Saturday 30 November 2019

Film Review: Frozen II

Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven venture into the unknown in Disney's long-awaited sequel, Frozen II.

It's been six years since Frozen first took the world by storm, and in that time the film has staked its claim as the 'Disney film most likely to be adapted into live action before 2030'.

Safe to say, a lot was riding on Frozen II living up to the first film – and while it doesn't eclipse the inescapable original, it's a solid sequel that opens up the world, takes the beloved characters to some more mature thematic territory and generally holds onto the magic that resonated with audiences of all ages back in 2013.

More plot-driven than the first, Frozen II sees the kingdom of Arendelle thriving under the rule of sisters Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel). However, the latter is haunted by a mysterious voice that only she can hear. Calling out across the Nordic fjords like a summons, Elsa – with her sister, Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Sven and Olaf (Josh Gad) in tow – follows the voice and ventures into the mystical Enchanted Forest in search of answers. 

There's several subplots running in tandem too; Anna is concerned about Elsa's 'look before you leap' mentality, Kristoff can't quite pluck up the courage to ask Anna to marry him, Olaf finds himself caught in an existential crisis (bear with me here) and Arendelle's former king – Anna and Elsa's grandfather – may have attempted genocide in the past! Aha, fun times with the Frozen gang.

Snark aside, my biggest complaint with Frozen II is the overloaded plot. New characters – such as Sterling K Brown's Mattias and Martha Plimpton's Yelana – are introduced and then kind of forgotten about, as Jennifer Lee's screenplay juggles competing character arcs. That said, at least Frozen II has something going on in between the songs – the first film sort of loses steam in the second half, which doesn't happen here.

What's more important is that the film looks incredible (the animation is scarily good), with lots of vivid shades of pink, purple, blue and autumnal oranges. Anna and Elsa's strong sibling bond is once again foregrounded, and the supporting characters – like Olaf – offer ample comic relief. And of course, the songs. If you're a parent (or plan on becoming one in the near future), you can expect to hear the eight (but it's more like seven) songs from Frozen II on repeat until the end of time – so they'd better be damn good, right?

By and large, the songs follow the template laid out by the first film. Peppy ensemble song 'Some Things Never Change' recalls 'Love Is An Open Door', while Gad gets another comedic track in 'When I Am Older'.

Groff is afforded an 80s power ballad – complete with a trio of backup singers that evoke Bohemian Rhapsody – in amusing diversion 'Lost in the Woods', but it's Menzel's two powerhouse tracks that unsurprisingly bring the house down – 'Into the Unknown', which includes vocals from Norwegian singer Aurora, is something of a successor to 'Let It Go'. Weezer, Panic at the Disco and Kasey Musgraves also feature in the end credits, performing covers of the big songs from the film.

The Verdict: 6.5/10

And that's that – Frozen II scales up the ante and takes the characters to newer, darker territory. There are new songs – some are bangers, and some are not. Ultimately, children and families will gobble it up, and that's fine – you could do a lot worse than Frozen II this weekend (or once the summer school holidays start).

Frozen II is in cinemas across Australia now.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...