Run Time: 1 hr 43 min
What’s it about? The sequel to the 2013 global phenomenon, Frozen 2 returns to Arendelle as Anna, Else, Sfen, Kristoff, and Olaf embark on a new adventure to “into the unknown” to save Arendelle from a magical forest.
The Skinny: This movie is exactly what you would expect it to be and for some, what you hoped it would be. The animation is stunning and the characters that we have come to love are back and as delightful as ever. My major contention with this film is that the music, although good, is not as memorable as the first film (which to be fair, writing songs as engaging as those in the first film would be an incredible feat. Robert and Kristen Anderson-Lopez are truly modern geniuses and have won 2 Oscars for their filmic work alone) Additionally, the plot is simultaneously thin, predictable, and confusing. Without spoiling anything, there is a “natural force” in the movie that never fully gets explained. In addition, unlike the first film when Hans turns out to be the villain, there are not fun plot twists like this in the sequel. There are revelations that ultimately make up a tidy plot, but the story's progression is fairly obvious. In essence, I left thinking, ok that was good, not great.
Lastly, this film remains highly reliant on the first in that there are multiple plot sequences that exist exclusively to rehash the plot of the first. Though enjoyable at times, it feels somewhat cheap and almost revealing that this story isn’t as satisfying as the original incarnation.Not to compare apples to oranges, but there have been sequels that truly expand the universe of the characters we already love. I think about Shrek 2, Cars 2, and all 3 installations of How to Train Your Dragon as examples of when this was achieved.
Side bar: if you recently viewed Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, you will experience some oddly parallel plot points
GO IF: You have small children or are looking for a family outing that involves small children
GO IF: You enjoyed the first one and you want to see more
GO IF: You want to see some stunning animation
Josh Gad is the true standout. Being the jester in the bunch his part would naturally make him shine, but truly his work in this film is magnificent. Kristen Bell is also as delightfully bright and zany as ever!
Into the Unknown is the one song from this film that I found undeniably wonderful. It’s featured in the second trailer and is covered by Panic! At the Disco. This song fills you with the same jubilation that was achieved with most of the first film.
The cinematography is stunning. There are some truly epic shots that will take your breath away and deserve to be seen on the big screen before they are stowed away for years on Disney+.
THE LESS GREAT
As I said previously, the music in this film is simply not as memorable,
The lack of antagonist, which is hard to explain without spoiling the entire movie, is a main reason I left feeling slightly less than fulfilled. Yes, Frozen is a story of women vs nature and women vs. self, but even so, this quest for knowledge lacks the urgency present in the first film.
THE CULTURAL IMPACT
This movie is in many ways a command performance at the movies. The movie made $127 million domestically in its opening weekend for a $350 million global total. This film has definite potential to be the 6th Disney film to make $1 billion in 2019 (Captain Marvel, Avenger’s Endgame, Toy Story 4, Aladdin, The Lion King) which is truly amazing. Frozen was a global phenomenon and naturally so will be its sequel.
I just want to say, I'm not trying to rip it apart for criticism's sake. I went in hoping to absolutely love it.