PRO: Flawed but won’t leave you cold – David Mouriquand
In a year that’s given us Dumbo, The Lion King and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, this sequel to the surprisingly successful Frozen is the best of the House of Mouse bunch. While that may sound like damning with faint praise, Anna and Elsa’s second adventure has charm to spare. The plot centres around righting colonialist wrongs of the past, the remnants of which are kept in an enchanted forest, along with a MacGuffin that’s shamelessly magpied from The Fifth Element.
There’s no denying that the story this time around is noticeably weaker, and that no song in Frozen II comes close to matching the earworm credentials of “Let It Go” – even if Moana’s “How Far I’ll Go” remains a far superior showtune. But that’s beside the point. The animation looks great, the tale of empowerment and sisterhood works, and there’s even a Bryan Adams parody at one point that’ll delight older audience members. It won’t melt hearts as much as the first one but there’s no sense in being a grinch about it – it’ll still delight fans of the first, as well as young’uns looking for a trip to the kino over the holiday season.
CON: Chillingly poor – Mark Esper
The original Frozen was a cultural phenomenon. Spawning huge merchandising sales off the back of its catalogue of memorable songs, its sequel has been a veritable ice age in arrival. Now that it’s finally here, it’s well past its sell-by date.
Without either the tunes or the magic of its original premise, Disney’s latest falls off the assembly line into the withering charms of its oldest formula. Animals sing, leaves swirl and Olaf the dancing snowman overcompensates for another bland narrative. Add to this Kristoff’s interminable on-off proposals to Anna, and instead of a story in ‘a land far, far away’, you can’t help feeling you’ve been here before.
Badly showing its age, Disney’s with-a-little-help-from-my-friends template buckles under the weight of post-Pixar expectation. Scrubbed of any individuality, Frozen II becomes The Thing From Another World. Infecting each scene with gleeful mediocrity, Elsa is a frozen Bonnie Tyler holding out for a heroic premise which sadly never comes.
Where there was space on the freezing raft for Jack in Titanic, no such accommodation should be made for Frozen III. Let it go. Please, just let it go.
Frozen II | Directed by Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck (US, 2019), with Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Josh Gad. Starts Nov 20.
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