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Frozen II review - the allure cools off | reviews, news & interviews

Frozen II review - the allure cools off

Frozen II review - the allure cools off

Disney returns to one of its biggest successes, with middling results

Where's the magic? The animated heroes of Frozen II

Frozen is possibly the most beloved Disney movie since the studio rediscovered its mojo in the 1990s. While picking up a couple of Oscars and laying waste to box office records, it had young girls immersing themselves in favourite characters and performing the songs on a dime.

A sequel to that 2013 film was inevitable. And so with the same production team, composers and stars, we’re returning to Arendelle and its two royal sisters – one with magical powers, the other some good old-fashioned gumption, who make a formidable team when they’re not immersed in sibling squabbles.  

But while Frozen II is accomplished and delightful, it doesn’t quite soar like its predecessor. 

Having cleared the decks of false friends and harnessed her power to create ice and snow, Elsa (Idina Menzel) has calmly assumed her role as Queen of Arendelle. Sister Anna (Kristen Bell) is happily by their side, with Kristoff (Jonathan Goff) the brave but slightly dim ice harvester by hers, eager to propose marriage but never finding the right moment. 

It opens with a flashback to the sisters’ childhood, their late father telling them of an enchanted forest, created when their kingdom warred with another. In the present, a night of strange natural calamities leads to the evacuation of Arendelle. Elsa believes that she must travel to the forest to discover how to save her city. Unlike the last time she left home, alone, her sister and friends now go with her, including talking snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) and Kristoff’s reindeer Sven. The journey will reveal some unknown facts about the girls’ parents and the origin of Elsa’s powers. 

The animation is again spectacular – the forest is gorgeously tangible, stone giants seem to have been hewn out of the mountain, the display of Elsa’s powers is thrilling. And the comic relief remains endearingly offbeat, notably the toofy, goofy Olaf, who literally deconstructs his body while adjusting to his very existence through the regurgitation of pointless facts (the choicest: ‘turtles breathe through their butts’). Kristoff has his moments too, including a lovelorn ballad, ‘Lost in the Woods’, which is presented as a cheesy Eighties music video (with a nod towards one classic, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’). 

However, the film falls short on two key fronts – story and songs. ‘Into the Unknown’ is rousingly sang by Menzel, and Bell’s ‘Do the Next Right Thing’ is very touching, but neither is a hair-tingling showstopper like the Oscar-winning ‘Let It Go’ from the original. And there’s virtually no tension in the plot: Frozen saw the two sisters estranged and facing bona fide villains; any conflicts here are quickly smoothed over in a near constant love-in. 

It’s a reminder of how remarkable the Toy Story series was in sustaining its quality, indeed building on it over four films. Frozen set a high bar, admittedly, but in comparison its sequel leaves one just a little cold.

 

Frozen saw the two sisters estranged and facing bona fide villains; any conflicts here are quickly smoothed over in a near constant love-in

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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