Frozen II reimagined the idea of a sequel in fun and surprising ways. At times, it was a very typical sequel – but then it wasn’t. The characters you grew to love from the first film – Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven – are back and continue the story. But I loved the nuances that Jennifer Lee, who both co-directed and wrote the movie, included. The story was creative in its twists and turns exploring the origins of Elsa’s powers and who her parents really were. It answered questions I never thought to ask, yet tied in seamlessly into the world they created. Kristen Bell’s, Anna turns out not to be just your ordinary second fiddle character and instead flips the sidekick role she seemed assigned to in the first film to become something more. Josh Gad again does a great job of bringing Olaf to life and along with Jennifer’s script interjects some wonderfully funny moments into the film. But is also responsible for perhaps the biggest tear jerk scene of all (if you thought Bing Bong’s fate in Inside Out was devastating, you’ll probably need a few Kleenex for this one too).
The images were strikingly beautiful. The colors, the backgrounds, the special effects, and the characters all were so exquisitely rendered. Everything seemed to simply POP! Watching the film was a visual dessert for the eyes. Sometimes the songs felt a bit forced, trying to spark the magic of the original Frozen, but they were still beautiful to hear. And at least Kristoff got a full song this time! Getting to hear Jonathan Groff’s voice let loose is a treat (and he was the voice of 17 reindeer!). Idina Menzel of course had another amazing song with “Into the Unknown” that only a true vocal talent could master (and to think they found 29 of them around the world?). My favorite Kristen Bell song got cut from the film though. “Home” reminded me in some ways of “Love Is An Open Door” and I was sad to see it go, but so glad they included it in the bonus features.
Speaking of which, if you liked the film, the home release gives you exciting extras, taking you into the unknown by showing you not only behind the scenes insights into the creation of Frozen II, but really offering you even more! Deleted scenes, additional songs cut from the film, a bunch of fun facts and Easter eggs, and a sing-along version of the film. Plus two digital only bonus features about the Lopezes and a song for Olaf that got cut called “Unmeltable Me.” I loved the sequence called “Did You Know?” which shared lots of trivia and hidden homages to other Disney films and done in a fun way. The “Outtakes” weren’t just bloopers but instead gave us a glimpse into the process of creating the film. I loved how they cut the different blooper takes with the animation so you can see how or why certain shots worked better than others. And of course another multi-language reel of “Into the Unknown.” How do they find so many talented people to sing these impossible to sing songs?
While the deleted scenes were fascinating, it was clear why they were cut. But I enjoyed the deleted songs the most. Like I shared already, “Home” was my favorite Kristen Bell song. Just well made and I’m sure would have looked beautiful and stunning with finished animation. “I Wanna Get This Right” was nice and had another gender reversal twist, but made Kristoff seem a little sad so that was a good cut. “Unmeltable Me” was typically cute Josh Gad but didn’t really advance the story well and Olaf already had a funny solo in “When I Am Older,” but this would definitely have been truly funny.
If you loved the film (as apparently most of you did seeing it is the most successful animated film of all time), seeing the home release will make you love it even more. Unlike many sequels, Frozen II successfully added to the lore of the original film. It wasn’t just a film to make money (although again, it did that pretty well with over $1.44 billion in worldwide gross). It added to the story, added to the depth of the characters, and gave them room to grow. Will there be a Frozen III? It seems unavoidable, but I hope if there is it will live up to the first two.