'Frozen II' is a worthy sequel with breathtaking animation and a song as catchy as 'Let It Go'
- "Frozen II" is visually stunning and features some great songs, including one that will be as addictive as "Let It Go" from the first movie.
- Though the sequel is guilty of repeating some of the hallmarks from the first movie, its strength is how it once more preaches individuality.
- The US box office, which has endured a string of flops since "Joker," badly needs a movie like this to hit theaters.
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Six years after Walt Disney Animation Studios released the generation-defining movie "Frozen," the sequel is here and lives up to the incredibly large hype that's surrounding it.
Elsa (Idina Menzel), Anna (Kristen Bell), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), and Olaf (Josh Gad) all return for "Frozen II" (opening in theaters November 22), which takes place three years after the events of the first movie.
Things are peaceful in Arendelle as the fall season has begun to hit the kingdom. Kristoff and Anna are trying to get their footing as a couple, which makes Kristoff's plans to propose marriage to her all the more challenging. And Olaf is still soaking in that warm sun. But for Elsa, there's something going on that only she seems to notice. Only she can hear a recurring sound coming from the north. It sounds like a woman singing a high note. Then one evening a fierce wind storm blows through Arendelle, which frightens everyone and makes the trolls fear that the kingdom could be in danger. This motivates Elsa, Anna, Kristoff (with Sven), and Olaf to set out to the north to figure out what was the cause of the storm - and also find the origin of that sound Elsa keeps hearing.
All of this is needed for the story to move forward, but it's the dullest part of the movie.
There are a couple of fun jokes and songs at this point, but "Frozen II" hits its groove when the gang finds the enchanted forest that will bring the answers they are seeking. As often happens in a sequel, the lead characters eventually split up and have to embark on their own journeys. And that's when the movie really becomes great.
In one sequence, Elsa wrangles a horse made of water and rides it over waves. It's stunning to watch. Then there's her solo song, "Into the Unknown," which is "Let It Go"-level addictive. It's another hit from songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who wrote "Let It Go" for the first "Frozen" and "Remember Me" for "Coco" (both won Oscars for best original song).
"Frozen II" has more musical numbers than the first movie, and there's nothing wrong with that, as most are well done and don't pull you out of the story. And then there's the animation itself, which is elevated from the first movie. The style is still the same from the first, but little things like facial expressions and picture sharpness are advanced.
Does the sequel try to capitalize on inside jokes and themes from the first movie? Absolutely. Its major flaw is that it thinks it has to remind the audience that there was a previous movie. But there's one thing "Frozen II" doubles down on from the first and I'm happy it did: its firm stance on individuality.
Like we know from the first movie, Anna - and especially Elsa - don't need anyone to lean on. They are driven by their own wants and needs. But the movie's directors, Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee (who also made "Frozen"), really drive that home even more in the sequel. They are clearly aware the power this movie has on young people, especially young women and LGBTQIA+, and are using it to make the point that in life you can go out and make your own path regardless what anyone else thinks (or wants).
It can't be understated how badly the domestic box office needs a movie like this to hit theaters. Since the incredible success of "Joker," there has been one dull release after another. Disney once more needs to come to the rescue to get us out of a box office funk.
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