Very soon into Frozen II, my friend Scott leaned over to me and said, “Holy *%#$ this is the Fifth Element.” It took all my powers of restraint to not laugh out loud at an inappropriate time in the movie. Essentially Elsa (Idina Menzel) is the Fifth Element, and with her powers she is the Supreme Being. Go see The Fifth Element. When it comes to certain films like this, or Dora and the Lost City of Gold to be more specific, I tend to snicker when I should not do so. It got started early on with Frozen 2, and there were plenty of more opportunities later on.
I have already covered my distaste for Disney movies, and my strange relationship with that company, in previous reviews. What made Frozen II that much less enjoyable to me was the fact that it was a musical. I do not get musicals. Just when you are settling in for the plot, they seem to toss in a song for . . . reasons. The tunes, while sometimes catchy, do not advance the story. So am I watching a really long music video? I never watched MTV growing up in order to see tightly focused narratives in the music videos. If it were not for these slightly irritating interruptions, the film would be a little over an hour long. What a pleasant thought.
There were also a lot of things that did not make a whole lot of sense to me in Frozen II, other than the musical interludes. And before any of you start thinking, as you read on, that what I am about to say would be explained by Frozen, I have seen the predecessor. Bratty kid cannot stand being around people, but is redeemed by her wacky sister. Let it Go. Got it. But here is a (less than) exhaustive list of what I find to be plot holes in this film: why would the magic McGuffin suddenly come alive after decades of doing nothing? Were there really so few people in the kingdom of Arendale that they could all fit on the side of a mountain? If this dam would wipe out the kingdom of Arendale, was its current location previously under water? What was most hilarious was when Olaf (Josh Gad) sang “When I am Older,” a song that makes the bold claim in this nonsensical movie that “This will all make sense when I am older.” No, you lunatic, it will not.
I get it: Frozen II is a kids movie. I am probably being an old fuddy-duddy, but I do not like the idea of kids being subjected to films that make no stinking sense. What I do like is the fierce loyalty of Anna (Kristen Bell) to Elsa. Love conquers all, and that is something that Christ made very clear to us. As a feeling, indeed, as a way of life, it has the power to change the course of entire peoples through a single act. The entirety of Christendom is a testament to that fact. What I do not need, for me personally, is pointless songs, ambiguous history (the people of Arendale have photography but soldiers who still wield shields and swords?), and cuteness for cuteness’ sake. I guess this is more about what kids want. Please, though, for the sake of our future, give them stories that work.
Frozen II is magical, but to this reviewer magic is simply a lazy plot device. There is an invisible character in this movie called Gale, for crying out loud! Why is anything happening here? It is because magic, and magic does not need to be explained. That is one thing I love about my Faith. By definition, some things just need to be taken on faith, but only in matters that are of God and not of man. A movie plot can be explained, and it need not be tedious, even in something aimed at kids. Go watch The Never Ending Story if you do not want to take my word for it. Ultimately, there just does not seem to be any rules for how things function. There are anthropomorphic snowmen and talking rocks. So where does it end? Why not give Anna the ability to levitate or Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) power to control the minds of reindeer? The point being here is that they really do not set a limit to the magic involved. That is a big yawn for me.
Frozen II also has a bit of presumptuousness to it as well. While caterwauling out one of the innumerable songs, Olaf looks at the screen and comments on how we are all a few years older. In this breaking of the fourth wall, the idea is that we were all the same people who saw Frozen, back for another round of Scandinavian shenanigans. I guess Disney just knows that each movie it releases will be a hit. But perhaps the worst was when Anna admonishes Elsa with, “When are you going to see yourself as I see you?” There is nothing like telling people how they should think about themselves, making them a prisoner to your expectations. Remember kids, when you grow up others will know what is best for you! That we should see ourselves only as God see us is probably above the heads of most kids, but not those of their parents, hopefully.
But what am I saying? Kids will want to see Frozen II no matter what anyone says, particularly myself. I am a cynical old man. I just pray that the parents of the children clamoring to see this movie will be able to glean from it the proper messages. There is a sea of negative influences out there in our culture, and most of them are more subtle than anyone realizes. Still, there are good things to be taken from this film, no matter how annoying is the music.
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