Underneath the Snow

Daniyal Zahid on the somewhat darker Frozen sequel

Underneath the Snow
'Tis the time of Hollywood sequels. ‘Tis also the time for cold and snow. Enter Frozen II, the sequel to the 2013 blockbuster Frozen which resonated with parents and children alike, worldwide.

Those children are now six years older. And if they saw Frozen on loop, or expressed any form of adolescent fandom for the film, they would have been desperately waiting for the much publicized sequel to come out. Those die-hard fans will not be disappointed.

For the rest, Frozen II might offer the same as the sequels to films that create its aficionados, with the group not one you associate with. How you see the sequel will depend heavily on how you saw the prequel – which, after all, is what franchises are built on. And Frozen has come out as among the strongest among them in recent times, especially in the realm of animation.

Despite releasing after a gap of six years, Frozen II is set three years after the events of its prequel. And for those who mightn’t have watched the first – who clearly won’t be buffs of the animation genre, if they haven’t found time for Frozen over half a decade – the film offers a thoroughly enjoyable recap.

Again, the recap might summarize what transpired in the first film, but given the franchise’s emotional quotient that would be a fraction of what the prequel narrated.

Frozen introduced the princesses Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell) of Arendella. The former, the elder princess, can create ice and snow without any control over it, which results in her injuring the latter. As the two grow up and Anna is crowned princess, an altercation between the two sisters results in her powers resurfacing in front of the kingdom, from which she is exiled leading to the younger princess undertaking a search to find Elsa. Anna’s search party included ice harvester, Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Olaf (Josh Gad) the snowman, and a reindeer Sven.

With everything falling into place at the culmination of the first, Frozen II begins with underlining three years of peace Arendelle, where the elder princess Elsa has ruled as the queen. However, Elsa starts hearing voices from far away, prompting an involuntary response. And similar to the first, a crisis erupts which leads to yet another excavation.
But the one facet where the film clearly stumbles as compared to the original is the soundtrack. The almost legendary status of Frozen’s music isn’t quite replicated in the sequel

Frozen II reveals secrets of the ruling family and the kingdom itself. With indigenous people at the heart of the narration, the franchise clearly looks to take its education level up a notch, using allegory to underline the wrongs of the past and how the privileged should respond. Frozen II is about self-reflection and doing the right thing.

The film is slightly darker than the original and in that regard the sequel might be aimed at the 8-12 age bracket. Those who have grown from the lower end of this range to around the upper, in the years between the two Frozen films, might be the greatest beneficiaries.

What absolutely every filmgoer can enjoy about Frozen II are the breathtaking animations and the visual excellence. The storytelling is expectedly captivating, with the writing brimming over with fun and emotions that are now the franchise’s trademark.

But the one facet where the film clearly stumbles as compared to the original is the soundtrack. The almost legendary status of Frozen’s music isn’t quite replicated in the sequel.

That Frozen II was going to have its heart in the right place was a given. But the sequel clearly has its filmmaking expertise in the right place as well. It’s not quite as towering as the original – how many sequels to blockbusters can really claim to be? But if Frozen aroused even the minutest interest in you, Frozen II is a must-watch.