There are two kinds of people in the world:
Those who prefer an upbeat, easy to follow story… and those who prefer a story that is more mature, mysterious, challenging, and darker.
I feel that I have always been very open about how overrated the first Frozen movie is. Over the years, I have expressed this multiple times in other blog posts.
My biggest beef with the first Frozen is that the true villain is not Hans, but instead, the parents; for psychologically damaging their daughters by ultimately locking them in their separate bedrooms without explaining why, while not allowing them to communicate with each other.
Seriously, that’s messed up!
So as you can imagine, I was not overly anxious to finally see Frozen 2 over Christmas break. It was just simply going to be a movie I sat through as my fatherly duty.
Fortunately instead, I was relieved, surprised, and impressed- to the point I knew even within the first 10 minutes that Disney had made the bold move to give Frozen a sequel that it (and an audience who is now 6 years older) deserves; as opposed to a copy-and-paste-of-the-original cash grab.
Granted, there are many people who do not agree with me on this. As I’ve been talking to people about Frozen 2 in comparison to the first, this what I have consistently found:
Either you love Frozen 2 and think it is far superior to the first…
Or you don’t like Frozen 2 at all because the first one was so much better.
I have yet to meet a person who believes both movies are equally good. No in-between.
You can even see this on Rotten Tomatoes, where the first Frozen got a 15% higher score on the Tomato Meter, but Frozen 2 scored 15% higher with the Audience Score.
I have come up with 3 reasons Frozen 2 is either much better (or worse) than the original. My theory is that a person’s reaction to Frozen 2 is ultimately a reflection of the individual viewer’s perspective of their own life.
- Major Character Growth: Taking place 6 years (in real time) since the first movie, Frozen 2 gives us a realistic look at what “happily ever after” actually looks like. That means we need to see Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, and Olaf experience the next new challenge to help their growth as individuals. (That’s because happiness requires character growth.) Specifically, Olaf openly encounters a full-on existential crisis, as noted in his song, “When I Am Older.”
- More Complex, Introspective Songs: Instead of using the easily likable universal guitar chord progression (G-D-Em-C) exploited in “Let It Go” (similar to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours”), Frozen 2’s lead track “Into the Unknown” actually requires much more of the song performer and the listener. These songs aren’t as instantly catchy as those from the first Frozen- they grow on you, just like Frozen 2.
- More Challenging Plot for the Viewer: The first half of Frozen 2’s technically falls into the category of a thriller/horror movie, as Elsa follows a mystical and ominous voice only she can hear; which serves as a metaphor of how part of the human experience is simultaneously following our hearts, while not allowing our own questions about the future to turn us into our own worst enemies. Some of my favorite quotes of Frozen 2 illustrate how the characters (and the audience) began to understand the importance of emotional intelligence as individuals:
Elsa: “That’s just your fear. Fear is what can’t be trusted.”
Kristoff: “My love is not fragile.”
General Mattias: “Be prepared, just when you think you found your way, life will throw you into a new path.”
That last quote ultimately reveals the theme of Frozen 2. This sequel forces us to come to terms with whether or not we are willing to move on from what life was like 6 years ago.
That is fundamentally what determines whether a person believes Frozen 2 is superior, or inferior, to the first.
Image credit- Disney.