MOVIE REVIEW: Frozen II

“Frozen” grew up.

If there’s one central point to be made about “Frozen 2,” it’s that everything about the film feels more mature in some way. Thematically, it deals with tougher relationship challenges as Queen Elsa and Princess Anna, now happily enjoying life with their friends in Arendelle, risk disruption of their peaceful lives to venture off into the unknown enchanted forest on a quest to discover the origins of Elsa’s powers and potentially learn more about their deceased parents. Change is a constant threat throughout this darker story, and all of the primary characters must wrestle with what that means for them both individually and with regard to the relationships they value. The drama is heavier, the stakes are higher, and Olaf uses self-aware humor to pose some pretty fun questions for viewers to consider. It really seems as if Disney knows their target audience of kids has aged up by 6 years and is now ready to handle a little more emotional weight, while also being sure to allow adults the opportunity to engage a little more this time around. It’s a bold choice, reminiscent of how the House of Mouse handled its “Wreck-it Ralph” sequel “Ralph Breaks the Internet”.

The music also feels slightly more aimed at older kids and adults. The songs are a little more Broadway and a little less pop this time around but are no less singable. One song in particular midway through the film, an 80’s rock ballad solo by Kristoff that is shot like a music video from that era, is sure to leave audience members in stitches and is easily among the film’s most memorable scenes. And then there’s the new “Let it Go”, the anthem-like “Into the Unknown” which your kids will be singing and listening to non-stop for the next few months. While it’s not quite as catchy or memeable as the aforementioned track, it’s still likely to be in heavy radio play rotation just like its predecessor.

Another aspect of the film that has definitely gotten better with age is the animation. As should be expected, everything is more crisp and bright than before, and details on the new costumes really stand out. There are a few different mesmerizing sequences of magic being put to use, as well, that easily rival or improve upon anything in “Frozen”. This is simply a gorgeous film to look at, and even if other faults are found, your eyes can’t help but enjoy themselves.

I’m not quite ready to say “Frozen 2” is better than the original after only one viewing, but the feeling I had while watching it was similar, and I think it comes awfully close. Time will also be needed to tell whether the entire soundtrack becomes as unforgettable as the first film’s. But on the strength of deeper themes, solid character development all-around, some fantastic humor, and a dose of that Disney magic, “Frozen 2” is a triumphant sequel to one of the animation giant’s biggest smash hits.

Rating:


Aaron White is a Seattle-based film critic and co-creator/co-host of the Feelin’ Film Podcast. He is also a member of the Seattle Film Critics Society. He writes reviews with a focus on the emotional experience he has with a film. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to be notified when new content is posted.

Episode 186: My Neighbor Totoro

This week’s episode is all joy and smiles as we discuss a Studio Ghibli animated classic. It’s a film with innocence and purity that rarely exists, and is worth celebrating for the unique emotional response it creates in us.

 

My Neighbor Totoro Review – 0:00:55

Connecting Point – 1:13:41

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Episode 185: The Wizard of Oz

September is officially upon us, but we haven’t forgotten about August just yet and specifically the donor pick selected by our awesome Patrons. The Wizard of Oz is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, just a couple of weeks ago in fact, and we are here to show it the love it deserves. Hop on the Yellow Brick road with us as we unpack this great American classic.

The Wizard of Oz Review – 0:00:56


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MOVIE REVIEW: The Lion King (2019)

This remake of my favorite animated film of all-time was coming up against some very high expectations, and despite being only my third favorite version (behind the original and theater musical), it is nonetheless an outstanding telling of this story in its own spectacular way.


 

Aaron White is a Seattle-based film critic and co-creator/co-host of the Feelin’ Film Podcast. He is also a member of the Seattle Film Critics Society. He writes reviews with a focus on the emotional experience he has with a film. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to be notified when new content is posted.

Episode 172: Toy Story 4

We approached TOY STORY 4 with apprehension, counting ourselves among those that considered Pixar’s trilogy to be one of the best ever made and already “perfect”. In this episode, Caless Davis joins us to discuss the new end of the TOY STORY franchise. We talk through our concerns and share what impacted us about Woody and the gang’s latest chapter.

Toy Story 4 Review – 0:01:38

The Connecting Point – 1:13:22

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MOVIE REVIEW: Toy Story 4


 

Aaron White is a Seattle-based film critic and co-creator/co-host of the Feelin’ Film Podcast. He is also a member of the Seattle Film Critics Society. He writes reviews with a focus on the emotional experience he has with a film. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to be notified when new content is posted.

MOVIE REVIEW: The Secret Life of Pets 2

I laughed harder during THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 than at any other film this year and emerged from the theater with tears in my eyes because of it. The film doesn’t break new ground, but I’ll own it and watch a dozen more times for sure. Take the family! 😻


 

Aaron White is a Seattle-based film critic and co-creator/co-host of the Feelin’ Film Podcast. He is also a member of the Seattle Film Critics Society. He writes reviews with a focus on the emotional experience he has with a film. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to be notified when new content is posted.

Episode 168: The Sandlot

This week it’s time to play ball! We decided to celebrate baseball season by giving our Patrons five films about America’s pastime to vote on. Their choice was a good one and allows us to reminisce about our childhoods and think back to summers that may not be experienced by kids in the same way ever again. This film is full of memorable moments and we had a joy discussing it together for May’s Donor Pick Episode.

The Sandlot Review – 0:03:34

The Connecting Point – 0:58:32


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Episode 167: Aladdin (2019)

We discuss this month’s Disney live-action remake,the second out of three to be released in a 3.5 month window this spring/summer and out of four overall this year. Is Disney putting out quality content here that has a potential to win fan hearts, or is this just another shameless cash grab that capitalizes on nostalgia? Hear our positives, negatives, and recommendations for what might have made this work even better in this great conversation.

 

Aladdin Review – 0:01:13

The Connecting Point – 1:19:56


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MOVIE REVIEW: Aladdin (2019)

Disney’s new live-action remake of ALADDIN is neither dumpster fire nor exceptional, instead resting squarely in “just okay” territory.


 

Aaron White is a Seattle-based film critic and co-creator/co-host of the Feelin’ Film Podcast. He is also a member of the Seattle Film Critics Society. He writes reviews with a focus on the emotional experience he has with a film. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to be notified when new content is posted.