Image Credit: Walt Disney
A sequel to 2013’s animated smash 'Frozen' was always going to be a difficult trick to pull off. Have Disney managed? Well… for me, not really.
Let’s start with the good news: the animation is staggeringly beautiful, and the visuals inspired. Whether it’s autumnal forests, fire spirits, water horses, stone giants, stormy seas, or snowy wastelands, 'Frozen II' is nothing if not a feast for the eye, especially on a big screen. The ear is in for a treat too, even if the songs aren’t quite as instant-earworm as Let it go.
The vocal cast are all on good form.
Speaking of which, there’s even a rather witty dismissal of that ludicrously overplayed song in writer/co-director Jennifer Lee’s screenplay. The vocal cast – Kristen Bell, Idina Mendez, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Martha Plimpton, et al – are all on good form too.
The plot? Well, it’s a rather convoluted tale that delves into the past of royal siblings Anna and Elsa’s parents, involving a diplomatic mission in an enchanted forest that went pear-shaped.
As a result, Anna and Elsa, and returning characters Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven, leave their castle in Arendelle to try and set things right.
Along the way, they make new friends, face new perils, and try to discover the origin of Elsa’s power.
Anna and Elsa’s relationship doesn’t evolve.
Whilst all this gives the characters stuff to do, as a sequel it all feels a bit superfluous. Anna and Elsa’s relationship doesn’t evolve in any significant way, nor do they evolve as individuals.
Yes, they discover a few secrets from their past, but these are mostly predictable things that don’t lend themselves to interesting character arcs.
There are themes of embracing change and taking things step by step (“doing the next right thing”) though they aren’t explored with anything like the depth of, say, Pixar’s 'Inside Out'.
Kristoff’s inept attempts at marriage proposal.
On the plus side, there are some fun moments for the supporting cast – for instance, Olaf trying to dismiss his fears, and Kristoff’s inept attempts at a marriage proposal.
However, none of this adds up to a thematically satisfying whole.
Although 'Frozen II' will be a smash hit, and children everywhere will enjoy it, I suspect in time it will be remembered as a diverting but pointless sequel to a far superior original.