Frozen II - 2019
Updated: Apr 26, 2020
Why couldn't Frozen II consider some other sequels when creating a title? Can you imagine if this were Frozen II: Frozen Harder or Frozen with a Vengeance or Live Free or Frozen? I hope I'm not being ice cold, but all in all, this is a slightly above satisfactory sequel, with a straight up satisfactory title.
There are some things about this sequel that are certainly above satisfactory. Many of the shots are stunning. This film is incredibly visually dynamic and is beautiful to look at. Additionally, it is really lovely to see characters that audiences fell in love with in the first film, return for the second. Olaf (Josh Gad) is particularly entertaining. There are some Olaf sequences where the comedy is excellent, and this can be attributed to great comedic timing and line delivery on Gad's part, but also really fantastic editing/camera work. This film is also top full with allusions, which the target audience may not recognise, but adults in the room certainly will. So, there is a lot to like in Frozen II and there is no denying that. However for every upside, there is an inevitable down side to balance the scales.
The story is confusing at times. The whole film is supposedly about why Elsa (Idina Menzel) was born with powers. However, I would argue that this isn't a question that was really being asked by audiences. I certainly didn't need this question answered, and I love an origin story. Ultimately, by the end of the film, we have an answer, albeit a convoluted one that seems to create many more questions along the way. I had no questions about Elsa's powers, but now that they've expanded our knowledge of the magic in this world, I have so many questions about how and why things are the way they are. We are also introduced to a number of new characters who seem to represent different elements (fire, earth, wind, water). Although these characters are cute, they are again, left largely unexplained and sometimes don't seem to make a huge amount of logic outside of toy sales. For example, the character that seemingly represents water is a wild horse; the eqivalent of a brumby made of water/ice and living in a body of magic water. Why couldn't they have picked an aquatic animal? Or was a horse chosen because producers knew children would buy toy Elsa riding a marginally transparent blue horse? Finally, the plot is predictable at times; there are a few twists that could be predicted within minutes of the film starting. This film is made for children, and perhaps they have less ability to predict an ending than I do, but I argue that Frozen was made for both children and adults, and this sequel just doesn't seem to quite achieve that.
The music is good. There is no denying that. When you have Idina Menzel in your cast you need to take advantage of her voice, and they certainly do that. 'Into the Unknown' is our new 'Let it Go' and it shines. The whole soundtrack is good. I would argue that the whole soundtrack is on par with the soundtrack for the first film. However, the songs certainly aren't utilised as well in this version. When watching Frozen, 'Let it Go' triggers full on goosebumps. The song is used for character development, development of tension and to build up to the film's climax. 'Into the Unknown' is nice, but it's delivered twenty minutes in, so it doesn't matter how phenomenal Idina Menzel sounds, it just doesn't have the same impact as 'Let it Go'.
It is nice to see Anna and Elsa onscreen together once more. It is nice to see their relationship as sisters take priority over any other relationships. It is also nice to see them each shine in their own unique way (and independently of each other). However, I must admit, I expected more from a Frozen sequel. Perhaps I let myself down in that regard. All in all, kids will love it and I'm glad I saw it...but don't go in expecting the magic of Frozen. You'll get the same story, but not with the same spark.