn’t Anna or Elsa though, kind of get a little lost in the shuffle when the movie tries to split its attention through all its major characters. 

Olaf, still one of the sweetest and most charming parts of the movie, ultimately doesn’t do all that much apart from providing comic relief. He gets a good set-up in the early stages of the movie where he reflects on growing up and how he looks forward to becoming older and wiser because then everything will make sense to him… even the stuff that’s totally incomprehensible now. It’s a very endearing and unique character arc for a comic relief character, but it doesn’t go anywhere. There are a few running jokes about him learning new things, spouting useless trivia, getting used to more complex emotions, and he sings a funny little song about how he doesn’t know anything YET, but just wait until he’s a little older, and then… the story kind of forgets all about it and none of it has any bearing on the story OR on Olaf’s part in it. As for Kristoff, he’s really only in the movie to repeatedly try and fail to propose to Anna… a storyline I didn’t like when The Rescuers Down Under did it, and it’s not much better here (especially since whenever he tries to propose, Anna suddenly becomes totally OOC, unreasonable and taking everything he says in the worst possible way, purely for the purpose of prolonging the running gag), That said… I’m be LYING if I didn’t think it was a LITTLE neat that for once it’s the MALE lead who’s only in the movie to be the love interest and nothing else. And that song he sings, “Lost in the Woods,” with reindeer backing him up and the world’s cheesiest “80s music video” feel… that was hilarious. 

The new characters kind of have the same problem. What’s THERE is really cool, but you kind of feel the entire thing that you’re missing out on so many things that are even cooler. There’s a huge backstory and lots of character info there that you KIND of get the gist of, but I just really want MORE. I want more of the Northuldra and the Arendell soldiers stuck in the enchanted forest… We get a BIT, and we definitely have the feeling that there’s a really big story there that EASILY could have carried its own movie, but we only get small glimpses of it. Characters like Honeymaren and Ryder had real potential as counterparts/foils to Elsa and Kristoff, but it turns out they’re barely in the movie. 

A few people have said that this movie, even more than the first movie, had the feel of a Broadway musical… and yes, I agree. I think this movie really would have done well as a stage musical. A three hour long one, with an intermission in the middle. One hour and 40 minutes just isn’t long enough for everything in this story. Add one hour to the runtime, to really give the other characters breathing room and explore the character arcs, more of the Northuldra and the secondary characters, without having to sacrifice the emotional core of Anna and Elsa’s story.

Other than that, I have to praise the visuals. OH MY GOD THIS MOVIE IS SO BEAUTIFUL. The scenery and nature and the snow and the waterfalls and the forests… I mean, the original movie looked good, but here they’ve taken everything up to eleven, and everything looks prettier, wilder, more colourful and even more NORWEGIAN than ever. And the character animation is some of the best I’ve seen for CGI. The highlight is Elsa in her song “Show Yourself.” She’s SO expressive and SO pretty at the same time, and the pure ENERGY in her movements is breathtaking… and really reflects Idina Menzel’s powerful singing voice in a way that I’ve never seen in animation before. “Let it Go” was a visual spectacle, and the song was better… but “Show Yourself” is so full of life, energy and emotion that I’m just blown away. People didn’t applaud in the movie theatre after this song, but they SHOULD have.

In the end, when I left the theatre, I’d had a good time. When your main complaint about a movie is that there should have been more of it, then the moviemakers must have done SOMETHING right. 

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to watch “Show Yourself” on Youtube and marvel at Elsa’s animation and expressions. 

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