The highly anticipated Disney Animation Studios sequel Frozen II sees the continuing adventures of Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven the reindeer and Olaf the enchanted snowman, set approximately three years after the events of the first film.
The premise of the film is quite simple: Queen Elsa hears a strange sound that only she can hear calling her to venture north of Arendelle. Together with her sister and friends, Elsa travels to an enchanted forest that the sisters originally believed to only be a fairy tale told to them by their late parents when they were young, and from there they must not only uncover the truth about the sound that only Elsa can hear, but also the nature of Elsa’s power, and the truth about the history of the Kingdom of Arendelle.
The original main four voice actors all return for this sequel, with Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad all reprising their roles as Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, Kristoff and Olaf the Snowman respectively. Olaf and Sven bring the comedy once more and often lighten the mood when it needs to be lifted. There is one new animal that is very cute and will make a lot of money in the Disney stores, but other than that it doesn’t play a large role in the film. The other new secondary characters perform their roles as necessary to progress the narrative, however none of them are truly memorable in the grand scheme of this film, and any other secondary characters from the first film are sidelined into very minor roles in the sequel.
This film is also filled with a number of new songs, performed by all four of the main characters – however, unlike the original, the songs in this film are nowhere near as memorable as the first. Whereas after the first film, people were walking out of the cinema singing ‘Do You Wanna Build A Snowman?’, ‘Love Is An Open Door’, Olaf’s ‘In Summer’ and the unforgettable (and inescapable) ‘Let It Go’, Frozen II didn’t have me even humming any of the new songs after the film finished. ‘Into The Unknown’ and ‘The Next Right Thing’ are nice songs, but they just don’t have the punch of those of the first soundtrack. However, there is one song in the middle of the film that is done in the style of an 80s power ballad that is utterly hilarious and had us all but rolling in the aisles! It’s definitely the musical highlight of this film.
It would be very easy to be cynical with Frozen II, with Disney deciding to make a sequel on the back of the runaway success that was Frozen in 2013. But to give them credit, Disney actually created a film with a decent plot, that has backstory, some complexity and a narrative that even got a little dark towards the end (but you knew it would all work out in the end, of course). The animation and production values are once again top notch, and nothing about the way the film is made detracts from the story, visuals and music that is put on the screen.
So is Frozen II worth seeing? Definitely. If you’ve seen the first film, then you already have an investment in the characters and no doubt the young people in your life will want to see the sequel, so go along and enjoy this one with them. Is it a better film than the first Frozen? Well that’s debatable. The film has a better plot but not as good a soundtrack as the first film, and aside from the main ensemble of the four leads, the other characters have little time on screen and don’t offer much other than to advance the plot.
By David Emms