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  Frozen II It Let Go
Year: 2019
Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Stars: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Martha Plimpton, Jason Ritter, Rachel Matthews, Jeremy Sisto, Ciarán Hinds, Alan Tudyk, Hadley Gannaway, Mattea Conforti, Aurora Aksnes
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Animated, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Some years ago, in the kingdom of Arendelle, the two princesses were little girls who liked to play together, but one night as it was nearing bedtime they wondered about their parents' origins and asked them about it. The King told them a story of what had happened when he was a boy, and visited the neighbouring kingdom where magic was the norm; it seemed peace between the two nations was a given, but on a diplomatic mission, the King, then a prince, was distracted by a wind sprite and when he turned back, the soldiers of each were locked in battle to the death. He managed to escape, but aside from a dam they built as a gesture of apparent goodwill, that was it.

As every animation that makes even a marginal profit gets a sequel in the twenty-first century, considering Frozen's utter domination of the box office and home entertainment realms in 2013 and indeed for years afterwards, it was only natural Disney would make another instalment. That first Frozen film was a genuine, happy surprise, a fairy tale in the studio's traditional style that nevertheless felt relevant and entertaining in a very modern manner, with a good score, winning animation and most importantly, the characters transcended their archetypes to take flight in the imaginations of millions across the world, be they little kids or viewers of any older age, really.

But what of Frozen II, how did it stand up? Obviously, it guaranteed a built-in audience, and they certainly did not let Disney down, flocking to this and seeing the younger fans watching it over and over much as they had the initial instalment. However, there were grumbles that while the animation was well up to the expected standard, very little else was, as considering it had taken six years to make, it was disappointingly scrappy otherwise, taking the original's Hans Christian Andersen source and ignoring it in favour of something more reminiscent of eighties live action fantasy cult movies The Neverending Story or The Princess Bride, only less cohesive overall.

It was essentially a quest tale we were offered here, which was all very well but precisely what the characters were questing for remained somewhat difficult to discern, looking for all the world as if Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) and her non-magical sister Anna (Kristen Bell) were competing in a computer game to pick up icons for points as if this was a supersized, distaff game of Super Mario Bros. Those icons were representative of the elements - fire, water, air and earth - and a fifth's discovery was the point of the plot, which somehow tied in with the deaths of the ladies' parents and the conspiracy behind what had actually happened to Arendelle's neighbours, but where the original hit upon a formula that generated an instant classic, if they had started with this one it's doubtful a sequel would ever have happened.

It was not a dead loss, some of the jokes were pretty funny, the character design was strong and the voice cast enthusiastic and distinctive to add personality to what otherwise looked a shade too corporate, as if this was taking place in some fenced off part of Disney World, but crucially there was no song to rival Let It Go. All the tunes were much of a muchness, with nothing truly standing out for any great length of time, and lacking the circumstances that would have elevated them as that big melody did for the first Frozen. There were a few monsters, though the rock giants resembled, well, Rockbiter from The Neverending Story, and a superhero air to proceedings were indicating that this was a follower now, not a leader, and not only the follower of a far more accomplished movie either. While the first was a work that you can see the youngest fans would look back on and not be embarrassed liking in the slightest, it was more of a problem to imagine anyone seeing this as a childhood favourite standing up years later. Music by Christophe Beck.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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