Ranking the Disney Animated Canon, Part 9

START WITH PART 1

PART 2 HERE

PART 3 HERE

PART 4 HERE

PART 5 HERE

PART 6 HERE

PART 7 HERE

Part 8 here

#12: Frozen II

Before beginning the review I just want to get this out of the way:

  • Saludos Amigos—>The Three Caballeros
  • The Rescuers—>The Rescuers Down Under
  • Fantasia—>Fantasia 2000
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh—>Winnie the Pooh
  • Wreck-It Ralph—>Ralph Breaks the Internet
  • Frozen—>Frozen II

They really couldn’t have come up with a better title?! Maybe something with “Queen” in it since “Q” is the only letter that hasn’t appeared in the title of a canon film? Okay, I’m good.

Title aside, this is another strong entry (currently at 76% on Rotten Tomatoes) and the best sequel in the canon. I admit when talk of a sequel began years ago I was against the idea. The first one was basically perfect, so why risk ruining things with a sequel? I am happy to say I was wrong. While they may not have caught lightning in a bottle like they did with the original, the sequel does everything a good sequel should. It develops the story and characters without being a retread of the original. If the original was a trope-smashing meta commentary on the Disney Princess formula, the sequel is a matured action and mystery film that grew along with the audience.

Elsa awakens the four elemental spirits that trapped the Enchanted Forest in a mist over 34 years ago after what was supposed to be a a peaceful meeting between Arendelle and Northuldra ended in a bloody battle. The future King Agnarr (father of Elsa and Anna) was saved from the battle by an unknown person (later revealed to be his future wife, Queen Iduna, herself an Northuldran). In the forest Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven meet the Arendellians and Northuldrans that have been trapped there since that day as they set out to find out the truth about what really happened and break the curse. Elsa manages to calm the Sprits of Wind (whom Olaf names “Gale”), Fire (the adorable salamander Bruni), and Water (the Nokk, a horse made of water). The Nokk takes her across the Dark Sea to Ahtohallan, the river of memory.

While there she learns the truth about what happened the day her mother saved her father. Her grandfather, King Runeard, damed the Northuldran’s river supposedly as a gift, but the real purpose was to weaken Northuldra. Runeard did not trust magic users and so during the ostensibly peaceful meeting he ambushed and killed the unarmed leader of Northuldra in cold blood. Elsa then sends this information to Anna before becoming frozen (roll credits!) for venturing too deep into Ahtohallan. Anna then resolves to destroy the dam to make things right, despite knowing that doing so will destroy the previously-evacuated Arendelle. Doing so thaws Elsa, and the Nokk aids her in racing down the fjord to prevent Arendelle’s destruction. The mist disappears and the curse is lifted. Elsa has learned that she was given her powers as gift from nature because her mother selflessly saved her father despite the two being from enemy kingdoms. Elsa is also revealed to be the Fifth Element. Elsa decides to stay in the Enchanted Forest as its protector and Anna is made Queen of Arendelle. The two continue to keep in touch and peace is restored between Arendelle and Northuldra. In a post-credits scene Olaf fills in Marshmallow and the Snowgies (from Frozen Fever) about the events of the film.

The story is great. The characters have really developed and matured. After three years of dating, Kristoff finally proposes to Anna and she accepts. Olaf is growing older and while still the happy and naïve bundle of snow from the first film (now upgraded to permafrost thanks to Elsa’s powers growing stronger and negating the need for his flurry) he begins to see there is more to the world. He even feels anger at one point, which appears to confuse him, and Anna has to assure him that his feelings are valid. Perhaps the funniest part of the movie is him explaining the events of the first movie to the inhabitants of the Enchanted Forest. The little guy is still my favorite Disney character of all time, and after Elsa froze and as a result he faded away like everyone at the end of Avengers: Infinity War I nearly cried. I figured that this being a Disney movie he would come back, and I was right. Had he not, however, I probably would have cried like I did for a certain other character.

I saw this in theaters twice and cried both times

Now then, on to Elsa. Elsa immediately became one of my favorite Disney characters when I saw the original and this movie does her justice. She gets more screen time and song time in this one and the story itself is really about her journey of self-actualization. This is the best part of the movie. If i found her extremely relatable in the original I do so even more now. It’s weird that the timing of these movies has allowed me to identify so much with a fictional character of the opposite gender, but it has nonetheless. I found it funny when she saw the memory of herself during “Let It Go” and laughed and rolled her eyes in an embarrassed “what was I thinking?” way that one would looking at old pictures of oneself. 

The music isn’t up to par with original (which was the second-best original soundtrack in the entire canon) but it’s still very good. “All is Found” parallels “Frozen Heart” from the original and is catchy. “Some Things Never Change” is the ensemble opening song similar to “Belle” from Beauty and the Beast and “Where You Are” from Moana. It’s pretty good. “Into the Unknown” is Elsa’s first song and it’s really good. It’s not “Let It Go” but it is the second best song in the movie. “When I Am Older” is Olaf’s song and is quite humorous. It’s not as good as “In Summer” though. In this movie Kristoff actually gets a song. “Lost in the Woods” is about his love for Anna and is in the style of music videos from the 1980s. “Show Yourself” is the best song in the movie and this film’s “Let It Go.” It’s Elsa’s second song in the movie and is her big moment of self-actualization. The amazing lyrics combined with the phenomenal visuals emphasize how powerful this part of the story is. The whole segment is simply incredible. “The Next Right Thing” is Anna’s song and is much better in terms of content and meaning than it is musically, though it is still quite good musically. The animation is flawless. The whole movie is beautifully done, and the “Show Yourself” segment in particular is an aesthetic masterpiece.

Overall the movie exceeded my expectations. Once again Elsa has no love interest, and it should stay that way. Her conflict and personal issues stemming from her powers rather than the need to find someone attractive to sleep with really sets her apart and it’s actually the best thing about her. That was my biggest concern, and it did not come to pass so I’m glad. My biggest problem with the movie (aside from the title) is the post-credits scene. The Snowgies only appeared in the Frozen Fever short. Since that was not a film in the canon I don’t think it should be referenced in a canon film. This requires shoehorning that short into the canon. It doesn’t bother me that much though, because it is just a post-credits scene so a lot of people probably aren’t even aware of it. Overall this is a great movie and worthy addition to the canon, being its highest-ranked sequel. Great job again, WDAS!

Here is the updated list:

  1. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  2. The Lion King
  3. Frozen
  4. Aladdin
  5. The Jungle Book
  6. Robin Hood
  7. Fantasia
  8. Beauty and the Beast
  9. The Little Mermaid
  10. Mulan
  11. Big Hero 6
  12. Frozen II
  13. Hercules
  14. Peter Pan
  15. Tarzan
  16. Moana
  17. Pinocchio
  18. One Hundred and One Dalmatians
  19. Lady and the Tramp
  20. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  21. Sleeping Beauty
  22. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  23. Cinderella
  24. Wreck-It Ralph
  25. Lilo & Stitch
  26. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  27. Zootopia
  28. The Rescuers Down Under
  29. The Great Mouse Detective
  30. The Fox and the Hound
  31. The Princess and the Frog
  32. Tangled
  33. Fantasia 2000
  34. The Rescuers
  35. Meet the Robinsons
  36. Bolt
  37. The Emperor’s New Groove
  38. The Sword in the Stone
  39. The Aristocats
  40. Winnie the Pooh
  41. Oliver & Company
  42. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
  43. Alice in Wonderland
  44. Dinosaur
  45. Brother Bear
  46. Pocahontas
  47. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  48. Bambi
  49. Dumbo
  50. Saludos Amigos
  51. Melody Time
  52. Make Mine Music
  53. Fun and Fancy Free
  54. The Three Caballeros
  55. Treasure Planet
  56. The Black Cauldron
  57. Home on the Range
  58. Chicken Little
Ranking the Disney Animated Canon, Part 9