‘Frozen II’ stays cool

Elsa in Frozen II

“I never want to know a day that’s over 40°. I’d rather have it 30, 20, 10, 5 and let it freeze.” – Snow Miser

What happens after the ever after? Frozen II takes a much better stab at answering that than Disney’s direct to video line of sequels ever did.

While not topping the first – which, given how shocking and revolutionary it was, was probably never a possibility – this entry is a solid continuation of the tale. The splendid animation is only the tip of this iceberg.

We return to the kingdom of Arendelle in 19th century Norway some years from the end of the last movie (if you don’t remember what happened there, don’t worry, there’s a few recaps throughout). Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel) – she of the ice powers where whatever she’ll touch turns to snow in her clutch – is handling things smoothly and lives with sister Anna (Kristen Bell), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Sven the reindeer, and Olaf the snowman (Josh Gad).  

But Elsa soon discovers that she has developed a psychic link to a supernatural entity, one that is calling her forward for some unknown purpose. She sets out with her castlemates to get to the bottom of the mystery. During the course of the investigation, they wind up in a land that was magically sealed off from the rest of the world and encounter two feuding factions that have a connection to the kingdom’s history.

While it would have been easy to retread the original by having some other misunderstanding between the sisters cause conflict and essentially reset the character development back to square one, this movie builds off of the lessons they learned and advances their states. Both are taken in new directions that show sides to them that weren’t explored before. There’s also one heck of an “all is lost” moment that ranks up with some of the best there are.

That said, the script is dodgy in places. A number of lines do not at all fit the time period and/or tone (“Papa, that was epic!”), coming across as absurd. There’s a big reveal about the sisters that might have sounded good on paper, but in application just leads to a huge can of worms. Also, where the characters end up might not be to everyone’s liking, but who knows what Frozen III will do?

Now the songs. They do the job very well in conveying what they need to. No, nothing as surprisingly effective as “Let It Go” or “For the First Time in Forever” is here. To be fair though, the first had a couple forgettable numbers that these are improvements over. As always, the singing is terrific.

Frozen II is for anyone who just wants to chill out. I wouldn’t brave a raging blizzard to get there, but it’s nevertheless a worthwhile view for Disney fans and families. 

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