Review: Frozen II
The first Frozen movie was released in 2013. It was more than a huge hit – it was a cultural phenomenon. It’s surprising that it’s taken so long before we’ve been hit with the inevitable sequel, but the good news is that it’s been worth the wait.
The jumping off point for Frozen is The Snow Queen – a story by Hans Christian Andersen that has been adapted for the screen by Jennifer Lee.
Lee and co-director Chris Buck have retained creative control of the franchise, and everything that you loved about Frozen is back and built on for Frozen II.
Front-and-centre is the cast – Idina Menzel (Elsa), Kristen Bell (Anna), Jonathan Groff (Kristoff), and Josh Gad (Olaf).
Frozen feels fresh because it determinedly pushes past fairy-tale tropes the search for true love and princesses needing to be rescued. The focus here is on empowerment, figuring out who you are, and doing the right thing. Giving the whole thing some warmth and charm is a knowing humour.
It was really pleasing to see the Sámi – the indigenous people of the Arctic – so respectfully and authentically represented. If you want a bit of a Frozen experience, head to northern Norway where you can visit Sámi families and help feed their reindeer lichen – it’s beyond joyful.
Despite the fan-driven campaigns for Elsa to have a girlfriend in Frozen II, that hasn’t happened – a move that was firmly telegraphed in advance of release. I was a bit surprised by how determinedly un-queer the whole thing is. Sure, you can find some queer subtext if you project your imagination hard enough, but the Disney team have definitely played it safe with this one.
Whatever age you are, and whatever your sexuality – you’re going to enjoy Frozen II.