With the making of Frozen 2 being advertised all over the place, no matter if you have Disney plus or not, I decided that I might as well follow up my Frozen review with a Frozen 2 review. You may have seen my recent blog using Frozen 2’s blunt breaking or disproving the most popular Frozen theories out there, so many may think I didn’t like the movie.
I loved it and I hated it. It’s one of those things that it feels like it’s so close to perfect that it drives you nuts. The overall story is much weaker than the first film, but what can I expect when the only premise for making the film was “We want more Frozen merch and money.” Though they only made the film because, as the creators said, they felt Frozen was perfect and didn’t need a squeal. Not only that, but let's be honest, making a squeal of a surprise wonder, hit like Frozen is scary. You can't just copy it! And the odds of making another great success is very slim. J.K. Rowling was once asked if she felt pressure to do super well and make books as big as Harry Potter again and she replied of course not! She isn't what made Harry Potter so great. She couldn't control that. And I think that's how the makers of Frozen felt. They couldn't just copy that success again. And they didn't really want to try or have the pressure to from corporate. They only made it because they found a question a movie could answer, and Disney wanted it made. Much like the live action remakes we’ve been seeing.
But even with that hurting it, the film is pretty good. I liked the themes of things having to change even if you don’t want to. I couldn’t help but think of the creators feeling this way about the movie. I think they’d liked the happily ever after they gave the sisters. And now they have to ruin it and split them up. Somethings have to change, even if they don’t like it.
I also liked Disney’s attempt at deeper, harder magic and lore. The movie was only made to answer the question of where Elsa’s powers come from. In the movie, it says it was because Anna and Elsa’s mother, was blessed for saving her enemy to be the mother of the fifth spirit, which is seen to be Elsa, but Elsa in the film says the bridge has two sides, as the fifth spirit is that bridge between magical and humans. Elsa is the magic side of the bridge and Anna the human side.
Kind of wimpy as far as magic in fantasy goes, but it is Disney, and they don’t do deep lore . This was their first attempt at deep magic in their main line cartoons. And for that, they didn’t do a terrible job, but not a great one either. Because it made more questions than it answered. And for film trying to answer questions, that makes a problem.
I honestly think it’s because this movie was hard for the creators to make as they weren’t really sure what they wanted to do, as they had openly said they didn’t want to make a squeal. However, they did great. The best part of the movie, as with the first one, was again the music. It didn’t take off like Frozen though for many reasons.
One, the elements that made “Let it Go” carry the popularity of the first movie were lacking from all their songs. “Into the Unknown” is not easy for a Toddler to sing, therefore harder to make viral videos of kids singing to it, right? Also, there was no scene where little kids could pretend to be doing the magic like in “Let it Go”. I can, and likely will, do a blog about what makes “Let it Go” that “Into the Unknown” lacks, but let’s just say they really needed a new “Let it Go” and “Into the Unknown” wasn’t it. Neither was “Show Yourself” though from a pool of all the little children I know, that song was more a favorite than into “Into the Unknown” by a land slide. And not having a lot of merch and scenes to go with that could be part of the issue.
But I think it all came down to, it was a good Disney movie, but it wasn’t great. It couldn’t compete with Frozen, and the bigger problem, it undid most everything Frozen did. There were very different themes and the characters didn’t feel like they were as connected and grounded as before. They grow, as they should, but it made the movie feel disconnected from it’s predecessor and that was not a good point for helping the film do well.
In fact, Frozen 2 was banking on making most of it’s money from merch like it had before. And it did not do well on that count because the movie didn’t capture children’s minds the way the first one did. Build a Bear actually lodged a complain with Disney because they lost money on the Frozen 2 merch they tried to sell. Yeah, no joke, they lost money. That’s not happened with any other Disney deal they’ve done.
The problem was, as I saw even with the advertising early on, Frozen 2 wasn’t made for those it would make money from. It wasn’t for the kids. It was for us, the older Disney fans who like magic, theories, and delving deeper. It was made for the adults who loved the messages in Frozen about women’s issues, true love, and just how relatable the struggling Anna and Elsa were. And Disney does not make money, let alone merch money, making a movie for this group.
So did I like the movie, oh yes, I enjoyed it. Not as much as I wanted to. In fact, it made me want to rewrite it for them! They had a good idea, and a good ending but it felt forced and hard to get to. I honestly wish they made the movie, but not as a squeal to Frozen. Use someone else with magical power or something. Because it just was so disconnected from the original film. There are very few references to the original. The only on making you wonder if the creators are embarrassed by the missed message in their first film with how Elsa reacts to the shadow of her past self singing let it go. I just didn’t feel like it was the squeal Frozen needed. I like the movie as a stand alone for sure. But it just wasn’t a good squeal.
Final rating 7/10. It should have been targeted for the kids. It likely will fade into the background with the other Disney princess squeals despite being made by the main Disney animation studio instead of a second like most others. But it’s a good movie.