Following up on the immensely popular “Frozen” of 2013, Disney presents “Frozen II” again featuring girl power, sister duo of Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell). Luckily for all you parents who have had enough of your daughters signing “Let it Go,” there isn’t a song in this film that quite equals the staying power of that ballad.
Having said that, it doesn’t mean that “Frozen II” doesn’t have great songs. The film runs one song after another, sometimes to the detriment of the narrative. Elsa’s big number, “Into the Unknown” is a wonderful vehicle for Menzel’s exquisite voice. Anna’s “Do the Next Right Thing,” captures the whole film’s central theme (I’ll say more about that later). Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) whose only goal is to figure out how to propose to Anna, might as well have been absent from this film but his number, “Lost in the Woods” will give the parents in the audience 80’s music video flashbacks. You will probably either laugh or cringe. I laughed out loud. And, yes, Olaf (Josh Gad) gets plenty of opportunities to entertain us, including a song that hilariously recaps what happened in the first film.
“Frozen II” begins back when Elsa and Anna were little, listening to the stories told by their mother, Queen Iduna (Evan Rachel Wood). She told of a magical place up the river that holds secrets no one knows. It’s covered in mist and those who have ventured there never come back.
Voices of Kristin Bell and Idina Menzel as Anna and Elsa in "Frozen II" (Walt Disney Pictures)
Fast forward to ‘present day’ when Elsa’s rule of Arendelle has brought peace to its people. She seems to have her ice powers under control but she begins to experience a restlessness when she hears a musical voice calling to her that only she can hear. When she decides to follow the voice, Anna insists on coming with her. Anna’s all about working things out together even though Elsa has the tendency to want to be on her own. Of course, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven come along for the ride.
What they find is that their mother’s stories were true and the land of mist may hold the answer to where Elsa’s powers originated. Thus begins an adventure with Native American overtones including troubles with colonialism.
Even if “Frozen II” captivates the wide-eyed fans of Elsa and Anna but not the accompanying adults, parents may wish to capitalize on Anna’s mantra, learned from her mother: always do the next right thing. As Anna learns, doing the next right thing isn’t always easy. It might be sometimes, but what the next right thing is might not always be clear. We may need help figuring it out. Doing the next right thing might also entail personal and communitarian sacrifice. Anna needs to find the courage to do the next right thing and we can be assured that God will give us the courage to do the next right thing if we are open to God’s promptings.