Asst. Arts & Entertainment Editor
Frozen 2 is one of the highest-grossing films of the year. Cover photo courtesy of Flickr
Six years ago, my mom drove my friends and me through a snowstorm to the closest movie theatre we could find for the sake of seeing the breakout movie of the year — “Frozen.” I remember posing near the movie poster with my junior high friends, quoting lines from the movie and humming “Let It Go.” Little did we know that Disney and the rest of the world would in fact not let it go.
Frozen II made its debut on Nov. 22, bringing everyone’s favorite ice queen, sassy sister and adorable snowman back to the screen. In its first weekend, the Disney sequel became the third-highest animated film opening in box office history according to CNBC, raking in $127 million domestically.
While everyone should watch the sequel (and let’s face it, you probably won’t be able to avoid it), here are a few highlights…
Hey Elsa, do you want to rake some leaves?
Instead of depicting an epic winter wonderland, Frozen II takes place in an enchanted autumnal forest. Without revealing too much of the plot, Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf find themselves having to investigate the past in order to build a future for the kingdom of Arendale. There are twists and turns involving the native Northuldra tribe, mystical powers and family secrets that leave the sisters questioning their ancestry and themselves.
I personally loved the incorporation of a new season into the sequel. Yes, the title forces snow and ice, but the contrast of colorful leaves and fall jackets helped make Frozen II its own.
The cast you know and love… and then some
Everyone is back, of course. What would Frozen II be without Idina Menzel’s pipes or Josh Gad’s signature Olaf chuckle? The signature gang also includes Kristen Bell (Anna) and Jonathan Groff (Kristoff). By the looks of the casts’ Instagram pages and James Corden’s Crosswalk the Musical: Frozen, they really are best buddies.
New additions to the star-studded cast include actor Sterling K. Brown (“This is Us,” “Black Panther”) and Evan Rachel Wood (“American Gothic,” “Westworld”). Brown voices Lieutenant Mattias of Arendale’s military that Anna and Elsa meet during their quest. Wood takes on the role of Anna and Elsa’s deceased mother Queen Iduna. She sings them a soothing lullaby in their youth that weaves its way into the rest of the film.
Those Elsa rumors
Audiences were wondering if Disney would stand by its “Love Is An Open Door” philosophy regarding Elsa’s love life in Frozen II. Fans have been speculating her sexuality for the past six years, and did they get an answer? No.
Disney chose not to give Elsa a romantic partner in Frozen II.
“In these films, the most powerful thing is that she’s always trying to find and build the love inside for herself,” Menzel said in an interview with Refinery29.
Fans are hopeful though after some friendly interactions between Elsa and a new character named Honeymaren (Rachel Matthews). Maybe a romantic relationship may come about if there is a third installment to the franchise?
The new “Let It Go”
The soundtrack from the first film became iconic in a short amount of time. So what songs should you expect to hear your little cousins screaming at the top of their lungs this holiday season?
Elsa has another show-stopping power ballad titled “Into the Unknown.” The song helps sets up the plot for the rest of the film, and yes, it’s extremely catchy. Panic! At The Disco sings their own version during the credits, so between them or Menzel, you can’t really go wrong.
This time around, Anna also has her own song. Titled “The Next Right Thing,” it comes at a part of the movie where the character and the audience are pretty darn depressed. Kristen Bell lends her pure voice to tell a relatable story of picking yourself back up, dealing with grief and simply doing the best you can.
The stand-out song for me came as a huge surprise. Kristoff (Groff), Sven and a crew of reindeer (yes, you heard me) perform a 1980s boy band style song called “Lost in the Woods.” When Anna leaves to help her sister, Kristoff is frustrated as he’s already been trying to find the perfect time to propose. The scene is hilarious with cheesy close-ups, freeze frames and the adorable reindeer back-up vocals.
And of course, Olaf has his own musical number. While in the Enchanted Forest, mysterious things are happening. As a response, Olaf sings “When I’m Older” to comfort himself and look positively at the situation.
Overall, Frozen II is quite different from the original with a deeper, more complex plot and new character development. However, the music, humor and general feel-good vibe of the movie delivers exactly what fans might expect. I recommend going to see it over the holidays. What Els-a you going to do?