The Villain of Frozen II
After the great bamboozle that was Hans Christian Anderson being the villain of his own story, Frozen II figured there was only one twist that could top that…. there being no antagonist at all. The lurking evil wasn’t some mystical magical forest entity or some cosmic event. The real evil of Frozen II is boomers. And they defeat boomers in the way you’d expect… condescension.
Frozen II is literally a story of boomers fucking up everything, and it’s up to the next generation to fix everything by tearing down their walls… er, I mean borders, whoops I meant dam. (You know if it was a real mistake, I wouldn’t keep it in there… I know what I said). I wouldn’t be surprised if in the concept art you see grand pappy wearing a bright red hat, guess we can’t be that on the nose.
Nothing says grand adventure like traveling to your backyard, defeating a guy who’s been dead for 30 years and pretending we made a difference. The strange thing about their grandpa is that Anna and Elsa couldn’t be any less apathetic about it. You probably have a more adverse reaction to waking up and realizing it’s Tuesday then these two care about their grandpa essentially starting a race war.
I get it, as some would say the past is in the past and we have so much fun adventure to go on that we can’t be dwelling too much on the past. I mean it’s not like the film opened with a flashback where some affection or admiration for the old guy could have easily been established instead of just showing an event that’s revealed later in the film… oh wait.
Or you could have made it the Dad, you cowards.
I don’t know what but there definitely was room to make this more impactful but if you’re perfectly fine with Anna realizing that her family pretty much gave these wholesome indigenous people smallpox blankets and have been disrupting the balance of nature for over a decade with the same demeanor of Elsa asking her to go to the store to pick up milk than that’s fine I guess.
The Real Villain of Frozen II
The best way to illustrate this is with Anna’s song at the end, The Next Right Thing. To me this song is a lot of what’s wrong with this film. It feels absolutely detached from everything that led up to that moment. I would almost say it feels like a song that is less about Anna reacting to the news that Elsa is in deep trouble and that it’s up to her to be the one to come up with the solution. It plays out like someone decided to make music for the vague screenplay beat of the “darkest moment of the soul” moment. Our character must be in despair because that’s just how you write a dramatic movie, so draft a shitty version of “The Sound of Silence” and give our character a huge triumphant moment at the end to show they overcome it. Except we can’t give Anna anything cool at all to do so that big moment is she is going to parkour jump over a 3ft gap.
If anything, this song is an embarrassing abandonment of Anna’s function in the narrative at this point. Anna up to this point has been trying to reason with Elsa to listen to her and to not throw caution in the wind. Anna as someone who has already proven she can complete her own epic journey (I mean this is FROZEN 2, right) but also understands she had almost gotten herself killed doing so, has been trying to get Elsa to do what she believes is the right track. You would think the song was maybe about something like I don’t know, “ I can’t stop Elsa from getting into trouble or bad things from happening I can only do what is in my control and with that mindset I will continue to do the next right thing there is to do”.
What makes no sense is to have the person who has been self-assured, not caused any of conflict or drama, and not shown any degree of co-dependency or over-reliance on Elsa to bail her out of situations; sing a song about how she is lost and hopeless without Elsa there to fix everything. Yeah, she learns to be more independent (a problem she never had to begin with) but I mean “I can’t find my direction, I’m all alone. The only star that guided me was you” since when is Anna a helpless puppy dog?
I’m honestly starting to ask myself, would the plot of this movie have made more sense if the roles were reversed. With that I mean that what it was Anna going through a situation where she was motivated by insecurity but learned she was special and not a boring nobody that had nothing interesting about them. Then you have Elsa be the one that is anxious that their bond could be severed as her sister has always been the one to help her see the light and overcome her fears. For who these characters are, I honestly think this makes more sense to me, but I guess the focus has to be Elsa because she’s more popular or whatever… nobody plays Mario to play as Luigi right?
As you can see “The Next Right Thing” is a contentious moment in this film, but when you watch the Disney YouTube upload of the song, you don’t find many opinions that align with my own do you?
I know everyone is freaking out about Elsa but this song here, this song is going to save lives.– Jen Chapman
This song is literally how to overcome depression caused by trauma and lost– Romy Potash
I broke down in theaters in this scene, and then watching her convince herself to take one step, one more step, breaking it down to small steps to accomplish so she can keep moving, I sobbed. I related too much to that feeling of not wanting to get up and move on, and why would I still be here if this person isn’t in my life anymore. Watching Anna get up and literally save her kingdom while losing two of the people she loves in the matter of minutes, just made me bawl like a baby– Dat1Fangirl
People saying this isn’t for kids… but my four year old who lost his grandma, who was his world, last year totally and completely understood this.– Rose Holt
Reading these comments made me realize, if you can’t recognize who the villain is, maybe it’s you? Maybe with this review I am the true villain hoping to tarnish your wholesome and fun time? I feel this is one of those films that some might vilify the criticisms towards it. I may not have said the nicest things about this film, and I don’t speak for everyone, but please know that I never want to invalidate your opinion/ your feelings. Although I found it slightly insincere because of the mechanics that delivered this moment, if this song or this scene garnered a sentimental connect with you then you’re completely justified in feeling that way and certainly don’t let some jerk on the internet spoil that for you. I always find a review is a way to present your opinion, not assert your opinion. My goal is to get you to consider the way in which I interpret a film, not brainwash you into agreeing with me. I sympathize with these comments and if that song demonstrated the flaw with the film, these comments showcase the best aspect of Frozen II. That is the pure fact of leaving an impression on your audience, that things will resonate on a differently emotional levels with people. That there’s no pure objectivity to a film’s quality, the quality that is how it makes people think and makes people feel. That’s the beauty of cinema, and that’s a beauty you can find in Frozen II.
Now if you don’t mind me, I thought that’s where I would end this, but it seems I have a little more lampooning to do. So let’s awkwardly transition into the last segment of this review.
The Nonsensical Ending
The ending of Frozen II is a confusing mess of emotional manipulation and parading unnecessary changes to the status quo as development or meaningful character growth. A movie that is so devoid of any genuine emotion that they literally decided Olaf “didn’t feel so good, Mr. Stark” for really no reason, maybe to make your three-year old cry. When this happened coinciding with Elsa’s getting frozen for a 10-minute time out, I thought. Wow, this is interesting, how is Anna going to get to Retcon Island she doesn’t have any ice powers or a magic water horse. You think maybe this is a save the city moment where Anna unites the indigenous people, and the Arendelle soldiers, and the reindeer and they build a boat and go rescue Elsa. It’s a moment that shows that Anna can be a leader and really establishes that she might be a great ruler someday, wink. BUT APPARENTLY THAT’S STUPID, I GUESS.
No, let’s have Anna for some baseless, illogical reason just assume that destroying the dam and destroying Arendelle (but not really) will save Elsa. Elsa is of course completely fine and despite realistically being miles behind the tidal wave caused by the dam burst, gets in front of it and has enough time to make a giant barrier of ice and the water doesn’t get displaced anywhere else, either. Can’t destroy Disneyland Paris’ new attraction can we.
Then we have the ending piece that just leaves me beyond baffled. Elsa decides I belong in the forest and that she’s staying there… Why? No seriously why? Can anyone give me a legitimate reason as to how she came to this conclusion. Did she show an enjoyment or sense of belonging with the forest people or the spirits of the forest? Not, really. Did the forest people need her to be their leader? They seemed to be doing just fine. Does Elsa like her country, friends, and family? The movie keeps telling me she does, but she pretty much just shrugs them off for 90% of this movie and then says I want to see you only on the weekends, like a divorced parent. I guess she does, but I’m starting to have my doubts.
To me, this movie is very comparable to the other fandom musical movie, Steven Universe the Movie (spoilers for that incoming).
Both film’s start with all the characters feeling a high that after the trauma of prior events they can finally live happily ever after. An outsider causes a threat which will cause havoc, both films feel very referential to the franchise’s history (some more organically then the other) and try to do an unconventional story structure where the end goal is less about defeating a villain but preventing an impending doom. By the end, the main thing learned is that things do change and that happily ever after isn’t necessarily a constant state of bliss.
I bring this up as an example because, in a lot of ways it’s the same premise, but image how jarring and dumbfounding it would be if say, Steven decided to go live with the Diamonds at the end with no justification at all. To me, that would be on the same level as Elsa just going to live in the forest. Steven has the same vague obligation to live there as Elsa, but his friends and family are on Earth so of course he wouldn’t do that.
Steven Universe is a movie that might have its own problems, but it far surpasses Frozen II in terms of caring about character motivations and inner conflicts. I think it would have been fair at the end of that film if Steven just befriended Spinel at the end, but there was clear thought put into how that isn’t logical given Steven just never really putting in the effort to do so earlier in the film, and Spinel clearly having a hard time embracing Steven given her abandonment issues and resentment towards pink diamond. Maybe in the future they can resolve these issues, but both characters need a fresh start and that’s why it concluded in the way it did.
The Final Curtain
I think I’ve said more than enough to make my case. I never thought Frozen II would be a movie I would care to babble on this long about but it’s such an interesting beast. It’s almost a competent and epic flick, but I can’t get past that it’s pretty much a Barbie movie. The constant dress changes, the obviously toy additions to the cast, and the fact that it’s just so blatantly a commercial that everyone knew was too big to fail just is so apparent.
That said, it’s harmless and does have some fun moments. The best moment to me in the flick was just watching the characters sit down and play a game of charades. Enjoyable characters and gorgeous animation is going to be enough for most and honestly… good for them. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with liking this movie, and unlike the characters in this film if you can justify to yourself why that’s so than I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself. I have personally enjoyed far worse films, trust me but I have a right to air these grievances and think critically about why it’s not as great as it can be.
That said let me know what your thoughts are on Frozen II, am I being too harsh, are not hard enough? Did you enjoy Frozen II, did you enjoy this review? Hey there’s a comment section below (sometimes) so let me know, how much you want to show up to my house and punch my grandmother because I said mean things about a children’s movie down below? I do have this follower goal, that maybe I can reach by the end of the year, if you could help me out I am trying to reach whatever number you see it at +1. It would be great if you could help me out.
Thanks for stopping by, have a good one and I’ll see you at the movies.