Wait until you can stream it…
Another sequel snowed under the high quality of the original. The original Frozen was so memorable, in fact, that the sequel seems desperate to rehash elements, rather than remember to tell its own story. The songs and goofy humour have not melted away just yet, and the cast do not let the side down, but the snow feels a lot less fresh, turning into more of slush.
To be fair, the animation has improved over the last six years. The animation is a rainbow of creativity and magic. The animators have captured the beauty of autumn. A particularly impressive element of the CGI in this film: how water is rendered. The characters, particularly Elsa (Idina Menzel), have also been designed to the highest standard, and rendered so that the film looks crisp and well put together.
Most sequels can say that they look better than the original, though; like most sequels, Frozen II falls short in other regards. Like the original, Robert Lopez return and Kristen Anderson-Lopez deliver the songs. However, there is no “Let It Go” to get stuck in your head this time. The songs are much more forgettable and far less catchy. It is not just the songs that have got worse. Despite Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee returning to direct, the narrative has lost its drive. The film meanders through its obligatory existence. Anna’s desire to bring her sister home has been swapped for Elsa’s lethargic curiosity about her past. Whilst the fun and energetic humour has not disappeared, this is not enough to justify the existence of a sequel. Grasping to good story is essential. Alas, Buck and Lee let it go.
What makes this worse is the fact the original is rehashed so heavily. Olaf acts out a brief summary at one point. Elsa goes to a cave to literally rehear dialogue from the first film. There is another quest to go on too, as you would expect. Sequels are often worse than the original. If you are going to disappoint, though, at least deliver a more filling plot not so reliant on remembering the original.
Disney rarely releases theatrical sequels to their animated films. If you have ever wondered why most Disney classics have Direct to Video sequels, Frozen II is your answer. The humour and the songs are there, but the season for magic and wonder (and good plotting) has passed.