Confession time: until this year, Frozen was never really on my radar. I’d seen it before, I knew the songs, I knew the characters but I wasn’t a super fan or anything like that. I don’t even know if I was even technically a fan. I liked the movie, but it was basically just another Disney movie. However, since Frozen, Jr. became our musical, and I have had to research and prep costumes, Frozen Fever has taken over full force and I am a full on obsessed with all things Elsa and Anna. Thus, I had to see Frozen II the minute it came out.
I am going to attempt to do this spoiler-free, but just in case, you might want to wait to read it until after you’ve seen the movie.
Frozen II is focused on the past and how to use it to build a better future. And, as always, Elsa and Anna’s relationship is at the center of the action. The movie begins with a flashback to Elsa and Anna’s childhood with their father telling them about the enchanted forest he visited with his father. When everything goes wrong with the visit, the King is miraculously saved but everyone in the forest becomes trapped in a strange mist. The scene ends with Queen Iduna singing a lullaby about a strange river to her daughters before they go to sleep.
In present day, everyone living their happily ever after following the first movie. Elsa is queen, Arendelle is peaceful, Anna and Kristoff (and Sven!) are still together, Olaf is living the life in his own personal frozen bubble. Things begin to change when Elsa starts hearing a strange voice that no one else seems to hear. This of course leads to one of her ballads, which is being touted as the new “Let it Go.” However, “Into the Unknown” is not nearly as catchy as it’s first movie counterpart.
At the end of the song, Elsa has somehow released the magic from years before, and this leads to her, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven embarking on a journey to put things right in Arendelle. This leads the characters on a journey into the mist where they learn things about the past that they must put right. They meet the Northuldra who have been locked in the mist for nearly thirty-five years, and the story takes off from there. The sisters learn secrets about the past and set off to try and fix everything.
In subplots, Kristoff has been trying to propose to Anna throughout the whole movie. When she runs after Elsa without telling him, he sings “Lost in the Woods.” While the song itself is relatively catchy, it’s the animation choice that makes this hilarious, as it’s done like an 80’s power ballad music video.
Let’s talk costumes, for I believe that in animation you can still call them costumes. At the very least, someone has to make the character wardrobe decisions and that is even more prevalent now than it was in the past. However, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an issue even in early animation. I can’t remember where I read this information, but the reason Sleeping Beauty’s dress has a color war between the fairies is because the animators couldn’t decide if they wanted the dress blue or pink. So in many ways, animation costuming needs to lend to the story as well.
I am fascinated by the animation costuming these days. As the technology has gotten more sophisticated, so has the realism of the animation. The clothing needs to move realistically, and so that also needs to be taken into account when designing the looks for animated characters. Skirts need to move with wind, fabrics need to have certain types of drape and they manage to achieve this. It’s hard enough to do with actual fabric, I can’t imagine having thing about each and every little movement when doing it for animation!
I loved seeing the new looks of the characters, and there were plenty to see. Both Elsa and Anna had quite a number of costume changes, sparking joy for all the little girls with new options to dress up as their favorite characters. For me, my favorite new look was Elsa’s final one from the movie when she lets her hair down (literally). And not a single picture of this seems to exist on the internet, perhaps because she wears it at an integral part of the movie. However, this is a part of it (though not the final version):
The closest picture I could find to the final look was the new character costume at Epcot, and it is AWFUL. It doesn’t do the animated costume any justice whatsoever. I have been super disappointed in Disney’s costume lately (cough Sebastian in the The Little Mermaid Live cough); it looks like they’re working with no budget:
One of my favorite costuming details was one that I read about after the fact, and didn’t necessarily notice while I was at the movie. For much of the film, Anna wears cloak similar to the one Elsa wears in the first movie (she eschews it in “Let it Go”). This is meant to visually connect her to Elsa for much of the first half of the movie. During this time, Anna is experiencing a disconnect with Kristoff. However, when she ultimately has to shed the cloak, she and Kristoff are wearing very similar outfits, signifying their connection:
I love costuming details like that, that are almost subliminal to the audience but still vital.
We saw the movie at the Alamo Drafthouse, which was a fun experience. I’ve been to other theaters that serve food, and this one was one of the top ones, based solely on their larger table size! Sidebar: I will only go to movies with served food from now on. It’s just so much more fun to sit at a table and have someone bring you movie snacks the whole time. Plus, they usually have themed cocktails! This is the Blue Magic Frozen Margarita. Of course that had to happen:
Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. It was a slightly darker story, and seemed slightly more intended for adults this time around than for children. However, the overall message of the bond between the two sisters is still there. I already want to model some of my Frozen Jr. costumes on ones I saw in the sequel as a little nod to it, but not sure if I will yet! I’ll have to see the movie again to decide!