If you want to hear about the "bursts of pictorial imagination" that might draw you to the cinema for Disney's latest tentpole film, you can read Manohla Dargis' serious, professional, and measured New York Times review of Frozen 2, the long-awaited sequel to the 2013 mega-hit Frozen. But if you want to know what true fans (kids) think, here's the TL;DR: the soundtrack slaps in a power-ballad-slash-chamber-music kind of way, Olaf is bigger than Beyoncé, and parents likely have another six years of their kids being obsessed with the Scandinavian princesses and their friends.
Romper spoke with children ages 3 to 8, from Japan to New Jersey, asking their thoughts. The overwhelming consensus: the Mouse has done it again. In fact, many of our mini-critics were quick to point out that they liked the second movie even better than the first.
Some of the kids could have talked about specific moments, characters, songs, and jokes that spoke to them all day (and likely would have if I hadn't delicately extricated myself from the conversation). And some will hear the four-note echo from up the River Ahtohallan in their nightmares. Most couldn't tell you precisely what they loved about the movie, just that they did. A lot. But, across the board, their reactions were effusive and positive... if sometimes hard to parse.
Below, please find their enthusiastic, ***spoiler-filled*** reviews.
"Frozen 2 was awesome! ... My favorite part is when Olaf says 'Samantha!'* Olaf ... is silly. ... My favorite song was the Olaf song."
[*At this point Lucas broke into giggles and had to be reeled back in. Basically every child I spoke with talked about how hilarious Olaf is. That snowman is engineered to be appealing to children, down to those dirty feet.]
"Olaf did some hilarious things. It was very sweet. Anna and Elsa did very sweet things to each other. They did adventures and they had courage. Even if they were scared, they wouldn’t stop. ... Olaf [is my favorite] because he’s so funny. ... [My favorite part was] when Olaf said did you know this? Did you know this?"
Sophie, 8, & Audrey, 5
Sophie: Olaf is my favorite character ... he's too funny. And then I like Elsa and then Anna and then Sven and Kristoff...
Audrey: Kristoff! I like Kristoff!
Sophie: Audrey, stop. ... Wait... I can't rank them.
[See? I'm telling you! The third movie should be called There's Something About Olaf...]
"The absolute best character is the salamander. He is so cool because he has a fire within and then loves to snuggle in the snow. He's super cute and he's able to help Elsa. The coolest part is the water horse because he is all see through and it would be so cool to ride a horse made of water."
"Anna becoming queen at the end? I did not see that coming."
[Neither did I, Abby.]
Eiryn, 8 & William, 5
Eiryn: One of the only things I didn't like about it was there wasn't any sign of a third movie.
William: The only thing I didn't like is that I didn't see Anna have summer powers.
Eiryn: Oh yeah, I wanted to see Anna have powers.
William: Well, basically for the first movie I likeded that Anna did this to the bad guy *punching in the face into the water*
Eiryn: What I liked in the first and second was that they both started to freeze. Like they both had that snowflake pattern ... I liked that Hans was not in it.
[Is it just me or do these two sound like movie executives brainstorming? "We need to maintain momentum! How are we going to spin this off into a third? And what about summer powers?!" Eiryn and William will run a studio one day, I'm calling it now.]
"The story was better than the first one because there was lots of action and the enchanted forest was cool. Elsa is my favorite because she is very brave and I like all the things she did in the movie. ... The saddest part was in the cave when Olaf had to melt and lose his magic snow, I cried. The sweetest part of the movie is when Kristoff finally asked Anna to marry him and she said yes*."
[Aside from Olaf, the marriage proposal was another recurring theme in my conversations. Kids were all about this, and you can draw your own conclusions about why.]
"It was awesome! Olaf was the best part, especially when he said Samantha because he didn't know one. The worst part was the song, because it says you will drown at the end, and I'm terrified of drowning."
"I think Frozen 2 is better than the first because it has more magic, including all of the five spirits. Although I had a lot of questions I loved it. I really liked it because I liked all the cool songs ... I would recommend it."
[Please understand that Carly had written out her answer to the questions I asked her and read them as a prepared statement and it's probably the best thing I've ever seen or ever will see.]
"It made me feel happy that Anna wanted to protect her sister. My favorite part was when Elsa fought the water horse and then tamed it and then it took her to save the kingdom."
"I love Frozen 2 it [has] Elsa and Anna and Kristoff and Olaf, but not Hans of the Seven Isles*. ... Sven talked! Like for real. And I love Anna’s purple cape and Elsa’s long hair. I want hair like that. Yellow hair. And Honeymaren! And who was that little guy? The salmander-er? And I had popcorn."
[*adjusts glasses* It's Hans of the Southern Isles, but I'm not about to correct a 3-year-old about Frozen. And congrats on the popcorn: my parents always made me smuggle in our own candy, so popcorn was never an option.]
"It was kind of scary, but it was fun. Sven sang for real! And Olaf fell down in the leaves and it was very funny — actually, 100-funny."
[Apparently what B. found scary was the musical riff of the song only Elsa can hear. According to her mother you can't start to sing it without her getting agitated.]
"The part I liked — write down what I sing — 'With a creepy, creepy face: AHHHHH!' That's it."
[To the surprise of no one, this was a song sung by Olaf because, I'm telling you, that snowman is going to rule us all one day. If children could vote, Olaf 2020 would win in a landslide.]