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Published On: Thu, Nov 21st, 2019

‘Frozen 2’ Movie Review: Disney disappoints kids and parent with a dark message void of ‘Sing-a-long’

Frozen 2 is expected to fill theaters with its opening on Friday (November 22, 2019) across the country, but I believe that little girls in their Anna and Elsa outfits are going to be very upset when they go home. I would be very surprised if any of them will even understand why they feel so awkward.  

While the trailer has hinted that the beloved characters will be facing an epic adventure into the great unknown and be transformed by their experience, I feel that Disney just tried to do too much on a grand level with this story and ended up with a very confusing and unclear story (although visually FABULOUS!) that is probably darker than any of its other animated films.

If I were asked to rate the film solely on the value of its animation, I would absolutely give it 10 stars.  The details in the scenery are so true that I honestly thought they had incorporated some nature video sequences into the animation.  We probably shouldn’t still be so utterly amazed with the capabilities of CGI, but the work of the creative team on this film is truly breathtaking and should set the new bar in this field.

If the music had lived up to the legendary Disney caliber of the collective songs from the original film, it would have been a very redeeming quality that could have thrown a bit of light into the darkness of the story.  But the music just doesn’t seem to have any of the desired “sing-along” quality.

The chorus of “Into the Unknown” is the only little melody that struck me and I have to recognize that it was probably due to the super-powered vocal skills of Idina Menzel.  Kristoff (voiced by Jonathon Groff) sings a very sweet song (“Lost in the Woods”) but it is overshadowed by cheesy visual effects that looked like a music video from the 80’s. His sequence reminded me of music videos by Queen, Air Supply, and Journey. It was extremely distracting and felt oddly out of place. 

While this may have been intended to amuse adults ages 40-50, it was just a distraction against what is probably a nice song.

Finally, everyone’s favorite snowman, Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad) has a musical number “When I Am Older” which is extremely cute when paired with its visual sequences (but I’m not sure if it will make a lot of sense on its own).  The lyrics bring us back to the concept of maturing and transformation which Olaf is trying to process throughout the story.

So, let’s talk about the story without revealing any spoilers (which is very challenging since there are some really big ones).  If you were disturbed by Bambi losing his mother, seeing Mufasa fall from the cliff, or even knowing that the ship from Arendelle being swallowed by a tumultuous sea meant that Anna and Elsa were orphaned, then prepare to be incredibly disturbed by the darkness presented in Frozen 2.  T

he big secret the sisters discover is a horribly evil act performed by a respected ancestor. Their quest leads them to right this wrong, but how this is done doesn’t seem impactful or make much sense. The consequences of their correction are not very clear. I really think small children will be completely lost with this storyline.  Not to mention that the way the secret is magically revealed doesn’t really connect the dots either. It just leads to more audience confusion.

There is a famous Walt Disney quote:  “Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional.” 

Had the creators of the film thought about that statement a bit more, we might have had a very different story on our hands.  The creators could have presented a story that involved themes of maturing and changing, without that intense darkness. It seems like the film is trying to force little kids to grow up very quickly and I don’t believe parents are going to expect this from their happy-go-lucky outing to the movies.  There are some big things that happen that just make the overall experience a huge downer.  

So, big screen or small screen?  The reality is that this film will make money because so many fans are going to rush out to see it, but I truly think they’ll be disappointed.  That doesn’t mean kids won’t want to obvious new toys that will be marketed of new characters, but I’d be surprised to see anyone playing the film over and over when it comes out on DVD.  If you’re a fan of animation, then the big screen is a good choice for you. But otherwise, I would honestly suggest waiting for the DVD and watching it at home where you can pause the movie and help small children understand the story as they try to process the darkness that is unfolding before them.

Frozen 2 earns 5 (maybe 6) stars out of 10 stars

Author: Debbie Sage

 

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