It has been a few weeks since Frozen II opened in cinemas and I’ve finally watched the movie – hurrah!
The film – which has already grossed over $1 billion – is still pulling in audiences and is a big hit for Disney. So, it’s great, right?
Frozen II isn’t amazing, but it isn’t bad either – it is simply OK.
Is that good enough for a film that sits under the banner of a Walt Disney Classic?
To be honest, there are a couple of poor Walt Disney Classics (Home on the Range springs to mind), and it certainly doesn’t fall into this category, but it also doesn’t quite shine like the best films in the collection either. For me, it’s closer to Wreck-It Ralph 2 than it is Aladdin, and that’s a shame – especially considering how much money it is making.
For those who have not watched Frozen II yet, the film focuses on a hidden tale from Arendelle’s past. This tale provides an excuse for Anna and Elsa to embark on an adventure, to sing songs, get into scrapes, and explore Elsa’s ice abilities.
All those hoping to see something similar to Frozen will be pleased to know that all of the iconic characters are back, from Olaf to Oaken the shopkeeper. There’s also a crowd-pleasing song in the form of Into the Unknown, and both the humour and strong visuals are present and correct.
In fact, Frozen II is stunning to look at and highlights some of the best animation this year. The colours pop off the screen and this is easily one of the most visually appealing Disney movies of all-time.
Frozen II does so much right, that I feel bad for saying it’s only “OK”. But I can only give this film a lukewarm recommendation because the story really lets things down.
Frozen II is paper-thin. Disappointingly so.
Sure, there’s a reason for Elsa and Co. to go off on an adventure, and it’s good to find out more about Elsa, but not once during the course of the movie did I feel like I really needed to see this story.
Frozen was a self-contained film, with no real need for a follow-up. I didn’t know why Elsa was born with ice powers, nor did I care – I simply accepted it and, well, I ‘let it go’.
But OK, I accept that some people do want to know Elsa’s secret, so I understand the potential for a sequel. Yet, if a sequel is going into production then I expect a solid story if I am going to revisit Arendelle, and that is missing from this movie.
Where is the character development? Where is the LGBTQ side story for Elsa? Where is the villain (a decent villain)?
What underwhelmed me most about Frozen II is that more time was spent telling me about what happened in the past than what was going on with the core characters in the present. So much so that at one point, the film even found time for a quick recap of the key events from Frozen!
Other than to fill out the running time, was there any need for this? Surely every kid on the planet – certainly the ones wanting to watch Frozen II – already knows what happened in Frozen?!
Frozen was HUGE back in 2013, and for at least a year or two afterwards, so any kid watching Frozen II knows Frozen line-by-line. Don’t believe me? Just ask their parents (who also know the movie line-by-line through osmosis).
So yeah, moments like this felt like filler material. I don’t want filler material, especially not from a Walt Disney Classic.
Walt Disney Classics are largely stand-alone tales and this affords them a certain prestige in the realm of animated movies. Adding a sequel means this sequel also needs to be just as good as the original or it should not be regarded as a ‘Classic’.
Sure, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid have both produced sequels, but these follow-ups have been for the home video market. Perhaps this is the route Frozen II should have taken – and in doing so it would have been one of the best direct-to-video Disney releases, rather than an average ‘Classic’.
*Shrugs shoulders again*
Maybe I’m being too harsh. In the film’s defence, with this being a family movie, the audience I watched this with was fairly noisy and this did distract me at times during the screening.
I could write an entire blog post about what the woman in front of me was doing throughout the movie, so this does suggest I wasn’t quite engaged with the material. But her inability to sit still/remain quiet should not have stopped me from connecting with the film.
OK, Frozen II is a perfectly serviceable movie and looks gorgeous, so if you have kids who loved the first film then they will enjoy this one just as much. There’s enough action, adventure, and laughs to ensure a good time for all and there is a message about tolerance and understanding which is very topical right now.
But for me, Frozen II is kind of pointless and feels as if the film only exists to capitalise on the huge appeal of the first movie. Take away all of the familiar elements and there’s simply not enough meat on the bone.
I would much prefer to watch a new Classic being born, than revisit an old Classic that was perfect as a stand-alone tale. However, due to the film’s box office success, I expect I will be seeing more from Frozen in the coming years so I just hope (the inevitable) Frozen III has more substance.
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