When “Frozen” came out in 2013, a full six years ago, college students today were either in middle school or early high school. We were just on the edge of the movie’s target audience. And unlike most creators of animated movies, the makers of “Frozen 2” acknowledged this and created a film that can only be described as elevated from its predecessor. “Frozen 2” is dark, mature and generally better than the original.
This change is prevalent in every character, but especially in Olaf, who having lived through summer in his new permafrost state, is beginning to age and gain more grown-up insights. He crosses the movie screen/real world divide and tells the audience they look older during his first scene in the film, and then meets their six years of growth with his own. He asks existential questions about life and death and purpose and makes psychology-major type comments. In “Frozen,” he had been debatably loveable, but in “Frozen 2” his mature humor is refreshingly hilarious and his personality goes from 2-D to intensely complex.
Because “Frozen 2” is oddly dark, Olaf and Kristoff act as crucial comic relief. Olaf’s song “When I Am Older” perfectly melds the humorous theme prevalent throughout the film that grown-ups don’t actually know or understand everything with the childish notion that they do. This helps to bring in both the old, now aged audience, with the new audience of little kids being brought in by their parents, in a way that is humorous to both. Kristoff’s song “Lost in the Woods” was by far the funniest part of the entire movie — next to the canon scene of Olaf recapping the plot of “Frozen” — due to its ‘90s boy band music video-type style. It was simply a work of art.
The themes of “Frozen 2” were surprising considering the first movie was about naivety and the bond of sisterhood. These themes include the inevitability of change and aging, the overwhelming darkness of grief and sacrifice and white supremacy. It’s hard to say how these themes are understood by audiences of toddlers and small children, but they are completely relevant and poignant to any young adults watching.
In fact, a lot of the movie seemed to be targeted to the audience that had been young six years ago but is now older, rather than the little kids who may be watching. There was one point toward the beginning where Elsa and Olaf fall asleep, and Anna jumps at the chance to make out with Kristoff. But more shocking is Anna’s comment to Kristoff at the end of, “I prefer you in leather.” Judging by the shrieks of surprised laughter from the adults in the audience, that line was only interpreted in one way.
The film is also more evolved from its predecessor in animation and in the visual aspects of the characters. While the animation of the original wasn’t subpar in any way, six years of technological and artistic advancement is clear in the realistic and beautiful way the ocean waves move, the soft fine lines of hair flowing off the heads of the characters and the beautiful background of each scene. The animators also made their characters more realistic by changing them up throughout the movie. Anna and Elsa are no longer those two Disney princesses in braids and standard dresses, but girls with very versatile hair and entire wardrobes to show off.
All in all, “Frozen 2” was unexpectedly wonderful and is sure to gain fans even from those who didn’t like “Frozen” in the first place.
Thumbnail photo courtesy of @disneyfrozen Instagram.
Rebecca Maher is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.