Notre Dame on fire ...
If you’re a parent of children under 10, you might be dreading it or looking forward to it, but there’ll be no avoiding it. Six years after it blew the doors off the box office, Frozen is back.
The good: The sequel is gorgeous and funnier than its predecessor and has enough positive messages to outweigh the negative. The bad: It’s 20 minutes longer than it needs to be, the plot is a magical muddle, and there’s not a song in it that can hold a candle to “Let It Go.”
The story opens with a mysterious voice calling to Elsa. Soon it sends the sisters and their crew on a quest to uncover the secrets of an enchanted forest. Anyone who saw Pocahontas or Avatar or a dozen similar movies can guess what they’ll find about an ancestor and a tribe of pacifist forest-dwellers who revere the spirits of nature. The vague animism doesn’t make much sense. Is the supernatural voice calling Elsa her mother, or some manifestation of her own power? Why do the anthropomorphized elements keep trying to stop her if they want her to achieve her goal?
Little beyond that will raise parents’ eyebrows, though the song “Show Yourself,” while ambiguous enough to maintain plausible deniability, will likely goose social media rumblings about what kind of love interest Elsa ought to have. More irritating is the “you’re the one you’ve been waiting for” lyric. It’s no less narcissistic now than it was as a 2008 campaign slogan.
Balancing this out, though, is Anna. Once again, Elsa’s plucky little sister proves more admirable. She’s too busy trying to serve her family and her kingdom to get angsty about her feelings. “I won’t look too far ahead, it’s too much for me to take,” she sings, “I’ll walk through this night, stumbling blindly toward the light. And do the next right thing.”
Little people need to hear that each day has enough trouble of its own. And the next right thing is the best any of us can do.