Frozen II Review

Frozen II
  • Directing7
  • Writing6
  • Acting6

Frozen II fails to recapture the magic of the original film, adding colorful set pieces and even more family-friendly songs to attract the kiddos, yet forgets that a driving plot with engaging characters is what really makes for a memorable movie. I applaud Disney Animation for making another gorgeous-looking film, but shake my head at the obvious cash-grab mentality that went into producing this sure-fire box office juggernaut.

Frozen directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee return for the long-awaited Disney Animation sequel Frozen II, starring Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel. The attention to detail and stunning animation must be applauded, but the lack of a significant story definitely holds Frozen II back and makes it feel like yet another entry in the never-ending money machine for Disney.

Frozen II picks up shorty after the events of the original film, leading Anna (Kristen Bell), Elsa (Idina Menzel), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and the friendly never-melting snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) as the venture into an enchanted forest, full of secrets deep in its fog. Together, the group must face their past in order to protect their future, which makes for a darker film in tone that still refreshes audiences with a light-hearted song every five-to-ten minutes.

In between all of the singing and world-exploring is a thinly-written plot that wears its intentions on its sleeve. Frozen II is very much about change and growth — the two sisters were brought together at the conclusion of Frozen, but have they really learned anything about each other? Frozen II focuses on their relationship and the strengths and weaknesses of both women as the learn their true place in this world.

Director Jennifer Lee is credited for the script, with a story co-written by her fellow director Chris Buck, as well as Marc E. Smith, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. The story doesn’t feel that fleshed out, especially after considering how many cooks were in the kitchen at the ground-level.

Frozen II suffers from sequel-syndrome rather quickly, with important characters (Kristoff & Olaf) essentially doing nothing while Anna and Elsa figure out the meat of the crisis. It’s somewhat tiresome watching such energetic and fun characters turn into bores that are mostly bouncing around the screen, singing freely as the plot just kind of wraps itself up into a neat little bow by the last act.

I understand that Disney Animation films tend to cater towards the younger crowd, but that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying a number of their films and to a usually lesser degree, their sequels.

I was hoping that the time spent away from the Frozen world meant that they were trying to hash out a story worth telling and an experience that was worth sinking into years later, but I was wrong and forgot how much money Frozen originally made them — a sequel was always going to come, it was just a matter of when.

From a visual standpoint, Frozen II looks great. The detail on display is astonishing and a shining example of just how far this style of animation has come. I always enjoy seeing the worlds that are being built and explored, but I just wish there was more purpose.

The songs this time around aren’t nearly as memorable. I saw the movie one day ago and couldn’t tell you the title of a single one, unlike Frozen and its wide assortment of instant-classics, when compared to other animated titles.

I must be up front in saying that I generally don’t care for Disney films that include lots of singing — musicals have never been my favorite, but I still go into these films with as open of a mind as possible.

I enjoyed my initial viewing of Frozen and was only later annoyed by it after the mass media consumption took over and after I heard Let it Go on about a million times.

Frozen II is a film that never fully caught my attention and instead had me looking at my watch at various intervals. Directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee have created memorable characters (in the original film) that I would love to see more of, only if the script made them relevant and not feel hollow — these characters were once so entertaining, but now are lacking guidance.

Anna and Elsa’s relationship has certainly grown stronger, but everything else sort of falls by the waste side, making the entire film feel like an afterthought with very few moments worth revisiting.

I’m sure kids are going to gobble this film up and demand that Disney spits out another four or five sequels — I just ask that Disney actually gives the filmmakers the time and space to come up with a better story.

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