Frozen 2 Review: Spark of Magic, But Should Disney Let It Go?

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Early in Frozen 2 – the sequel to the 2013 Disney cartoon – one of the two leading actors sings in Elsa (Idina Menzel): “I had my adventure, I don't need anything new. I'm afraid of what I risk if I follow you. "These lyrics are part of" Into the Unknown ", a wordless performance solo for Norwegian singer Aurora that comes closest to the success of" Let It Go "", but can also be read as an indication of the film's existence , Aside from the fact that the original earned over a billion dollars when it was released and became the biggest cartoon of all time, why did Disney make Frozen 2? And is there a greater purpose than simply refueling Disney's merchandising efforts?

The short, simple answer: not really. The original Frozen adopted fairytale conventions – including a gullible Anna (Kristen Bell), who quickly fell in love with Hans, who turned out to be not a "Prince Charming" but a villain – and gave them a modern twist. What made it even more interesting was that Disney itself was responsible for most of these fairy tales. It almost felt like the studio was laughing at its own expense. Nearly. And others thought "Let It Go" was LGBT-friendly, which prompted fans to speculate whether Elsa would be Disney's first lesbian princess. But Frozen 2 neither defies fairy tales nor continues with Elsa's unexplored sexuality. It's safe.

That doesn't mean Frozen 2 – from returning directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee who worked on a Lee screenplay – has nothing to say. While the new issues related to environmental protection, indigenous peoples, historical mistakes and supportive male partners are important in themselves, they are not implemented with the conviction and style of the original from 2013. His message lacks the emotional resonance that makes Frozen's heart, and ultimately it feels half-hearted. Frozen 2 is more mature and is aimed at children who grew up with the first child. That means parents are likely to need more explanations for the younger children, as it seemed at the premiere in India.

Frozen 2 begins by looking back at Elsa and Anna's childhood, where their parents – King Agnarr (Alfred Molina) and Queen Iduna (Evan Rachel Wood) – essentially built the building blocks of the sequel, being an enchanted forest acted in an envelope of impenetrable fog after the four forest spirits became angry for unclear reasons. Thirty-four years later and just over three years after the events of the original film, everything is fine and in order in the Kingdom of Arendelle. As further proof, the cast shows how "some things never change". Except that Elsa is drawn to a mysterious voice that only she can hear. This is all the more tempting since the queen's title was never really her real desire.

In her attempts to reach over a song – this is where “Into the Unknown” comes into play – Elsa accidentally wakes up the enchanted forest spirits, which in turn trigger her anger at Arendelle and drive her people out of a home. Now Elsa has no choice but to travel north towards the said forest. Anna protests because she is worried about her sister, but she – and her boyfriend Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his reindeer Sven, and the talking snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) – finally come along. This is where Frozen 2 really gets going and the creators are given the opportunity to present new locations and magical elements by using the variety of colors of autumn, Nordic folklore and salamanders to bring them to life.

Narratively, Frozen 2 is fairly predictable, either because it suggests too much or because its phrases are not original at all. And when it comes to closing gaps and answering questions that have been asked, it will finally think again about what has already been done in the first film: family ties. It doesn't know how to add to what was before, so it can't provide the character growth that needs to be continued. The more interesting family thread deals with the sins of the past. His message is progressive as it should be, but the need for a happy ending is in the way. Other characters also suffer. Kristoff has no role in the plot, which is why he is excluded halfway from Frozen 2 and Olaf's concerns about growing up are never brought home.

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Anna and Olaf in Frozen 2
Photo credit: Disney

What it's worth, these two – Olaf and Kristoff – are responsible for some of the biggest laughs in Frozen 2. () While most of Olaf's comedies are likely to be too flashy for adults, a standout moment for Gad is his breathless repetition of events of the original. As for confident humor, Elsa admits that she can't stand “Let It Go” either, the next Frozen 2 is a fourth moment of the wall breaking. The highlight at Kristoff is “Lost in the Woods”, a power ballad that channels 80s glam rock and is filled with every music video cliché you can dream of. It's deliberately cheesy and cheesy, and it's a cry.

However, these delightful scenes are not enough to produce a sequel that is simply not as inspired in either way as the original: the story or the songs. (Wife-husband duo Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez return as songwriters, and this time they also played a role in the former.) Sure, Frozen 2 had bigger boots to fill because nobody at Disney had expected Frozen becomes the hit it did. But director Buck and director Lee are unable to spin a new yarn that has the same stamina as Olaf in permafrost. In the end, it's a film that has a lot to show but little to say, a common criticism for films trying to make money today.

If Frozen 2 brings in a billion dollars because of the success of the original, Disney will undoubtedly want a third contribution somewhere down the line. But – to say it with Elsa – I've had my adventure and I'm afraid of what Disney risks if it follows the money.

Frozen 2 will be released on November 22nd in cinemas in India in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu,