MOVIE REVIEW: “Frozen II” Proves That Disney Hasn’t Entirely Let Itself Go ★★★
GOOD Morning Wilton has recently welcomed a new movie reviewer, Sebastian Hunt, is a junior at Wilton High School who loves film and television, and hopes to become a filmmaker himself one day. He’s already gotten a jump start on that, producing his own screenplays and planning on submitting his work to film festivals. You can learn more about Sebastian on GMW‘s “Our Team” page.
If you adored the original Frozen, I have no doubt that you’ll love Frozen II. That’s something I feel should be said upfront. There’s a host of new songs, characters, and rich expansions to franchise lore; Kristen Bell, Josh Gad and Idina Menzel make sterling returns, delivering fantastic vocal performances. In many ways, it’s better than its predecessor.
However, as someone who liked-not-loved the original, I can’t say that I possess a high level of enthusiasm. I certainly enjoyed Frozen II–it’s a fun, well-rendered animated adventure–but overall, the film didn’t really emotionally resonate with me or particularly stick out among the sea of other Disney offerings. Therefore, you might want to read this assessment with a certain mindset. If you’re interested in the thoughts of a moderate Frozen fan as opposed to a starry-eyed diehard, read along. If you are a hardcore fan yourself, feel free to ignore me.
Frozen II picks up an unspecified amount of time after Frozen, with ice queen Elsa more-or-less in control of her powers and political position. This peace is interrupted when she picks up a strange, ominous signal–one that upsets the spirits of nature and threatens Elsa’s kingdom. She’s compelled to find the source of this signal, enlisting the help of sister Anna, snowman Olaf, and friend Kristoff. Together, they attempt to decipher its meaning, in turn uncovering some dark truths about the past.
Elsa gets more screentime this time around. She remains the standout: a complex and fully-realized character. Consequently, this means less development for Anna, Olaf, and Kristoff; much of the film’s attention is diverted away from the fan-favorite trio. Kristoff in particular is dealt a raw deal–the ice-moving reindeer-whisperer is afforded a new storyline, but his lack of spotlight never allows it to be particularly interesting.
Something Kristoff is granted is a thunderous musical number. Frozen II’s songs are decent on the whole, but Kristoff’s angsty ballad is most likely to strike a chord with viewers. It is the closest equivalent to Let It Go (which oddly doesn’t receive a true reprise), and I imagine I’ll be hearing it countless more times in the future.
Another praiseworthy aspect of Frozen II is the animation. Every frame is lush with colorful, almost hypnotically realistic animated scenery; Frozen II’s digital ecosystem is a visual wonderland.
What’s preventing me from hailing Frozen II (and Frozen) as a top-tier Disney classic is how unbearably predictable the entire film is. There was not a single beat, twist, or progression I didn’t see coming. Frozen II is about as “by the numbers” as they come. True, this is Disney we’re talking about, but Frozen II feels contrived even by their standards.
Despite a few slippery narrative slopes, however, I largely enjoyed Frozen II, and I imagine most of you will as well. If you’re a fan of Disney, the original Frozen, or are just looking to kill some time, I’d say check this one out.
★ – Bad (e.g., Godzilla ‘98, Pixels, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Justice League)
★★ – Mediocre (e.g., Incredibles 2, Watchmen, Alice in Wonderland, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle)
★★★ – Good (e.g., Creed II, Batman, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Pretty In Pink, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective)
★★★★ – Great (e.g., Jurassic Park, The Empire Strikes Back, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Social Network)
★★★★★ – Amazing (e.g., Dr. Strangelove, The Terminator, The Dark Knight, Back to the Future, Skyfall)