For six years, parents have been stuck in a perpetual snowstorm as their kids listen and sing along to Frozen’s “Let It Go” on repeat. Talk to any kid under the age of 10 and they’re likely to know all the words by heart. The same goes for all of the other songs in the film. Truth be told there was a time after the film came out where even I was constantly listening to the song; it’s just that catchy. And while no one will be forgetting “Let It Go” anytime soon, Frozen 2 does a wonderful job at introducing plenty of new and memorable songs alongside an empowering and heartfelt story that is sure to warm even the coldest of hearts. It’s a sequel that stands toe-to-toe with the original, which isn’t exactly an easy feat to accomplish.
Life has been good for Anna, Elsa, and all of Arendelle for the past couple of years. Anna and Kristoff are getting closer and closer, Elsa is in more control of her powers than ever, and the kingdom overall is flourishing. Everything is perfect. That all changes when Elsa hears a soft melody in the distance that brings back memories of a bedtime story about an enchanted forest protected by a thick cloud of fog her parents used to tell her and Anna as kids. Together Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf head out to investigate this so-called enchanted forest and learn the truth behind its mysterious past.
There’s no denying the impact Frozen had on the whole Disney Princesses theme when it first came out. It wasn’t about falling in love with “the one” but more about the love between two sisters. Frozen 2 builds upon that love and shows just how powerful that bond can be. There also isn’t really a villain for Anna and Elsa to defeat. Here they have to overcome the natural elements of earth, fire, wind, and water in order to discover the truth they’re searching for. While that may sound like just a different coat of paint on the same old story, the film isn’t about good versus evil. You can’t defeat nature. The only thing you can do is hope to tame it, and overcome its obstacles. It’s an empowering story about how sheer force won’t solve all of life’s difficulties.
Frozen 2 also delivers plenty of laughs, for both kids and adults alike. What surprised me most about the film was just how hilarious they make Olaf. He was great in Frozen, but he absolutely steals the entire film this time around. At one point he re-enacts the entire first film to catch some newcomers up to speed, and it’s downright adorable. There’s also the juxtaposition of an anthropomorphic snowman spouting philosophical wisdoms about getting older that’s funny in how not true they are. It’s because he’s so innocent and good-natured that you just want to live in Olaf’s fantasties for a moment. There’s also a new fiery salamander character that is absolutely adorable and is sure to be a new favorite of many kids. It’s practically impossible to not fall in love with one thing or another.
Of course it wouldn’t be a proper Disney and Frozen film without plenty of catchy songs, and Frozen 2 delivers a handful of memorable ones. While none are on quite the same level as “Let It Go,” there are some that stand above the rest. Disney is clearly pushing for "Into the Unknown" to be the next “Let It Go,” as evident by their Panic at the Disco! cover version of the song, and while it’s decent enough, it just doesn’t carry the same heft to it. Personally I feel that honor belongs to "Show Yourself," a strong and overcoming song sung by Elsa much in the same vein as before. There’s also the equally powerful "The Next Right Thing" sung by Anna that has great words of wisdom embedded in its lyrics, even though it may sound a little downbeat at first. Of course, some songs are there just to make you belt out with laughter like Kristoff’s amazing 80s power ballad "Lost in the Woods.” There really is a song for every mood, and I can see myself listening to the soundtrack on repeat.
Frozen 2 feels like a more mature and more empowering film than its predecessor, yet still retains its humor and adorable characters. It’s great for kids, but there’s also more heft to its story that adults can gravitate more towards this time around. You’ll laugh, cry, and ultimately come out feeling better about yourself and others in the end. There’s nothing cold about it.