Watching a movie sequel is like revisiting a good friend after many years of long distance. The yearning for the “good old days” may get offset by new wrinkles, but the warm feeling of familiarity prevails. Frozen 2’s musical prowess isn’t as memorable as its trailblazing predecessor, but the fondness for its characters couldn’t be any stronger.
I left the theatre gratified in knowing more about the Anna and Elsa sisterhood, their permafrost-basking bud, Olaf, and, of course, huggable Kristoff and Sven.
These are good, Disney-fashioned characters who possess quirks and flaws that make us laugh as much as care.
As with most sequels to any blockbuster original, things get a little darker and more adventuresome the second time around. Exposition gets the upper hand over character development because, well, our characters did most of their developing in the first movie. Instead of the fear vs. love theme in the original Frozen, Frozen 2 introduces obstacles in nature, mysticism, and a feud between two communities in an enchanted forest.
Some of it works, some of it comes off contrived, but the ambition is there. If anything, the makers of this long-prepared sequel want to instill the notion of “doing the next right thing,” and Kristen Bell’s Anna sings this message loud and clear in probably the most endearing song of the movie.
Idina Menzel belts her Elsa to glory once again – this time with the song, “Into the Unknown,” which is basically the new “Let It Go” with echoes of the effective “ah” motif in The Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind” (I’m fine with being the only person to make this comparison). Josh Gad’s Olaf steals the laughs with a hilarious reenactment of the events in the original, but Jonathan Groff’s Kristoff steals the show with an 80s MTV video parody of the song, “Lost in the Woods.” (The cheesiness is goofy for the kids to enjoy and nostalgic for the parents to be embarrassed by.)
The music rings truer and catchier than the newbies in the recent Mary Poppins Returns, but they still fall short to the quality and quantity of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” “For the First Time in Forever,” “Love Is an Open Door,” “In Summer,” and, of course, “Let It Go.” Gosh, the original was really good, wasn’t it?
Frozen 2’s strongest feature is the animation. The animation is pristine. I have never seen such realistic digital water, and without giving away any spoilers, water plays an important role in the movie.
Long movie review short, I got to see my old friends in the movie theatre. They have aged a bit, and they weren’t given megahits to sing like last time, but their charm is everlasting. They made me smile and laugh and escape, and that’s exactly why I go to the movies in the first place.
Frozen 2 ***1/2 out of *****