Frozen 2 Movie Review: Great VFX and music almost save this unnecessary sequel
A mediocre product that relies on the fame of its predecessor
After 57 animated films from Walt Disney, you know by now the rules that govern Disney characters. The principal characters almost never die, there will be songs on the importance of positivity in life, and of course, a happy ending. The studio giant's 58th film, Frozen 2, too, is restricted by these stipulations.
A few years after the events of the first film, the city of Arendelle has become accustomed to Elsa (Idina Menzel). Everything is calm and serene until, to bring in the much-needed reason for a sequel, the ice princess hears a strange sound from the north calling her. And of course, she sets off on another adventure with her clan -- her sister, Anna (Kristen Bell), Anna's boyfriend Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his super-smart reindeer Sven and the sentient snowman, Olaf (Josh Gad).
Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Cast: Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad
Despite the entire premise feeling extremely forced, I quite liked how it gets incorporated into the world of the two sisters. The film relies on the age-old plot of natural elements -- fire, water, earth and wind, but the manner in which it's done is enthralling. They are symbolically depicted as four diamond-shaped elements and with the fifth secret element, which is revealed in the end (but you would've easily guessed it earlier), it forms the shape of a snowflake, the basic atom of Elsa's magic power. The way these atoms are physically represented -- water takes the shape of a horse, Earth is a giant akin to King Kong, wind is a bunch of fallen autumn leaves and fire is a cute little gecko with fire coming from its body similar to the fire pokemon Cyndaquil -- is a lovely touch.
The representation also gives ample space for the makers to show the prowess of the terrific VFX visuals. Compared to the original which came out six years ago, the colours are more vibrant here. Similar to the detailing in the mane of the lions in this year's The Lion King, shots of the fur of the reindeers and the ice crystals which fill up the sky in one particular scene fill up this visual extravaganza. While on the writers, though there is little novelty this film has to offer, it hasn't stopped them from bringing in elements such as the iced horse at the end of the film as a callback to The Snow Queen fairy tale based on which the Frozen franchise was created. The soundtrack, composed by Christophe Beck, who also handled the music for the original film, is fabulous. The songs are a bit of a hindrance, but still makeup for the simple plot that's stretched to its limit in order to fill up the runtime of a little over 100 minutes.
The disappointment is in how the basic story and the characters fit into this world. While Elsa is clearly the star of the show, Anna's one-dimensional character has nothing to do but keep reminding the former on how unsafe she is without her. It gets annoying after a point of time, considering Anna is a mortal, compared to the powerful Elsa. Kristoff too doesn't have much to do here apart from trying to ask for Anna's hand. Interestingly, it's the non-human characters, Sven and Olaf, who entertain us the most. Olaf single-handedly takes charge of the film's fun quotient. The scene where he recaps the happenings of Frozen to the occupants of the enchanted forest is the best sequence in the entire film.
On the whole, Frozen 2 is a mediocre product that relies on the fame of its predecessor. Though the technical mastery does a decent job of making us forget the flaws, it is impossible to think if that's all they had to offer. Perhaps Disney would be better advised to concentrate on original content instead of on padding up with sequels.