Only Slightly Lesser Than The Sum: Our Review of ‘Frozen II’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - November 22, 2019
Only Slightly Lesser Than The Sum: Our Review of ‘Frozen II’

While sequels can often take us “Into The Unknown”…things really never get all that strange.

Coming off the heels of its billion dollar grossing predecessor, Frozen II is certainly a delightfully animated musical romp but it can’t quite live up to the original as it gets a little too narratively lost at times while leaning on some powerhouse musical numbers.

While everything and everyone is Arendelle is seemingly contented, there are still questions unanswered.  Why was Elsa born with magical powers? The answer is calling her from the enchanted and forbidden forest which is now seemingly threatening her kingdom. Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, she’ll set out on a dangerous but remarkable journey not only to learn the origins of her powers but in un-clouding the mysteries of the land that are affecting every soul in Arendelle.

An ultimately lively and enjoyable affair, Frozen II seemingly feels a little slighter than its predecessor as the unique character driven edge of the original takes somewhat of a back seat to a soundtrack with several showstoppers to enjoy along the way.

For some reason I’m always a little taken a back at how strongly these films lean into a musical, and with Frozen II the Disney universe has unquestionably doubled down on making this feature bigger and bolder than ever.

With the directorial team of Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee back at the helm leading a small army of animators there’s no doubt this film looks and sounds amazing but with it essentially continuing a narrative from the first film rather than the discovery aspect of something new with these characters it just doesn’t feel as vibrant as the first time around.  Sure they’ve all been established but the entire narrative, even as they delve into the forest and discover the secrets around their family and the land that they rule it really feels like we’re only getting a piece of the bigger picture without any kind of real pay off.

The songs are obviously catchy, maybe even more so then the original but in the first film where we got story and character development here we just got set up for lavish musical numbers, which are of course fantastic but with only minimal evolution of the actual characters it just doesn’t feel satisfying.  Maybe they’re making a trilogy of it all, where all the hints of the identity of the Elsa character come to light only giving us enough of a tease for an ultimate payoff in the probably eventual Frozen III

No one is bad from a performance standpoint (obviously) as the initial ensemble of Kirsten Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad can carry the music and the film in their sleep with new characters voiced by the likes of Josh Ritter, Ciaran Hinds, Martha Plimpton, Alfred Molina, Sterling K Brown and Evan Rachel Wood do move the bigger story along a little bit but not enough to feel really memorable.

At the end of the day, Frozen II is obviously top notch entertainment that will be adored by the masses but it misses the mark on being a truly memorable piece of cinema, no matter how much young fans will love singing ‘Into The Unknown’ maybe even more then ‘Let It Go’.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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