Film review, by Jason Day, of Frozen 2 (2019), Disney’s sequel to its 2013 animated blockbuster in which Queen Elsa and her sister Princess Anna enter an ancient forest to uncover the secrets of Elsa’s magical freezing powers.
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After Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel) left her kingdom of Arendelle, afraid her magical powers would freeze people to death, she has returned and peace reigns supreme.
But Elsa is troubled by a beautiful, ghostly voice that beckons her and loyal sister Princess Anna (Kristen Bell) to venture into an enchanted forest.
Here, they uncover the origins of Elsa’s powers and uncomfortable truths about Arendelle’s past.
Review, by @Reelreviewer
It’s nearly Christmas, so during the countdown to the big day, you and I would think my reviews would be imbued with a bit of festive cheer. Particularly those pertaining to much-loved, whimsical, up-beat, song-filled Disney fare such as Frozen II.
No such luck. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool pessimist – and proud of it!
It’s been six years since the first Frozen wanged its way onto silver screens across the world and – unaccountably, in my opinion – stole the hearts of kids and adults.
See my review of it for more but suffice to say, despite the hype and the $1.2bn it earned, I wasn’t left expecting much from a follow-up, sequel films usually being inferior to their forbear.
Frozen II reminded me of the critical assaults on Disney animated/part animated films during their ‘fallow’ period – post Mary Poppins, throughout the 70’s and up to Beauty and the Beast (1991), when they finally made a movie worth spending your money to see. The post-Golden era.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) was an unofficial and only mildly appealing reboot of Poppins and there were umpteen Love Bug/Herbie flicks.
Robin Hood (1973) was criticised for lacking the majesty of earlier Disney productions. Decades later, analysis revealed that many of the animated cells and scenes in this movie were recycled from older, more glorious pictures. But at least it had the purrrfect tones of Peter Ustinov as a feline Prince John.
After Beauty and the Beast Disney was an unstoppable force, practically unassailable at international cinemas. When a Disney animation was released, they were all but guaranteed box office tills ringing on overtime.
Frozen II will no doubt do the same as Frozen did, but it’s more gormless and charmless and has the added ‘thrill’ of being derivative.
Frozen II isn’t quite a facsimile of Frozen, but there enough samey elements to mean it isn’t anything wholly new or different either.
Queen Elsa self-ostracises herself.
Anna tries to save her.
Kristoff still provides the muscle (and is even more dense than before).
A giant rock man is the mighty antagonist and not a snow giant.
Snowman Olaf provides the jokes and impressions (good jokes and impressions, but not enough of them) so charming the audience rests on the antlers of still lovable reindeer Sven.
A reindeer carries a film about the human condition? Disney have things got it wrong!
Disney animations usually soar with splendid songs but the first Frozen – apart from the splendid ‘Let It Go’ – failed on this score. Musically, it would have been better if Frozen II was a silent film.
Frozen II‘s soundtrack is so painfully poor and parlous it makes the movie suffer more. Some of the lyrics are so wooden and clunky they make you wince.
There are peeks in the clouds with some racy and funny dialogue that only an adult could appreciate. Prior to their wedding, Kristoff dons official, matrimonial garb and Anna checks how uncomfortable he is, whispering: “I prefer you in leather.”
A bit more of this and I might have nudged up the star rating, but Frozen II is definitely one for the kids, retarded in its innocence.
It isn’t for me, but it is for my niece and other umpteen kids in princess dresses who screamed with delight during the screening I attended.
For them, let Frozen I, II, III or whatever reign supreme!
Find out more about Frozen II on the official UK cinema website.
Cast & credits
Directors: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee. 1hr 43mins/103mins. Disney/Disney Animation. (U)
Producer: Peter Del vecho.
Writer: Jennifer Lee.
Music: Christophe Beck.
Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Martha Plimpton, Jason Ritter, Rachel Matthew, Jeremy Sisto, Ciaran Hinds.