March 27, 2020

“Frozen II” Review: A Sequel Worth the Wait

The sequel builds upon the characters established by the first film.
Disney caught lightning in a bottle with Frozen in 2013, and after its massive success one question remained: what could possibly top the billion-dollar blockbuster in its inevitable sequel?

The answer to that question is Frozen II, which picks up three years after the events of the first film. The now-iconic characters, including ice queen Elsa (Idina Menzel), her sister Anna (Kristen Bell) and talking snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) return for a brand-new adventure that brings our heroes to a mysterious enchanted forest where they are pushed to their very limits in their quest to discover the source of Elsa’s powers.

While the first film was a loose adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “Snow Queen,” the sequel takes more creative liberties, combining elements of North mythology with classic tropes of characters we know and love stuck in an unfamiliar location, which they are then forced to explore. But the originality doesn’t hurt the film — in fact, it enhances it. Directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee have clearly learned lessons from the first film on how to tell a good story, and their experience translates very well into this film.

Of course, the film isn’t without its flaws; Kristoff, Anna’s love interest, is sidelined with a less than entertaining subplot, the influx of new characters can feel distracting and superfluous at points, and the story is just about as cliché as you’d expect. However, these imperfections are not glaring enough to hinder the moviegoing experience.

Fans will remember the first film as the origin of the monstrous music hit “Let It Go,” and while Frozen II is indeed a musical, it doesn’t rely on the songs to carry the story. This makes the musical moments more impactful and the songs more notable, although unfortunately, even though they deserve it, none of the songs from Frozen II quite reached the heights of “Let It Go” (though “Into the Unknown” was nominated for an Academy Award at this year’s ceremony).

Another high point of Frozen II is its visual appeal. Disney’s animation has only improved since 2013, and the fluid on-screen movement of the characters and scenery is utterly stunning and a real visual treat to watch. Water and fire, infamously difficult to animate, are put on full display in a multitude of scenes and only added to the authentic feel of the film’s unique world.

Young children will no doubt enjoy themselves immensely, but there are themes and elements that also cater to adults, as well as catchy songs to hum and appealing naturalistic imagery to marvel at. It didn’t take the world by storm as its predecessor did, but it’s worth a chance for fans and casual viewers alike. [Grade: A]

Director: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Writer: Jennifer Lee
Starring: Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood
Rated: PG for action/peril and some thematic elements
Available: Disney+
Fun Fact: Olafs statement that turtles can breathe out of their butts is actually a real phenomenon known as cloacal respiration and occurs with several species including painted box turtles, eastern snapping turtles, and Fitzroy river turtles.

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