by Charles Kirkland Jr.
Sterling K. Brown and Evan Rachel Wood join the gang in this light-hearted sequel to the phenomenon that is now a franchise, Frozen II.
It’s a beautiful time in Arendelle. Everything is great under the rule of Queen Elsa. Until Elsa (Idina Menzel) hears a faraway siren song that no one else can hear. The song calls out to her and awakens a threat to the existence of Arendelle. To find the source of the call and save the kingdom, Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Kristoff embark on a journey to a mysterious and foreboding enchanted forest. Once they get there, they find that the call from the forest will change everything Anna and Elsa know about themselves, their family and the land they love.
From a screenplay written by Jennifer Lee (Frozen, Zootopia) based on a story by Lee, Chris Buck (Pocahontas), Marc Smith, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, Frozen II stars Frozen veterans Menzel, Kristen Bell, Josh Gad and Jonathan Groff and is joined by Sterling K. Brown as General Mattias and Evan Rachel Wood as Queen Iduna, Anna and Elsa’s mother. Directed also by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, Frozen II picks up where the original left off.
Armed with failed proposal attempts, musical recaps and more songs, Frozen II excels in the comedy department but misses on the story. While it is entertaining, there is a certain weakness and lack of originality in the composition of the story. But why complain? It is a Disney princess movie after all. It has to fit a certain formula. This formula now though is the new Disney princess though not the old. In this new formula, women are smart and don’t need to be rescued by a prince. There’s one scene where a girl desires a cartographer’s lens to any other toy. But that is the new, liberated smarter Disney.
Unfortunately, the movie is not as smart as the movement. Despite the attempts of Anna to help her learn from her past, Elsa falls into many of the same trappings as she did in the first movie. Choosing isolation over cooperation, Elsa puts the whole kingdom in jeopardy and after a few songs, Anna comes to the rescue. Sound familiar? Of course, it does.
“Let It Go,” the cornerstone song from the first movie, was a smash hit and can be heard even to this day by fans of the original. “Into The Unknown” from this movie attempts to be that song but is nowhere nearly as catchy or integral to the movie. There are some good songs in the film including one that Tony nominated, Glee alum, Jonathon Goff sings (“Lost In The Woods”) that are fun to watch but again are not that captivating or memorable. Oscar-winning writers, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (“Let It Go”, “Remember Me”) pen all of the songs for this movie but seem to fall short of catching lightning for the third time.
Frozen II is rated PG for action/peril and some thematic elements. It’s a fun, yet vacuous ride back to Arendelle that could have been left alone. But hey, it’s Disney and who else would they be if they did not continue to grab all the money that they can? It’s funny, not as much fun as the original though but it will be a pleaser for all those excited over a return to Arendelle after a long five years in waiting.
P.S. It’s a Disney film so stay for the very end for a special reward!