3 Reasons Frozen 2 is Far Superior to the 1st Frozen Movie (Or It Isn’t, Based on the Viewer’s Own Current Perspective of Life)

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.

  1. 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.”
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Parental Review of the New Wonder Woman Movie: Is It Kid-Friendly?

 

I noticed this morning in my blog stats that someone found my blog by Googling, “Wonder Woman Family Friendly Reviews 2017”. So I guess that obligates me do actually do a parental review of the new Wonder Woman movie. Yes, the free market has demonstrated there is a demand for this!

So… here ya go America!

My answer is ultimately no. No, the new Wonder Woman movie is not “kid-friendly”. If it were, it wouldn’t be the great movie that it is. The fact that it’s not juvenile gives it credibility and makes Diana Prince a believable protagonist with a healthy character arc.

Wonder Woman is ultimately a PG-13 rated World War II movie containing strong elements of Greek mythology.

Let’s break it down by issues parents might be concerned in regards to their children watching this movie…

Language: There is noticeably very little profanity. Other than the word “hell”, and a few uses of the word “bloody” (which I understand is a curse word in the United Kingdom), I didn’t notice any other language that parents would deem as inappropriate for a child to be exposed to.

Sexuality/Nudity: Depending on your level of conservatism, some parents might feel somewhat concerned about Wonder Woman’s outfit, though I personally do not feel it is overly revealing. The closest thing to nudity is actually a male character who is taking a bath in a cave. Wonder Woman walks in on him and he covers himself with his hands, as she naively sees no taboo in discovering a naked man. Lastly, there is an implied sexual relationship later, though nothing is shown beyond a “fully clothed” kiss.

Violence: Since this is indeed a World War II movie, there is obviously consistent violence. Of course, like most PG-13 rated movies these days, there is hardly any blood shown at all. There are multiple on -screen deaths shown, however.

That’s all you need to know. Would you feel comfortable taking your child to see this movie, knowing what I have revealed? It’s your call. I don’t judge you either way.

This is seriously an awesome movie though!

How DC Got the New Wonder Woman Movie Right, Based Marvel’s Proven Yet Secret 3 Point Formula

I know the exact science behind why Wonder Woman is an amazing movie…

Imagine if someone finally released the top secret recipe for Coca-Cola or for the Colonel’s KFC chicken… Well, I’m that guy, but for releasing Marvel’s secret movie formula.

For those of us who have kept up with all comic book movies for the past decade, we know that Marvel seems to always just easily crank out really good super hero movies. Meanwhile, DC hadn’t figured out how to really get it right. Think about their superhero movies last year:

Batman V. Superman? It was entertaining, but ultimately problematic.

Suicide Squad? Eh… kind of a mess.

So did DC just luck out with their wild success of Wonder Woman? Nope.

They simply (and maybe even accidentally) used the same proven yet secret formula that Marvel’s been using all these years:

1)      Character Arc of the Super Hero: It’s fundamentally important for the audience to see a flawed protagonist who evolves over the course of the story. Remember how in Batman V. Superman, Batman was the same brooding, disgruntled billionaire while Superman was the same perfect alien? Neither characters individually evolved. We instead want to see an imperfect character who is forced to positively evolve. We want to see character growth.

2)      Engaging Arch Nemesis. The superhero is only as interesting as the bad guy. Just as an imperfect superhero is crucial in order to engage an audience in the protagonist, that superhero relies on a villain who spiritually contrasts and compliments their struggles. Being evil isn’t enough. We need to see a memorable arch nemesis who is the perfect foil for our imperfect hero.

3)      Genre Hybrid: Marvel knows that their super hero movies aren’t simply super hero movies. Instead, each one is ultimately a different genre, disguised as a superhero movie. Ant-Man is a heist movie. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a government conspiracy movie. Using that same concept, Wonder Woman is a World War II movie, which also contains strong elements of Greek mythology.

This secret formula is the reason Marvel’s movies do well. And finally, DC has figured it out.

Seriously, who isn’t excited by the new Justice League trailer? It looks like they will be applying the Marvel formula to all their movies from now on. I’m happy that DC is back on track.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2: Parental Review- Is It Kid Friendly? (No Spoilers)

Not all PG-13 rated movies are rated equally. While I had no reservations about my 6 year-old son seeing Jurassic World or Rogue One, I would not be okay with him seeing Suicide Squad or The Hunger Games or the Fast and Furious movies.

So where does Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 end up on this unpredictable gradient scale of PG-13 movies?

Ultimately, imagine combining the constant non-bloody fantasy violence of the Star Wars movies with the more mature plot lines of the Star Trek movies, mixed with the irreverence and casual profanity of the Shrek movies. Put that in a blender, and that’s the PG-13 essence of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.

I say this because Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 is sprinkled with nearly every major “bad word” there is, except for those two classic biggies: “g.d.” and the “f-word.”

Perhaps there is a paradox in that if a child recognizes “bad words” when he or she hears them, and knows them to be “bad”, then the movie instantly becomes inappropriate, to a certain degree. But if a child doesn’t know the word, and doesn’t know it to be taboo, I would argue that ignorance might be bliss.

Likewise, the same could be said about the movie’s sci-fi plot line, which revolves around a god who makes his purpose to interbreed with one willing member of every other species he can, in an attempt to produce offspring who share his same powers.

Granted, this is a Disney movie- and I’ve noticed Disney specifically avoids any obvious sexual dialogue or situations in their Marvel movies.  I do feel it’s quite possible that this seemingly mature plot line could easily fly over the heads of many younger children.

It’s likely the language in this movie, which contains “guy humor” and poop jokes throughout, that would question most conservative parents about letting their child see this movie.

My job is not to be responsible for telling parents whether Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 is appropriate for their children to see.

Instead, I simply want to provide the basic information to guide you making this decision for your child.

Do what you feel is right, based on the information I have provided today. I don’t judge you either way.

Obviously.

 

Parental Review- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Rated PG-13)

*May contain mild spoilers related to the plot.

If you’re considering taking your child to see Rogue One: A Stars Story, but aren’t sure if it would be age-appropriate, I am confident that I can give you closure. Here at the facts- from here, you can decide for yourself:

Profanity: None.

Sex/Nudity: None.

Violence: Constant, yet not bloody or gory.

As the title of the movie implies, Rogue One: A Stars Story is a war movie; perhaps more so than many other entries in the Star Wars franchise.

In particular, this is the story of the suicide mission leading up to the events of the original 1977 Stars Wars movie. By its nature, a movie about a suicide mission is likely going to feature countless on-screen deaths.

Parental Review- Rogue One: A Stars Story (Rated PG-13)

Granted, this is a Disney movie. So even with all the use of weapons (mainly lasers, grenades, and bombs), this is no blood bath. In fact, I don’t recall any blood- in the likeness of old Western movies where people are constantly getting shot and dying, yet there is no visible wound shown. The character simply falls to the ground after some sparks and smoke appear from the impact point.

So really, your decision whether or not to take your child to see Rogue One: A Stars Story comes down to your thoughts the violence aspect.

Again, there are no curse words- not even close to one. And as is typical with Star Wars movies, there are no sexual situations.

I say it really comes down to what your child has already been exposed to. If a movie like Captain America: Civil War is something you deem acceptable for your child to watch, which is another recent PG-13 Disney movie, then you will likely not have a problem with Rogue One: A Stars Story.

Thank you for visiting Family Friendly Daddy Blog and for reading my review today. I am hope you found it helpful.

Dear Jack: We Saw the Movie Pup Star (of Air Bud Entertainment) before Its Official Release on Digital HD on FandangoNOW

5 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack: We Saw the Movie Pup Star (of Air Bud Entertainment) before Its Official Release on DVD

Dear Jack,

The marketing team behind the upcoming movie Pup Star reached out to us, inviting you and me to see the movie this past Saturday morning, before its official release tomorrow on August 30th.

As much as you and I go to see movies together, we obviously jumped at the chance to drive to Opry Mills to see Pup Star during its limited theatrical release.

We had such a great time seeing the movie together! Pup Star is a family friendly road movie which features the adventures of a talking Yorkie who must reunite with her human family while also making it to the finals of a TV competition; like American Idol or The Voice, for dogs.

Your favorite character was Dog Marley. At church yesterday, you and your classmates were instructed to make something out of clay that you had never made before. What did you make?

Dog Marley.

This movie is part of the “Air Bud Universe”, which you are quite familiar with; having seen movie of these movies on Netflix before, like Air Bud: Spikes Back, Spooky Buddies, and Russell Madness.

Pup Star takes place in Chicago, New Orleans, New York City, Newark, and…

Nashville!

It was so cool seeing our city featured in the movie; having just passed the “Batman building” 30 minutes prior on the drive to the theatre.

After the movie ended, we were given some Pup Star-related souvenirs including a bag of doggie treats- the kind featured in the movie.

That evening, while Mommy was working on dinner, you and I took your baby sister Holly on a walk around our neighborhood, offering the doggie treats to neighbors walking their dogs.

I have a feeling we’ll be watching Pup Star again at some point. Hopefully, we’ll be invited back to see more Air Bud Entertainment movies as well.

Love,

Daddy

Parental Guide Summary of Pete’s Dragon (2016, Rated PG)

Parental Guide Summary of Pete's Dragon (2016, Rated PG-13)

The new Pete’s Dragon movie takes place in circa-1983, just like this year’s X-Men Apocalypse, as well as Netflix’s summer hit show, Stranger Things. The funny part is, I have no idea why the new Pete’s Dragon movie takes place in the Eighties; it has nothing to do with the plot in any way.

Never at any point do they acknowledge the year. This is simply information you deduce from the clothing, hairstyles, cars, and lack of cell phones. When the movie begins, “1983” doesn’t flash up on the screen.

Similarly, I’m led to believe the movie takes place in either Washington state or Oregon, based on the redwood trees. But they never come out and say that either.

Oh yeah, and, by the way: Take your kids to see this movie!

It is totally worth it. It is the perfect family movie to see in the theater this year. Plenty of heart and adventure, yet not cheesy in any way.

Here’s a breakdown of the new Pete’s Dragon movie, from a “family friendly” perspective:

Profanity:

None; not even any form of “OMG”. There is a mention of literal hell, as the dragon’s eyes are compared to “the color of hell fire.” But I have a feeling no one is going to find that be be offensive.

Sex/Nudity:

Not even a kiss.

Violence:

A crew of men use tranquilizer rifles to hunt down the dragon.

Drugs/Alcohol:

Not even the sight of an empty beer bottle.

Dark Themes:

Just like virtually every Disney movie ever made, the boy becomes an orphan in the opening scene, in the event of a car accident. However, the trauma of this is downplayed greatly: The car is show flipping upside down but the bodies of the parents are not seen.

I strongly recommend this movie. My son just started Kindergarten this week; he’s about 5 and a half years-old. Pete’s Dragon was perfectly relevant and appropriate.

Go right now. Take the kids. See Pete’s Dragon.

Also, here’s the video version of this blog post: