Favorite "Frozen" characters return with new songs, complex issues

Disney’s “Frozen II” is now playing in theaters everywhere and is rated PG. (photo courtesy of Disney)

Disney fans have eagerly awaited the sequel for beloved characters Elsa, Anna, Olaf and Kristoff, who first appeared in the hit 2013 film “Frozen.” The highly anticipated animated musical “Frozen II” premiered Nov. 22 and revealed the aftermath of the events in the first film with an exciting original soundtrack and a strikingly complex storyline. 

The audience is seamlessly reunited with the characters as a new mystery unravels. The adored sisters and their friends find the peaceful and happy new life they have built crumbling as Elsa (Idina Menzel) journeys to understand more about her powers, her past and the people who live outside their kingdom. 

I expected a fresh and exciting storyline from the film, but I was concerned the quality of the musical numbers would not compare to those in the first film. After all, it would be hard for any “Frozen” movie sequel song to successfully follow the instant hit “Let it Go” from the original movie. However, after viewing this film, I found the songs took the spotlight rather than the storyline itself.

Early in the film, a light-hearted song titled “Some Things Never Change” is sung by all the main characters who discuss things that remain constant in life while changes happen in a humorous fashion simultaneously on screen. 

Anyone can relate easily to the sentiments expressed in the song because most of us fear the inevitability of change. It is an unfamiliar and almost existential move from Disney, but it’s appropriate for us in a time when, as a society, we are no longer afraid to express our fears. These themes are carried out through the movie as Olaf (Josh Gad) — the beloved snowman — ponders deep, philosophical questions to better understand his existence. 

Another noteworthy song, especially to fans of rock music, is “Lost in the Woods,” in which Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) expresses his confusing feelings toward Anna (Kristen Bell). The song begins with power chords reminiscent of an REO Speedwagon rock ballad and during the song, there is a visual reference to Queen’s famous “Bohemian Rhapsody” music video. If Kristoff was not your favorite character before this film, he is bound to be after you experience this scene.     

Everyone has met a little kid who is utterly obsessed with “Frozen.” Although the quality of the music in the sequel matched that of the first, the storyline is a bit more difficult for all ages to comprehend. It introduces the concept of an unseen spirit world which is calling out to Elsa throughout the film. The idea of spirits can be confusing and even frightening to young children. The complexity of this topic was the movie’s key flaw in maintaining the interest in people of all age groups. 

The sequel’s ending is difficult to predict and was therefore much more enjoyable to an adult audience than most animated Disney films. It inspired genuine concern for resolve and was successful in keeping viewers on the edge of their seats.

Another way in which the story appeals to an older audience is the bold portrayal of current social issues our society faces concerning conflict between people groups. This can be compared to Disney’s “Zootopia,” as it uses unfamiliar characters as a metaphor for all-too-familiar issues within America. 

Disney’s “Frozen II” is now playing in theaters everywhere and is rated PG.

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