Steve’s Wonderful Reviews of Disney: Frozen II

Frozen II

Release Date: November 22nd, 2019

Inspiration: “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen

Budget: $150 million

Domestic Gross: $477.3 million

Worldwide Gross: $1.450 billion

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77%

IMDB Score: 6.9/10

Storyline (per IMDB): Having harnessed her ever-growing power after lifting the dreadful curse of the eternal winter in Frozen (2013), the beautiful conjurer of snow and ice, Queen Elsa, now rules the peaceful kingdom of Arendelle, enjoying a happy life with her sister, Princess Anna. However, a melodious voice that only Elsa can hear keeps her awake, inviting her to the mystical enchanted forest that the sisters’ father told them about a long time ago. Now, unable to block the thrilling call of the secret siren, Elsa, along with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven summons up the courage to follow the voice into the unknown, intent on finding answers in the perpetually misty realm in the woods. More and more, an inexplicable imbalance is hurting not only her kingdom but also the neighboring tribe of Northuldra. Can Queen Elsa put her legendary magical skills to good use to restore peace and stability?

Pre-Watching Thoughts: After starting this project just over a year ago shortly after Disney+ launched, we now come to the most recent film in the canon and as of now the final film of this series. I know that I mentioned that I wasn’t going to be reviewing this film when I did the introduction, but given that it is here I felt it would be incomplete if I didn’t include it. Much like the last film, we have a sequel that is out fairly close to the predecessor and after how successful the first Frozen was, it will be interesting to see how this film holds up against it.

Voice Cast: Much like the last film, we have a solid amount of returning stars for this film which is good as these are roles you couldn’t really see be recast, and we also have a solid amount of newcomers to help balance things out. But as mentioned, we do have a lot of returns including Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, and Jonathan Groff who reprise their roles of Anna, Elsa, Olaf, and Kristoff respectively, and we also have archived footage of Livvy Stubenrauch and Eva Bella who voice Anna and Elsa has children, Alan Tudyk as the Duke of Weselton, and Santino Fontina as Hans. Tudyk also voices a guard, one of the Northuldra leaders, and a solider and we also have the return of Paul Briggs who voices Marshmallow, and we also have the return of Alfred Molina who voices Agnarr as he takes over the role from Maurice LaMarche and we have the return of Ciaran Hinds who voices Grand Pabbie. We now move onto the newcomers as we have Sterling K. Brown who voices Mattias as he was starting to hit his stride with his career by this point, and then we have Evan Rachel Wood who voices Iduna as she was hitting the peak of her career by this point. We then have Martha Plimpton who voices Yelana as she was also hitting the peak of her career by this point, and then we have Jason Ritter who voices Ryder in one of the few animated film roles of his career. Next, we have Rachel Matthews who voices Honeymaren as she was getting her career started and then we have Jeremy Sisto who voices Runeard in a minor role, and finally we have musician Aurora Aksnes who sings the mysterious voice that draws Elsa to the Enchanted Forest. It will be interesting with the next film that we go back to having a predominately new cast given that it won’t be a sequel, but it will be interesting to see how many actors return in the films going forward.

Hero/Prince: In what has to be a first since this series started, we have a change of heroes for the sequel as the last Frozen had Kristoff as the hero, and now the hero has changed and in a twist it is Elsa who was in the Princess category in the last film. Since the last film, Elsa has ruled Arendelle as Queen though she hears a mysterious voice call to her and it results in the elements being awakened, and they threaten Arendelle as Elsa goes with Anna, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf to the Enchanted Forest. They meet the remaining Northuldra people as well as several Arendelle soldiers trapped there while seeing visions of their past, and Elsa and Anna learn the truth about their parents and continue to move north as they find their parents’ wrecked ship and learn the truth of their voyage. Elsa continues on by herself and reaches Athohallan where she sees visions from her past and that of her parents, and she learns the truth of her grandfather’s actions and relays the message to Anna before she is frozen solid. Anna and the Earth spirits destroy the dam which unfreezes Elsa and she rides on the water spirit horse Nokk back to Arendelle, and she stops the rushing water from destroying the kingdom as she accepts her place as the fifth element and stays in the Enchanted Forest as its protector. After spending the last film coming to terms with her powers and accepting her role as Queen, Elsa now comes to learn about the truth of her parents and the reasoning behind why the Enchanted Forest is hidden, and she realizes that her place is not in Arendelle but rather in the forest as its protector while entrusting Arendelle to Anna. Elsa has gone from being just another princess to being a complete entity unto herself and she made a good transition from princess to hero between the two films.

Princess: With Elsa being moved into the previous category after being in this one for the first film, we focus on the other princess from the first film and that is of course Anna who continues to help her sister while growing her relationship with Kristoff. After Elsa awakens the spirits, Anna helps her evacuate Arendelle and then she goes with her along with Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf to the Enchanted Forest, and they meet the Northuldra and a few Arendelle soldiers trapped in the forest. They learn more about their parents as Anna and Elsa continue on with Olaf and they find their parents’ wrecked ship, and they learn the truth of their voyage as Elsa sends Anna and Olaf away to protect them. After Elsa freezes, Anna receives her message about the dam and Olaf fades away as Anna is left alone, and despite her reservations she learns what needs to be done as she awakens the Earth spirits and has them chase her. She reunites with Kristoff and they lead the spirits to the dam which they destroy and Elsa is unfrozen, and after Elsa saves Arendelle she reunites with Anna as they come to accept their destinies. Anna becomes the new Queen of Arendelle and accepts Kristoff’s marriage proposal while keeping in touch with Elsa who stays in the forest as its protector. This film and the last one have seen a lot of growing for these characters and no one has probably grown more than Anna, and we have seen her grow from being a naïve young girl to a mature and responsible ruler. She is possibly one of the best embodiments of what a princess should be and I would go as far as to argue that she might end up being the greatest Disney princess ever which maybe a bit of a shocking take, but we will find out for sure when we rank them.

Villain: N/A

Other Characters: So as has become customary with a sequel, you have a few characters that return from the previous film while also bringing in new characters though only a handful of them are important to the film. But first, we have the returning characters including Kristoff who wants to propose to Anna but can’t find the right words to say, and he helps Anna and Elsa evacuate Arendelle before going with them into the Enchanted Forest. They meet the Northuldra people and he befriends one of them as they try to help him propose, but then Anna leaves with Elsa and Olaf as Kristoff continues to question his relationship with Anna. He eventually helps Anna destroy the dam and he finally proposes to her which she accepts as she also becomes Queen of Arendelle with him by her side. We then have Olaf the snowman who continues to live his life while being by Elsa and Anna’s side, and he goes with them along with Kristoff and Sven to the Enchanted Forest as he shares their story to the Northuldra and the Arendelle soldiers. He continues on with Elsa and Anna until Elsa pushes them away to protect them and Olaf continues on with Anna, but after Elsa is frozen and her magic disappears Olaf fades away and leaves Anna by herself. After they destroy the dam and Elsa unfreezes, Olaf is restored and he stays in Arendelle with Anna, Kristoff, and Sven. We then have King Agnarr and Queen Iduna who tell Anna and Elsa stories as children about the Enchanted Forest, and Anna and Elsa learn that Iduna was a Northuldra and saved Agnarr when they were children which led to Elsa and Anna being the bridge between the two worlds. Next, we have Elsa and Anna’s grandfather Runeard who was King of Arendelle when he brought his people to the forest and built the dam as an act of peace, but it is revealed that he had the dam built to force the region to join the kingdom while also killing the leader of the Northuldra leading to the battle between the two. We then have the Arendelle soldiers stuck in the forest led by Lt. Mattias who remain in conflict with the Northuldra until Anna and Elsa broker a truce between them, and Anna convinces them to let her destroy the dam which frees them and they return to Arendelle. Next, we have the Northuldra including Yelena who is the leader of the tribe, and the siblings Ryder and Honeymaren who befriend Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff as Ryder tries to help Kristoff propose to Anna. Finally, we have the residents of Arendelle who are forced to flee after Elsa awakens the elements and they attack Arendelle, and after Elsa saves Arendelle the residents return as they welcome Anna as their new queen. While again most of the focus was on Elsa and Anna, these other characters played just as an important role in the film and served to help guide the film along.

Songs: This last decade has seen a back-and-forth with the films being musicals and some of them just featuring one or two songs, and we end the decade the same as we started with this film being basically a musical similar to the first film. The first song in the film is “All is Found” sung as a lullaby by Iduna to Elsa and Anna when they are children, and Anna sings it again to Elsa in a nice little moment. We then have the song “Some Things Never Change” that all the characters sing as they reflect on their lives in a pretty fun song, and then we have “Into the Unknown” sung by Elsa as she acknowledges the Voice singing to her in a powerful ballad. Next, we have “When I Am Older” that Olaf sings and it is another fun song for him as he blissfully goes about his life, and then we have “Lost in the Woods” sung by Kristoff as he laments on his relationship with Anna in a pretty big moment for him. We then have “Show Yourself” sung by Elsa and Iduna as Elsa finally accepts who she is in another very powerful song, and finally we have “The Next Right Thing” sung by Anna as she comes to grips with her destiny and it is also pretty powerful especially for her. While this collection of songs may not be quite as memorable as the songs from the first one, they are still very good songs and it will be interesting to see where they rank amongst the others.

Plot: As I mentioned in the last review, when you have a sequel to a film you have to do your best not to make it feel like a retread, and having this film coming out only 6 years after the first one can be an advantage as they have kept the characters relevant through shorts released in between. In this film set several years after the first film, Elsa and Anna rule Arendelle as Elsa hears a mysterious voice and she accidentally awakens the elements, and they are forced to evacuate Arendelle as they are told they have to fix their past to save the kingdom. Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf head to the Enchanted Forest where they meet the Northuldra tribe and several Arendelle soldiers trapped there, and they learn that their mother Iduna was a Northuldra and she saved Agnarr when they were children. Elsa, Anna, and Olaf continue north as they find their parents’ wrecked ship and learn the truth about their voyage, and as a result Elsa continues on her own and reaches Ahtohallan. She realizes the voice is that of Iduna and she looks at the past as she learns her grandfather who had built a dam out of friendship and peace was false, and she learns that her grandfather also killed the leader of the tribe leading to the forest being closed off. Elsa is frozen as a result though relays this message to Anna who coerces the Earth spirits to destroy the dam and Elsa is unfrozen, and Elsa arrives in time to stop the rushing water from destroying Arendelle. Elsa stays in the forest as its protector and Anna becomes the new Queen of Arendelle as Kristoff proposes to her and she accepts. It is always good to see the sequel build on the previous film and continue the journeys of these characters, and now the question becomes if they decide to end it here or possibly continue on with a trilogy in addition to more shorts.

Random Watching Thoughts: If you want a deep dive into the making of the film, check out “Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2” on Disney+; Interesting that we start the film fairly similar to the first film with Anna and Elsa as children though this is clearly before the events of the first film since Anna knows about Elsa’s powers; Anna is all about love while Elsa is not; Fun Easter Egg appearances as one of the snow figures Elsa makes is Baymax from “Big Hero 6” and the elephant is Dumbo; Is it just me or does the snow dinosaur look a lot like Charmander from “Pokemon”?; Anna be like “You holding out on us like this, Father?”; He tells them to settle and they hold their breath; What many consider magic is simply the Northuldra working in harmony with the spirits; On the surface, them building a dam does feel a bit suspicious even if on the surface it seems like a sign of peace; The Earth spirits creating a rock sculpture of the reindeer; I wonder if the spirits knew what would happen and led Agnarr to Iduna as a premonition; Things went from peaceful to chaotic in no time flat; The spirits seemingly disappear and a mysterious fog then appears to serve as a barrier; Does Agnarr really not know that Iduna saved him or is he playing it up for the girls?; At least Anna is honest by saying that she’s not patience; Clearly, Anna doesn’t know the rest of the story if she just assumes the Northuldra attacked first; Octa-who-what; I do like how we got a little bit more backstory on Agnarr and Iduna after they were killed off pretty quickly in the first film; Dive into the sound, but not too far or you’ll drown, that’s clearly not any foreshadowing at all, right?; I don’t know why, but when I hear “All is Found” I get a “Into the West” vibe; He should know by now not to startle Elsa like that because stuff like that could happen; The blanket that Anna and Olaf lay on is the same one that is seen when Olaf sung “In Summer”; So instead of Olaf having his personal flurry over him, he is now permanently frozen; Olaf has become more philosophical as the years have gone by; Olaf just called Anna “ancient” and she is not bothered by that at all; It’s a good thing that painter got the tree on the canvas before the other guy chopped it down; Everyone thinks Kristoff is proposing to Sven and they feel incredibly awkward; Leave the romantic stuff to Sven; Oaken has brought his business into Arendelle; Sven is like “I look good in a dress”; Through one song, we got basically three different storylines going on; Anna would happen to grab the clothesline; So Elsa can now create fireworks with her powers; Olaf gives Sven his old nose to eat and he uses a new carrot; I’m amazed Olaf correctly guessed Anna was mocking Hans; Hans was the greatest mistake in Anna’s life; Olaf isn’t just any mouse, he is Mickey Mouse; Anna giving Kristoff the death glare; Treeople; I do wonder what Elsa was trying to come up with until she heard the voice; Olaf has Sven tell him bedtime stories; Kristoff really wants to propose though Anna is far too worried about Elsa; Anna knows something is wrong when Elsa is wearing their mother’s scarf; Anna almost taking on the role of Iduna by singing to Elsa; Anna still a drooler in her sleep; You can definitely tell that “Into the Unknown” was trying to be this film’s version of “Let It Go”; I wonder when her career is over if Idina Menzel will be better remembered for her run in “Wicked” or for voicing Elsa; Much like she inadvertently caused an eternal winter in Arendelle, Elsa once again inadvertently causes a problem as she awakens the spirits and they attack; A nice touch having the wind blow the flag away; Controlling what you can when things feel out of control; Anna has that look like Elsa is in way over her head with what she is saying; The trolls decide to come to them this time; Pabbie is like “Why do you two have to keep doing things like this?”; To be fair, Anna has done a lot without any powers to help her; Olaf making sure to bring the snacks; Another fun Easter egg is you can see Elsa’s ice palace on their journey; True Facts with Olaf: water has memory, men are six times more likely to be struck by lightning, gorillas burp when they are happy, people blink four million times a day, wombats poop squares, and yes indeed sleeping on long journeys prevent insanity; Sven is definitely thinking Kristoff is failing miserably and should quit while he’s ahead; Olaf just wants to have fun by being ejected repeatedly by the barrier; Don’t worry Olaf, you’ll learn what it means eventually; Sven can’t help but scratch himself on a tree; More foreshadowing as Kristoff explains the dangers if the dam was destroyed; Once again, Kristoff fails miserably in his proposal attempt; Who is Samantha?; Olaf thinks that if he was older, all of this would make sense to him; Olaf is blissfully singing while unknowingly avoiding various disasters; Olaf just casually introduces them to the Wind Spirit as they are stuck in a tornado; Elsa destroys the tornado and leaves ice sculptures of events of the past; Olaf trying to get warm from a fire made of ice; Sven happily drinking until Olaf made his comments and he quickly spits the water out; They can recognize their father immediately yet can’t make out their mother at the same time; Elsa basically creates an ice rink to stop them from attacking; That one is scared that Olaf is alive and he thinks the person is startled by him being naked; Olaf just laid out the entire plot of “Frozen” in a minute and a half; Elsa is so embarrassed when Olaf said she is hearing voices; Yeah, they really got it; Anna only recognizes Mattias through one of the portraits of him in the castle; Nature is certainly speaking with that tree being set on fire; All that damage and the fire spirit ends up being just a small salamander; That salamander has not been around much cold if he feels so relaxed in Elsa’s hands; Elsa trying to talk to the salamander similar to how Kristoff talks to Sven; That moment when Elsa and Anna finally realize that the one that saved Agnarr was in fact Iduna; If they are the people of the sun, why do they live in an area so far North that it’s cold?; Olaf trying to have an adult conversation with those children and all they want to do is play with his parts; Some more foreshadowing with Mattias telling Anna about life throwing you a new path; Lullabies always have a terrible warning to them; Olaf gets mad at the salamander, but can’t stay mad at him; The ways of men; Even Ryder talks for the reindeer; Kristoff finally gets out the proposal only for it to be Yelena instead; It’s weird seeing Sven sing and you wonder if he is really singing or if it is just Kristoff singing for him; Great reference to “Bohemian Rhapsody”; Give Olaf credit for trying to help Elsa by singing even if he is off-key and then he has the gall to say Elsa is off-pitch; That ship is still fairly in tact for being destroyed in a huge storm on the sea; Pretty ingenious note there by Anna that all of Arendelle’s ships have a waterproof compartment in them; Olaf makes a good point about making the whole ship waterproof; So they thought their parents were going south when in reality they went north to find the source of Elsa’s powers; Elsa thinks she is a curse while Anna tells her she’s a gift because of their mother’s actions; You think Anna convinced her only for Elsa to send them away because she knows it’s for the best; Olaf feeling anger for the first time; They just happen to be on a river where the Earth spirits are sleeping; How could they not scream going over a waterfall?; Yeah, Elsa’s doing so much better than them; Fun fact, Elsa climbing the rock in the ocean is a reference to “The Little Mermaid”; That water spirit really doesn’t want Elsa to keep going; Despite never seeing Elsa riding a real horse before, she is able to tame the water spirit; So they were right about Ahtohallan being a river, it’s just a frozen river; It’s funny that “Into the Unknown” is considered the “Let It Go” of this film, but I honestly find “Show Yourself” more like “Let It Go”; Elsa made her own dress in “Let It Go” and now her mother makes a new one for her here; Elsa cringing at herself singing; She’s like “Yeah, Hans is getting destroyed”; Fun fact, the book that a young Agnarr is reading is in fact “The Little Mermaid” by Hans Christian Andersen who was in fact Danish; Runeard foolishly thinks the Northuldra can’t be trusted and will rebel because they use what he calls “magic”, and he wants to weaken them so they have no choice but to follow his rule; Despite the warnings, Elsa dives deeper; In an interesting twist, Elsa starts to freeze similar to how Anna became frozen in the first film; What must Anna be thinking knowing now that her grandfather instigated a war?; Anna now realizes that the only way to save everything is to break the dam and destroy Arendelle; So because Elsa is frozen, her magic becomes useless which leads to Olaf disappearing; This is a pretty sad moment when Olaf fades away; Pretty big moment here for Anna as she realizes it’s her time to step up and save the day; It’s a good thing Anna didn’t share her plan with anyone or they would’ve told her she is insane; Mattias hesitates briefly before willing discarding his duties so he can help Anna; Literally right as the dam collapses, Elsa returns to normal; I will say even though they wanted you to feel the tension and that Arendelle could be destroyed, knowing the people were already safe does lessen it just a bit; That horse is lightning fast to get Elsa ahead of the rushing water so she can block it and save Arendelle; Ryder is so awe-struck just to see the blue sky; 34 years, 5 months, and 23 days; A reindeer racetrack; Elsa is so calm and Anna is so wrought with emotion; Yeah Kristoff, she cut her hair; Olaf thinks everyone else left and not him; Kristoff finally gets the courage to propose to Anna, but he should be thankful she said yes; Elsa realizes that what’s best for Arendelle is Anna; Sven wearing a bowtie; Olaf just looks weird dressed up in anything; Kristoff really cleans up nicely; Of course it would be Sven’s idea; Olaf got out of that outfit really quickly; Mattias has been gone for so long that he doesn’t know what photos are; Gale the wind spirit now acting as the messenger between Anna and Elsa; After all this, they still make it a point to play Charades on Friday nights; Cool parting shot of Elsa riding off into the sunset; Olaf shares the story to Marshmallow and the Snowgies.

Overall Thoughts: Overall, this film ended up being a pretty great film that may not have matched up to the first film, but it was still a really fun film and a great sequel to the first film. Obviously, the bar the first film had set was very high and it was going to be hard for this film to come close to matching it, but I feel that it did a fine job and it also had all the shorts to build on which was in its favor. The 2010s have been a great year for Disney as they were pulling in a lot of money and they would launch their biggest project to date in Disney+, and this was a great film to close out the decade and hopes were high going into the new decade though 2020 would prove to be a lot more tumultuous than anyone could’ve anticipated. As for this film, it is a really great film and a good cap to arguably the best decade in Disney history in terms of great films.

Final Grade: 9/10