Frozen II is by far the best animated film of 2019 — and I say that fully aware that Toy Story 4 came out this year. (TS:4 is a really close second.)
Disney has given us some great content this year, and I know they’re not done yet, especially with the launch of Disney+. Frozen II has everything a great film should. It honors the original while going in a new and compelling direction. Disney doesn’t really do feature animated sequels, but they nailed it with Frozen II.
Frozen II continues the story of Queen Elsa and Princess Anna from Arendelle with their friends Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven. They set out on a journey beyond the borders of Arendelle into new lands, searching for answers about Elsa’s past, her magic powers, and who she really is. Along the way, Anna and Elsa hope to find the answers they’ve been seeking about their family.
During the press conference for Frozen II, each member of the cast and crew described the new film using one word. Their answers? Perseverance, change, courage, adventure, soulful, growth, epic, and resilience. The film tackles each and every one of these words on different levels. Frozen II approaches some major topics, like: environmentalism, our relationship to nature, colonization, reparations, mental health, and of course, the love within a family.
The characters themselves are still some of the best Disney has developed. The depth behind Elsa and Anna still impresses. In Frozen II, we get to see different sides of Kristoff and Olaf as well. The complexity of the characters creates a smart story that caters to both kids and adults alike. You can definitely feel the growth and maturity of both the characters and the story. The characters and the journey they take in Frozen II redefine what it means to be a Disney role model. Anna and Elsa are two fiercely independent princesses who are changing the way we think about the fairytale notion of happily ever after and what it means to love. The trials and obstacles faced in Frozen II demand more than bravery and a sense of adventure. The characters were tested in ways I never thought Disney would ever take an animated musical feature. It was a little dark at times, but genuine in every moment.
The music is more mature as well. The songs are utilized to enhance the powerful topics. During the press conference, songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez said that “Let It Go” would not have happened if it wasn’t for Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck in the story room inspiring them. “It was this story of the emotion between these two sisters that Jennifer brought,” said Anderson-Lopez. “It really made us think we need to go deeper. It was really all about story and character, making us think about a more complicated, more layered sisterhood story.”
This sentiment has clearly crossed over to Frozen II with the new song titled, “Into the Unknown.” It is another catchy tune that really gives heart and depth to the entire film. I suspect it will be a hit and fan-favorite just like “Let It Go” was for Frozen. The other songs in the film are brilliant as well. They are so well written and add so much to the characters and story. They teach us even more about the characters we have loved over the years. Finally, Kristoff has a song of his own, and it is truly epic.
The production of Frozen II is fantastic. Seeing Anna and Elsa doing your normal, everyday family things is Disney magic at its best. Learning more about their lives was an integral part of this film. The writing for Olaf makes the little snowman even more hilarious. He was, hands down, the best character in Frozen — funny, charming, lovable, adorable, etc., etc. This sets the bar high for sequels. Not only did Disney succeed at continuing the storyline, they also increased the love we have for franchise. They took the time to answer a lot of the questions that we all had after Frozen. We learned in the press conference the amount of research, time, and effort that was put into this film. There was a trip to Sweden and Norway to help visually create the vast lands beyond Arendelle’s borders. The entire film is beautiful. From the dark ocean shores to the bright autumn forests, the film visually takes you on a ride through different color pallets and emotions.
Frozen II exceeds expectations. You can tell the cast and crew put their heart and soul into this film. During the press conference, Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, and Jonathan Groff all had the best compliments for each other. You can sense the pure joy they had for bringing this story to life for audiences all around the world. Writer and Director Jennifer Lee is very proud of this film, and she should be.
Be sure to see Frozen II in theaters, November 22.