Frozen II (2019)

“You’re gonna have to do this next part on your own.”

Similar to many follow-ups to global successes such alike the 2013 original, Frozen II goes for broke by implementing one thing after another after another. The story is thicker, the world more populated, the sentiments more dense. It’s a convoluted film even for adults, and while it has the best intentions and sports some revolutionary visuals, Frozen II can’t quite match the heights of its (in my opinion vastly over-rated) predecessor. The warmth of the picture isn’t matched by the cold and confusing script or the mostly dull songs.

Undeniably cute from the start, the movie opens up on the two sisters as children, playing in their room until their father King Agnarr (Alfred Molina) sits them down for a late night story. He recounts how King Renuard (Jeremy Sisto), his own late father, once established a treaty with the Northuldra tribe in their home the Enchanted Forest. It’s a place where all the elements of Mother Nature are there to help the land and the people prosper, so long as peace is maintained. A battle erupts, the spirits create a wall of mist, and those inside remain trapped until the film picks up later on, three years after the events of the previous picture.

Queen Elsa’s (Idina Menzel) time atop the throne of Arendelle seems prosperous and calm until she hears a melodic calling out to her. Anna (Kristen Bell) supports her sister, walks the streets with Olaf (Josh Gad) and Sven, and unintentionally thwarts just about every proposal opportunity for Kristoff (Jonathan Groff). As you could probably guess , the group eventually treks into the mist, hoping to find the source of the voice, to right some wrongs, and to discover the truth of their past. Frozen II is definitely a darker, more ambitious film than the first installment, which seems to have made it less memorable and intimate. The new locations are lavish and the fresh faces liven things up with a few laughs, but they also take time away from the central characters so many have come to love. There’s simply too much going on.

I hate to be so critical of something that countless people poured years of their life into. So on that front, I will say Frozen II once again packs a wonderful story full of themes centered around self-acceptance, humility, and how we must treat others the way we’d like to be treated. The movie has a great message of empathy, both for children and adults. However, it’s all slowed down by far too much empty, senseless plot. Frozen II is without a doubt the best looking animated film I’ve seen this year (a great sequence with Elsa using her powers to battle against strong waters is visually stunning), yet the movie stirs up so much chaos and adds so many forgettable characters that the ice never gets a chance to firm up. Frozen II doesn’t crash through to the freezing waters below, but the spiderwebs on the surface show that the film exited the rink just barely in the nick of time.

“Fear is what can’t be trusted.”

Rating: 3 out of 5

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