Length: 103 minutes / 1.72 hours
After the cultural phenomenon that was Frozen (2013) had cooled off a little, a sequel was an inevitable conclusion. The trouble with such sequels is multi-faceted: how do you recapture the magic of the first movie while also creating something new that advances the story? Unfortunately, Frozen II (2019) falls into the trap of focusing on what made the first so successful that it almost feels like it’s mimicking its origins. To top it off, the new elements introduced in this film are either predictable plot points or over-done tropes. But hey, it’s Disney, and it looks absolutely gorgeous, even if some of the main characters seemed slightly more exaggerated in their presentation (perhaps starting to edge closer to the uncanny valley).
While the songs all hit similar beats to their predecessors, most of them seem to fall short or were emphasized in the wrong places. Case in point, I found “Show Yourself” to be a stronger corollary to “Let it Go” than “Into the Unknown” was. Although, I did find “When I Am Older” to be pretty funny and the rock-ballad “Lost in the Woods” to be hilarious, if for no other reason than it doesn’t fit the fantasy aesthetic. Don’t get me wrong, the songs are all still catchy, but a lot of them didn’t seem to serve narrative purposes that were as strong as before.
I did appreciate the new character of the fire salamander (and the mythological ties it has), as he was a cute addition. Similarly, being able to address the themes of grief and depression was a little out of left field, but handled well. In fact, there were a lot of plot points that just sprung out of nowhere without much explanation. This was a shame considering how well this film expanded the backstory from the first movie. I almost see this film as the second half of Frozen, as if there were an intermission between the two, and they’re both just part of a larger movie.
Plenty of the same beats as last time, but with a new coat of paint, I give Frozen II 3.5 stars out of 5.