A Little Cold, by Barnabas Prontnicki

20 Nov

It’s fun to be back with all the familiar faces we met in Frozen, only this time, it’s not winter; it’s fall. And with a sequel comes new possibilities. While I respect that Frozen II tries to do something different and fresh from the original, it overall fails to match its predecessor.

Frozen II welcomes some new voices, including Evan Rachel Wood and Sterling K. Brown. And, of course, we enjoy watching Disney explore a love between two sisters, rather than of a princess who can only be rescued by a dashing prince. In a darker-toned sequel, it’s nice to have the comic relief of Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf.

Our journey starts when Elsa begins to hear a song that no one else can hear. Spirits have put Arendelle in danger, and Elsa sets off to discover who is calling her and what needs to be done to protect her city. She and her sister are brought to an enchanted forest, where they learn more about the spirits, their past, and what must be done to save their beloved city.

Perhaps my favorite part of the film is Kristen Bell’s raw and powerful performance of “The Next Right Thing”, which shows us how dark and lonely and hopeless we can feel, in a way that I haven’t seen a Disney movie do, possibly ever. Anna sings, “I’ve seen dark before, but not like this” and “Hello, Darkness, I’m ready to succumb.” Even if you don’t see the movie, give that song a listen.

The first act is not short of fun energy, goofy songs, and laugh out loud one liners. From Olaf’s declaration that charades is more fun because he finally learned how read, to a mock 80’s music video of Kristoff singing, “Lost in the Woods,” there’s an overall feeling of excitement for where Frozen II might go.

But after a while, I started asking myself when the action would start. And before I knew it, I found myself less and less interested in the movie, and even confused. The movie loses most of the steam it had. It’s even hard to recollect all the various subplots of the movie just a day or two after viewing.

And there’s no song that captivates you; no song that you find yourself singing days later. The characters kind of sing-talk their way through situations, and don’t leave us with a rememberable “Let It Go” or “Love Is An Open Door” type song. Although, the music is well crafted and may be better appreciated on its on, more so than during the film.

As much as Frozen II did try to be different from the original and subvert our expectations, its specific plot failed that in a big way. As it turns out, Elsa and Anna’s grandfather was a traitor to the natives, and betrayed his word to help them. It sounds all too familiar, reminding American viewers of our own country’s troubled past. Not particularly original. It’s just been done before. I was hoping the filmmakers would subvert my expectations here, and go deeper than a predictable allegory, but they did nothing of the sort.

Additionally, there is too much unexplained magic in Frozen II. Too many strange things like… a fire lizard? Is that what that was? And the stuff that is explained is done through expository dialogue, rather than showing us on screen through action. There’s too much that we don’t know until the moment is passed.

As of today, Rotten Tomatoes gives the movie 82%. I’m curious to see what the Audience score will be. I can’t imagine it topping that, but I am curious to see if there will be a wide range of opinions on the film. While not a waste of time by any means, don’t expect to feel the way you did after the original. 

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