To find out that Frozen - the cheesiest movie since human kind discovered cheese - would get a sequel almost felt like losing a loved one. I did not only have to endure the high-pitched, monotonous monstrosity that is the chart topper “Let It Go” for what felt like years on end as every little girl hummed it into tedium. I would also have to review it.

Technically, fairy tale-inspired movies such as Frozen should end after a single adventure. The characters would endure a transformative experience that leads to their emotional maturity and then they get to live happily ever after. Life may not be like that but we, the audience, and authors have long ago agreed that is the best way to get a message across to children not yet able to handle the social commentary of the Joker or Fight Club. It is not the perfect scenario, but it is a harmonious compromise.

Frozen agreed to this formula. It put its characters through an adventure that was neither unique or rich in story detail and ended on a note of happily ever after. The protagonists won and the villains lost – simple. Unfortunately for me, and fortunately to the shareholders of Disney, Frozen made 1.3 billion dollars at the global box office.

Thus, the happily ever after suddenly became a “happily for a while” and the filmmakers had to pull out of their backsides a contrived plot that builds on that of the first movie.

The good news is that I have a guardian angel that made sure the movie is not as bad as we had all expected it to be. Incidentally, my guardian angel must have dozed off moments later for I had to be confronted with the harsh reality of the movie debuting at the box office with record breaking figures. A sequel, likely to be equally obnoxious, for there is no need to do away with a proven formula, is more than likely.

The film delves right into exposition in its opening scene. Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell) are playing building snow figures when their father enters their room and tells them of a family secret. Decades ago, their grandfather, then king of Arendelle, struck a deal with the Northuldra tribe – an on-the-nose fictional version of Native Americans – to live side by side one another in peace and use each other’s resources.

But during a celebratory gathering between the two peoples, a fight breaks out and their grandfather is killed. The movie tries to keep the details of who struck the first blow to start the fight unclear but given that Arendelle is meant to represent the Europeans and the Northuldra the Native Americans, the reveal comes as no surprise.

Within this plot, the sequel adds magic into the equation and goes into Last Airbender territory. The Northuldra live by taking advantage of the four sources of all being – fire, water, earth and wind – which go berserk right after the fighting. A wall of mist appears and traps the tribe’s homeland. No one can enter, and thus it becomes known as the Enchanted Forest. Elsa becomes convinced that it is only there that she could find the answer to her unique magic after a voice begins to call out to her – a literal call to adventure.

If Frozen was the tale of an Ice Queen who exiles herself because she fears her powers, Frozen 2 is the story of that very same character trying to understand herself and learn about her roots. There is something to appreciate about the movie in that it attempts to show how long the hands of the past extend through time to profoundly affect the present. The film is a bold allegory of colonialism and the idea of, to use an academic term, performativity.

But the sequel could not help itself. In an effort to build on already established characters, such as Olaf and Kristoff, it drags them into the movie even if the story could have existed without them. The film could have instead taken the risk to enrich the new characters that are essential to the plot.

In the end, Frozen 2 leaves us with a movie shillyshally on its political commentary and absolutely terrible in its story construction, all the while reminding us that if it was not for corporate overlords, it could have been an animated film with the thematic depth of The Lion King.

PUBLISHED ON Nov 30,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1022]

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