The magic comes from perniciously catchy songs, quirky comedy and a refreshingly feminist duo of princesses. While the long-awaited Frozen sequel sets out to follow the same formula, it’s all a bit defrosted five years later.
Frozen 2 begins after the Happily Ever After. Queen Elsa, once again given vocal clout by Broadway star Idina Menzel, is ruling the kingdom of Arendelle. Her younger sister Anna (voiced by a peppy Kristen Bell) is loved-up with ice seller Kristoff. And everyone’s favourite talking snowman Olaf is having an existential crisis about growing up.
But then mysterious sounds and strange forces of nature lead the Queen and her cohort to a long-forgotten enchanted forest and a journey of self-discovery.
The story that follows is an ode to the natural world, a family mystery and an exploration of colonial injustices. Younger viewers will fall in love with the new cast of magical creatures, from a glittering water horse to an impossibly cute fiery lizard. And there’s excitement and adventure, brought to life with shimmering animation. But the ideas behind it all feel increasingly slushy, as Frozen 2 lacks the clarity of plot and fairy-tale crispness of its predecessor (which was loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen).
It’s the songs that thaw your heart. Songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez return with seven new songs that elevate the film from humdrum to heart-warming. If anything can match the ubiquity of Let it Go it will be soaring power ballad Into the Unknown, which channels the same emotive empowerment and makes brilliant use of Menzel’s almighty voice. But we also enjoyed the playful boyband vibes of Kristoff’s anguished Lost in the Woods and the wry comedy of Olaf singing about how all will make sense When I am Older.
When the inevitable happy ending rolls around it’s hard not to be charmed. This sequel doesn’t have the icy freshness of its original and the cynical among us will dismiss it as a cash cow. But there's no doubt kids will still love it – and accompanying adults will find enough sweetness and laughter to brighten winter days.
Frozen 2 is in cinemas from Friday 22 November
|What||Frozen 2 review|
22 Nov 19 – 22 Nov 20, Times Vary
|Price||£ determined by cinemas|
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