Frozen II

 

                The problem with making a much-beloved classic, like “Frozen,” is how difficult it is to duplicate the magic in a sequel.  Unfortunately, “Frozen II” is not as great as the original.  That’s not to say it’s a bad movie, or that they didn’t try to be equally as creative and charming.  But somehow it just doesn’t hold together as well, and fails to sustain a discernible plot. 

                “On the bright side,” as the lovable snowman character Olaf (Josh Gad) likes to say, the singing is really first-rate.  Kristen Bell reprises her role as Anna, the Ice Queen.  She possesses a magic power that enables her to instantly make ice come out of her hands.  It’s handy when you want to traverse the frozen tundra on a slick conveyance, but doesn’t help much indoors.  The thing about her personality is that she’d rather be outside, anyway, and would really rather be the Queen of the Forest, rather than reside in a castle and carry on the business of presiding over the realm of Arendelle.  Her little sister, Elsa (Idina Menzel) just wants for her big sister to quit disappearing on her, even if she is, literally, hearing the siren call of the wild.

                Elsa is concerned enough about her sister that she seems oblivious to the attentions of Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), who’s been looking for an opportunity to propose, but keeps messing up his introduction, then she gets distracted, and the right moment passes by again.  His stumblebum manner in this sequel undermines his much stronger character in the original.  He’s what passes for the handsome prince in this female-centric tale that’s all about the princesses finding their true calling.

                The quest journey is a bit confusing---is it a frozen underground cavern, a forest with a thick mist, or a raging ocean?----well, maybe it’s all three, but maybe the biggest loss along the way is the disappearance of Olaf, who says that his magic is fading.  Well, he said it.  Though the singing voices are still there, the songs are forgettable.  The attempts at charm seem fewer and farther between.  Though the scenery is gorgeous, there’s not enough clarity of plot to maintain the viewer’s focus, especially younger children who aren’t necessarily acquainted with the original characters, anyway. 

                “Frozen II” isn’t awful.  But it isn’t great, either.  Sequels are never easy, especially when the original has become an animated classic.

 

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association