Thursday, April 18, 2024

Movie Review: “Frozen II’ is visually wonderful, but overall lacks substance

Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Writer: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Stars: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad

Synopsis: Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven leave Arendelle to travel to an ancient, autumn-bound forest of an enchanted land. They set out to find the origin of Elsa’s powers in order to save their kingdom.


The first Frozen film (2013) was a worldwide phenomenon from which most adults still haven’t recovered. Its most popular song, “Let it Go,” is still heard entirely too often, from people of all ages. Frozen II doesn’t quite live up to the hype and standards of its predecessor. I enjoyed the first film – it’s entertaining and fun, while the sequel seems to be made entirely of recycled ideas and multiple obvious “made for 3D” moments.

Frozen II takes place soon after the events of the first film. We get a little more information about Anna and Elsa’s parents and background of the areas surrounding the kingdom of Arendelle. Elsa is settling in as queen when she starts to hear a voice calling to her from the North. Elsa sets off in search of whoever is calling out to her with the original team in tow – Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven.

I was surprisingly disappointed with this film. I’m normally a huge fan of animated films, especially ones involving Disney princesses. I don’t think I was allowed to watch anything but Disney animated movies until I was about 10. Usually these films succeed with adult audiences on their nostalgia factor alone. Unfortunately, Frozen II was a letdown. I don’t think it lived up to the hype and expectations set by the first film. The story felt recycled; there was absolutely nothing original or anything I hadn’t read in a mythology book or seen from Disney before. The film didn’t have a new or strong message like the original – anything different they tried to sneak in felt forced. The songs were just okay, but not as catchy as anything from Frozen. It felt just a smidge better than Disney’s straight-to-DVD sequels. Another complaint I had was that there were obvious “made for 3D” moments. That’s my biggest pet peeve when it comes to new movies. I understand many films are released in both 3D and 2D, but there shouldn’t be any scenes that look weird or awkward in 2D because they are trying to make something special for the for 3D version. I’m sure not everyone will feel this way, but the movie just didn’t sit well with me.

Frozen II wasn’t all bad. The animation alone is worth a trip to see it on the big screen. I was amazed at the detail they included. The texture of character’s hair and clothing were amazing, and the landscapes were also gorgeous. There are a few Disney “Easter eggs” hidden around if you keep an eye out for them. For example, you can spot a miniature Baymax and Dumbo made of snow. One of my favorite elements of the movie was Olaf. I know a lot of people have said he’s annoying, but I love his comedic relief and awkward questions.  At one point he is retelling (and acting out) the events of the first film to new characters and it’s hilarious. My other favorite part of the film was Kristoff’s song “Lost in the Woods”. It’s the best blend of 80’s power ballad and 90’s boy band song, and Jonathon Groff is perfection. Even the Weezer cover is great.

Frozen II has affable intentions, but overall it fails to meet the expectations set by its predecessor, and it lacked real substance. It has some great elements, such as the animation and the humor, but sadly I did not enjoy the film. Kids will most likely enjoy it as they did with the first, and maybe die hard Disney lovers as well, but re-setting expectations is recommended.

Overall Grade: C-


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