A sequel of epic moments that doesn’t string together to be anything more than it is – a series of moments. Beautiful animation aside, the peaks are high but the valleys are deep. Kids will undoubtedly enjoy, but I would wait for the Tuesday cheap tickets.
I miss the trailer.
Elsa running into the ocean, the driving music, the sweeping landscape shots. It felt something akin to the Lord of the Rings. A group of friends, a fellowship, set out on some mysterious and epic adventure.
Instead, Frozen II is…well, Frozen. Again. Go figure.
Its greatest sin is the necessity of continuity. You can’t upset the status quo because merchandising (most of all) won’t allow that. Risks are unearned, and therefore unreal.
While too many helpings of fanservice is often the sequel killer, in this case it is formula-service, per se. Here, have a song. Now have another one. Does it push the film forward, does it serve the larger tone? No. But this Frozen, and moreso than Moana or Tangled, Frozen is their musical movie. So have another song.
And so we have a competition. In one corner, a movie that wants to change, to grow, to risk. In the other, a movie that is safe enough to not offend anyone into not buying stuff.
None of this is to say the entire project is “bad”. The animation is breathtaking, and I suspect warrants a watch in 3D on a nice screen if you can find one (I will be seeking out a second watch for this very reason).
The songs, barring a few standouts, were fine. The score was something else entirely, integrating in some fascinating musical traditions.
In those moments when Frozen II sings (pun intended I will not apologize), it really sings. Uses of negative space and minimal light, Elsa’s design, the score’s integration with a building moment. It works.
But those moments are not enough to cover for too-shallow storytelling. Moments that happen because they need to happen, not because they have organically grown to occur.
That salamander is really cute though.
Why was Elsa born with magical powers? The answer is calling her and threatening her kingdom. Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, she’ll set out on a dangerous but remarkable journey. In “Frozen,” Elsa feared her powers were too much for the world. In “Frozen 2,” she must hope they are enough.