Current Issue #478

Film Review:
Frozen II

Disney

It’s been six years since the first Frozen was a massive rugrat hit, and this long-awaited sequel looks great and has much heart but doesn’t quite hit those frosty heights.

Once again directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, but with little to do this time with Hans Christian Andersen, Frozen II has some charming moments and the returning vocal cast are in pleasing form, but there’s something unwise in separating the characters so much. And rewriting and rethinking the events of the first film, which is always a problem with any follow-up, could well seem sacrilegious for the original’s passionately devoted pre-teen audience.

Three years after the coronation of Elsa (Idina Menzel), she and her sister Anna (Kristen Bell) celebrate autumn in Arendelle with ice harvester Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), sentient snowman Olaf (Josh Gad getting all the best lines again) and long-suffering reindeer Sven. When Elsa hears a mysterious singing voice, this leads to the awakening of elemental spirits, and some visiting trolls advise that the quintet must journey to the Enchanted (what else?) Forest to put things right.

When the gang arrive they meet the long-trapped indigenous people of Nortuldra, who look conspicuously like Native Americans with just a touch of Lapland finery, and they reveal the injustices of Elsa and Anna’s late grandfather King Runeard (voiced in flashback by Jeremy Sisto) and cause the girls to rethink their lives and their beliefs. It’s an ambitious, heavily symbolic touch in what’s intended as a film for kids and is very nearly overdone, but more problematic is the later plot development, where Elsa must travel alone to the mythical Ahtohallan, a place where the past is truly revealed and the children watching might wind up both scared and baffled.

But the biggest and most burning question: are the songs here on par with the first film’s ecstatically beloved Let It Go and For The First Time In Forever? Well no – but, really, how could they be? Some Things Never Change near the beginning is nice, Show Yourself strikes an appropriately defiant chord, Olaf’s When I Am Older is sweet, and several variations upon Into The Unknown have a deliberately sing-along feel, but time will tell if young fans will be learning them by heart and endlessly, infuriatingly crooning the things for the next six years or so before the next Frozen installment.

Littlies should like it despite these problems and miscalculations, but whereas the first Frozen back in 2013 turned into an almost epochal cultural event, this one, in the end, is… just a sequel.

Reviewer Rating
7/10

Frozen II (PG) is in cinemas now

DM Bradley

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