Cast: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff
Directors: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
This may be sacrilegious to say, but I never particularly cared for the original Frozen movie. Sure “Let It Go” is a catchy song and the animation is nice to look at, but to me it’s always been a very standard Disney movie with nothing truly spectacular associated with it. Now that we have a sequel, I would be very surprised if it surpasses the original’s quality as sequels rarely do. As I foresaw, Frozen II is entertaining, but still a very typical animated Disney movie. Carried by songs and strong animation, Frozen II is mildly entertaining, but not exactly the greatest movie Disney’s ever put out.
The film continues the journey of Elsa (voiced by Menzel) and Anna (voiced by Bell), the Queen and Princess of Arendelle who have restored their land and kept it safe for the three years after the events of the first movie. When elemental spirits from the nearby Enchanted Forest cause chaos and destruction, Elsa, Anna, and their friends must team up again and venture into the Forest if they want to preserve their home. As you might be able to tell from that description, this movie is almost quintessential Disney and nails their formula down to the very last detail. The plot is pretty standard, the film looks amazing, and the songs will be remembered for a while. Due to the constant landscape and environment changes, we get to see a variety of colors and textures over the course of the 103 minute runtime and the variety helps elevate the movie and make it feel fresh. On the musical side of things, while “Into the Unknown” isn’t quite as strong as “Let it Go,” it still fills the responsibilities of the big musical number and captivates audiences in the context of the scene. With so many people reprising their roles, much of this movie is just picking up where the last one left off and this creates a level of chemistry between the voice actors much like in the original. That being said, the plot just feels very basic and something you can see in any other animated very. It’s incredibly benevolent and not exactly emotionally draining, so while most audiences can tolerate this and find it digestible and amicable, it’s not the most challenging or risk-taking movie of all time. If this came out in 1989, maybe that would be the case, but in 2019 with the development of major animation studios over the past few decades we’re at a point where audiences demand the best from these studios. Sure it’s aimed at younger audiences (as evident by annoying Olaf (voiced by Gad) returning in this movie), but I just can’t help but feel underwhelmed by this sequel. It had all the potential in the world to be one of the best animated movies of the year, and while the numbers may tell a different story, Frozen II is a solid movie that just doesn’t live up to the hype of the first film.
Overall, if you enjoyed the first Frozen movie, more than likely you’ll like this one too. It’s very much a rehashing of the characters from the previous film with just a little bit of variety to make it feel fresh. I had surprisingly high hopes for Frozen II as I thought it could break the mold of sequels being underwhelming compared to their original counterpart, but that was not the case here. The Disney machine continues to dominate this corner of the movie industry and while the titan made over $1 billion with Frozen II, that sum does accurately reflect its quality.
Overall Score: 5/10