Title: Frozen II
Release Date: November 22, 2019
Director: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures | Walt Disney Animation Studios
The sequel to 2013’s extremely-popular Frozen, picks up some loose threads from its predecessor such as Anna and Elsa’s parents’ story and the origin of Elsa’s powers. Elsa (Idina Menzel) is now comfortable with her magic, but uncertain if ruling as Queen of Arendelle is her destiny. Anna (Kristen Bell) remains so concerned for Elsa’s well-being that she ignores her own pursuits. Meanwhile, Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) just wants to find the right opportunity to propose marriage to Anna. And the sentient snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) is learning about the world much like a child. He is also once again the movie’s comedy MVP with his many whimsical quips.
Wisely, though, Frozen II is a stand-alone story that is more of a true fantasy adventure than its fairy tale predecessor. When the elemental spirits of Air, Water, Fire, and Earth drive the people of Arendelle from their city, Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and the reindeer Sven must travel north to an Enchanted Forest that has been trapped in mists since the time of Elsa and Anna’s grandfather. There they meet the Northuldra, a people inspired by the Sámi, much as Arendelle is a fictionalized Norwegian town. Together they must work to solve the mystery of the elemental spirits before they are all destroyed.
The movie is a great adventure, with good subplots for all the lead characters. The animation is absolutely gorgeous especially the depictions of the autumnal Enchanted Forest. The music is good in that it serves the movie, although I don’t think anything stands on its own the way it did in Frozen. At least I haven’t heard thousands of kids singing “Into the Unknown” the way they did “Let it Go.” My favorite song is Anna’s “The Next Right Thing,” because it’s lyrics offer a great philosophy and it’s performed in one the movie’s most emotionally powerful scenes. At the other end of the spectrum is Kristoff’s power ballad “Lost in the Woods” which is filmed as if Kristoff and a group of reindeer were in a 1990s boy band music video. I’m not sure if I was supposed to be laughing.
Frozen II falls short of being as good as the original, but it is good enough to justify existence as much more than just a cash grab. It’s definitely worth watching if enjoy emotionally-packed fantasy adventure with musical interludes.