Why Am I Attracted to Sterling K. Brown As a Cartoon? And Other Thoughts I Had While Watching Frozen 2
As a 27-year-old parenting editor, I get the enormous pleasure of seeing every cute kids' movie a little bit early. I do my best to watch movies while keeping both parents and children in mind. Is there anything inappropriate or scary? Will little ones be able to sit through the entire thing? You get the picture.
But recently, while attending an early screening of Frozen 2, I decided to look past the initial excitement I get from a heavy dose of Disney magic, and I have some thoughts.
Whether you're attending Frozen 2 for the umpteenth time with your family in tow or simply have to see every new Disney movie, here's what ran through my mind as I watched the sweet sequel. And FYI: there are major spoilers ahead, so don't say we didn't warn you!
- The movie opens with a young Elsa and Anna learning a bit about their family history from their parents at bedtime. Not only are the girls so cute — and act exactly like every other child gearing up to hear a story before snoozing — but we quickly learn, never tell kids not to go into a dark forest.
- King Agnarr, aka Anna and Elsa's very good-looking pops who rocks a Ron Swanson-level mustache, launches into a whirlwind story about how the Arendelle troops — whom are described as kind and peaceful because, hey, its his army and all — ended up in a violent war with the people of Northuldra. In a flashback, we learn that the folks from Arendelle "let their guard down" while building a dam (quite the humanitarian effort) and the amicable relations quickly went to sh*t.
- Then we get a bird's eye view of the possibly world's slowest and least-gory war. Sure, it's a kids movie, but it looks like the end result of someone attempting to make Game of Thrones kid-friendly.
- Amid the violence, King Agnarr gets rescued by a mysterious stranger, who we later learn is their mother. Obviously, the girls are very impressed — and thrilled their dad is alive! — and head off to bed with no fights, begging, or crying (though not until after they get a lullaby). Truly a fairytale for parents.
- We get our first peek at the original squad, aka grown-up Elsa, Anna, Kristoff (voiced by Jonathan Groff), Olaf, and Sven. Naturally, our favorite snowman — voiced by Josh Gadd — says something along the lines of, "Maturity is making me poetic," and honestly I wish I could say the same.
- We find out that Elsa's hearing voices — never a good sign — and things quickly go south during a wholesome game of charades. Disturbed by the strange voice she's been hearing, Elsa makes an early exit because she's tired (Classic excuse to leave a party!) and goes to her room.
- Anna gets up to check on her brooding sister when we learn that Kristoff is planning on proposing. (Cue the squeals). Yep, he has a ring and everything.
- Anna and Elsa have a deep conversation about whether or not Elsa is doing OK. She tells her sister that she's hearing voices and Anna promises her they're going to get through whatever is going on together. Fat chance of that, eh?
- We meet a group of adorable little trolls. They tell Elsa and Anna to get the heck out of dodge because of dark magic that's brewing around the city walls. Apparently, there's unresolved beef with a nearby town. Wonder whose fault that is?!
- All hell breaks loose in the city of Arendelle. Earth, wind, and fire are coming together to wreak havoc on the city. Poor Sven is blown out of his little reindeer bedroom and the townspeople are forced to leave, up a hill in the cold, nonetheless. Trusting her intuition, Elsa makes the rest of the gang follow suit, and they embark on their journey to this other enchanted land.
- They ride off in a wagon that's pulled by Sven, who always seems to get the crummy jobs. Olaf is chatting it up the entire time, offering facts and other bits of useless information. (Anyone who has been in the car with young children will feel this scene on a deeply personal level.) During their travels, Kristoff takes a moment to speak to Anna privately about their relationship. Naturally, it doesn't go as planned. He makes a remark about how crazy being in love is, and she swiftly replies, "So you think I'm crazy?!" because, of course. He tries to backtrack, but the moment is utterly lost. And yeah, I mean, who hasn't been there?
- They come across a beautiful forest, where they make a pit stop to poke around. The group is introduced to Gale — a mischievous gust of wind that I very much wish existed in the real world — who plays a few good-hearted jokes on Olaf. Our favorite snowman proceeds to make a few silly one-liners. Obviously, this is followed by a musical number where Olaf proceeds to dodge all kinds of danger. It's beyond pure and ends with Olaf saying, "I find clothes restricting," and DON'T WE ALL.
- We learn that water has memory and I double-check that I'm in the right theater.
- An adorable little lizard shows up. He squeaks, climbs all over everyone, and has a bit of a sh*t-eating grin. I instantly become obsessed with him.
- Finally, the crew comes face-to-face with the tribe from Northuldra, a group of magical people who are trapped in the forest. The Northuldrans are naturally suspicious of outsiders, because stranger danger. Mattias — voiced by none other than heartthrob Sterling K. Brown — shares he's not only a former Arendelle guard, but worked specifically for Elsa and Anna's grandfather. (More on that later).
- As soon as I hear Mattias speak, I instantly find his character attractive. Leave it to Sterling K. Brown to be hot even as a cartoon. He is one spicy dish.
- Everyone seems to be getting along despite meeting each other two minutes prior. All is well. Perhaps, too well. We hear a rumble and these giant rock-like giants come stomping out of the woods. Now I know how my cats feel when I wake up in the morning.
- Plot twist: Anna, Elsa, and Olaf take off without Kristoff and leave him behind in the magical forest to go north and learn about the origin of Elsa's magical powers. Some friends they are!
- Kristoff has an iconic boy band moment where he sings in the woods about how much he loves Anna. It's straight out of an '80s music video and I stan him.
- En route to the potentially dangerous northern land, Elsa and Anna learn their parents died crossing the Dark Sea while stumbling across the remnants of their boats. It's oddly chilling. Elsa blames herself and Anna is quick to reassure her it's not her fault, per usual.
- More hellbent on going to the northern land than ever, Elsa tells Anna that they're in this together. But then in a sketchy move, Elsa pushes her sister and Olaf into a boat and takes off without them. What gives, Elsa?! You were supposed to be there for each other!
- Elsa sets off by herself. She's pretty f*cking determined because it's near-impossible to get there. Maybe she's on a little bit of a power trip, but who's to say? She learns through the spirits (yes, spirits), that her grandfather was, in fact, responsible for the war and subsequent bad juju that the people of Arendelle have been dealing with. She discovers that the voice she's been hearing is actually her mother's, and she starts connecting the dots.
- Elsa feels all types of emotions while learning about her family's history. She sings about it and decides she needs to go back, but it's not that easy. She has to take off her shoes and cloak and attempt to leave the island she's on by skipping on the water. After failing twice, she persists, and gets help from an unsuspecting friend — aka a ghost horse that comes out of nowhere. Sure, we saw him earlier in the movie, but I was not expecting him to show up in the ocean and help her battle the waves. My question is, did she leave all her stuff there? She needs shoes!
- Obviously both Anna and Olaf are really upset. They just got pushed into a boat and end up shooting down a waterfall. Bet Elsa wasn't counting on that. They end up in a cave and both seem utterly hopeless. (For the record, I would be, too).
- We cut to Elsa trying to rough it on her own. Obviously, leaving her sister behind was the world's worst idea. She ends up frozen — and utterly alone — which causes poor innocent Olaf to start melting. Not the play, Elsa.
- Olaf is flurrying and awww, it's so cute. Then I realize he's basically dying and OMG OLAF IS FLURRYING, MAKE IT STOP.
- Anna has to leave Olaf behind — there's a lot of ditching in this movie, they should really invest in a few iPhones! — and heads back to Northuldra. As soon as she gets there, the pesky giants are up to no good. She's running away from them and clearly hanging onto her life by a thread. After falling, Kristoff comes to the rescue, and we have the classic damsel in distress scenario.
- Anna realizes that in order to break the curse between the two villages, she needs to destroy the dam that divides them with the understanding that Arendelle will be washed away. Who better to get the job done than the earth giants? She gets their attention and stands on the dam as the launch giant boulders onto it. Gutsy move. After a few tense moments, she's back with Kristoff on land safe and sound. Phew!
- At the same time the dam is falling, we see Elsa in the distance. The spell that froze her is broken!
- With gallons of water racing towards Arendelle, Elsa acts quickly to save the town. One quick blast from her hands, and her hometown is safe. I'm shocked at how easy that was.
- The lizard is back again, and though he's added absolutely nothing to the plot, he's adorable so he can stay.
- Everyone is reunited and Mattias drops the truth bomb that he and the Northuldrans have been trapped in the forest for 35 years, 5 months, and 23 days. That's literally more than my entire time on earth. Woof.
- Kristoff finally gets his chance to propose and it is nothing less than textbook. She says yes and the crowd goes wild! Yep, Anna's getting hitched!
- It's all a big, happy ending: Arendelle is saved and the townspeople return to their homes. Mattias also goes back to his native city and looks quite freakin' dapper. Though he has a lot to catch up on — he has no idea what a photograph is — he seems pretty happy.
- Anna becomes queen of Arendelle and Elsa returns to rule over the north. See? It's literally like Game of Thrones for children!