Frozen 2 Review: Delightful Disney
Rating – PG
Director – Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Cast – Evan Rachel Wood, Kristen Bell, Sterling K. Brown
Our resident film fanatic and boomer dad CHARLES JAMESON found Frozen 2, despite its sequel status, to be pretty much perfect in every way.
I’ve not watched many movies this year. But those I did see have been, well, friggin’ disappointing. Crappy. Or ‘okay,’ but mediocre; forgettable (Marvel stuff). But check out this Frozen 2 review. I saw this movie a day ago. In 3D. On a massive IMAX screen.
And I can sum it up in one long-winded and incomprehensible word:
I saw Toy Story 4 in June, around my birthday. Also in 3D at IMAX. I had high hopes.
But shit it was depressing.
Awful. Flat as a pancake steamrolled to 0.00001mm thick. Woody was this worn-out has-been, with very little to offer. And the whole thing just didn’t gel or resonate. It just seemed like a dormant, flaky and lame afterthought (yeah, like Terminator: Dark Fate) written in an afternoon or two. And it was dominated by about five main characters. Leaving most of the fun Toy Story gang redundant; extras stuck in a vehicle. Unlike the magnificent Toy Story 3.
Frozen 2 (aka Frozen II) restores my faith in Hollywood movie-making and Disney in particular. It is very like Toy Story 3 in terms of quality, direction, shadow and light, storytelling and audience engagement. It has evolved from the original Frozen in a meaningful and not just a token way. Dialogue, plot and emotion are focused and stronger than ever.
Every scene, every word is spot on. Concise, emotionally engaging and beautifully executed. Nothing wasted. No dull moments. No scenes that don’t work, or make no sense; that feel like sloppy afterthoughts. This all contributes to a beautiful and thoroughly rewarding audience experience. I’m not kidding when I say that Frozen 2 is a masterpiece, and one of considerable production integrity and virtuosity. And yes, I’m sober.
It is a bit cheesy in parts, and Kristoff’s ‘engagement’ moments seem a tad distracting and unnecessary. In some ways, the whole thing is even maybe a bit old fashioned for some. But 97 percent of this movie is superb in every way, regardless of genre. I kid you not.
(Okay, so I might end up watching Frozen 2 once again via a streaming video service in a few months’ time. And I could end up saying to myself (as I sip another glass of red), ‘WTF was I thinking? Was there acid in my popcorn that day or something? I must have been in la-la-land. FFS, Frozen 2 is not that good! Maybe I was just wowed by 3D and that colossal IMAX screen?’ Well, maybe.)
But for now, I am convinced in this Frozen 2 review that this is a truly exceptional movie. Full stop. Particularly for children, and the vivid imagination at their disposal. It wraps a great combination of drama, emotion and engagement into a unified storytelling package, with no flaws whatsoever. Which means that it’s what we all value and wish for, in any movie of any genre.
What Makes A Memorable Movie?
We want memorable experiences, to feel engaged, to be part of something; to have an entertainment experience that transcends mundane everyday stuff. And to leave the cinema feeling like we’ve been somewhere, felt stuff.
Very few movies do that for me. Lost In Translation certainly did a while back. I floated dreamily for two hours after that one (thank you, Scarlett and Bill). Oh, and Toy Story 3. As for Marvel stuff, that’s been good-ish, mostly competent, but strangely forgettable.
Frozen 2 takes the main character, Anna, on a whole new and intriguing journey. Why did she have those special powers in the first movie? You know, creatively tossing ice everywhere, prancing around? Where did that ability actually come from? Well, watch this sequel and you’ll find out. But not straight away, thankfully.
And you’ll see some stunning creative visuals (composition, lighting, effects – a unified package) along the way. And a memorable blend of funny, emotive and fascinating. Putting all that together in a consolidated way in any field is no easy task, but these Disney folks have nailed it. It’s a symphony.
Kristoff (‘Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People…’) and snowman Olaf do their usual stuff. Olaf, in particular, becomes more of a mainstay character, and we get to know him in more detail. He’s more mature, but in a way that makes sense.
There was always the risk in the first Frozen movie that he’d be the next Jar Jar Binks. Scary! But thankfully he didn’t fall into that bucket. Instead, he’s developed, and become in this movie a more articulate character.
Anna and Elsa are still close in Frozen 2. But they have moments of antagonism. Life ain’t all perfect, thankfully. But overall it is Anna who’s the star of this show. And rightly so. She’s on a transformative journey of destiny; to discover who she really is (and aren’t we all?) And we’re with her on that in Frozen 2, every step of the way.
Her journey has sidetracks, but the movie keeps the main game clearly understood and in focus throughout.
There are brief moments of likeable cuteness (fiery frog-like critter, especially), fear (stone guys, among other things) and the correcting of past legacy crimes between adjacent populations.
Frozen 2 Review – Summary
Reading my Frozen 2 review, you might think I sound like a raving lunatic. But it’s not often that I see memorable and brilliant movies. And this one certainly is, within the scope of what it aims to be and the genre it belongs to. It gets all the key ingredients perfectly aligned, which is rare. It’s like an amazing restaurant where the food, staff, lighting, temperature and drinks are all special, memorable and of the highest quality. I’ve been to places like that. The sum of all parts provides an amazing experience.
That’s my view of Frozen 2. Sure, it may change over time. But yesterday I was blown away by what a polished and creative package it truly was. And how children will love it. It has heart, lots of heart. It completely complements its predecessor and does so with love, honour and a level of compassion that is rare, especially in movie iterations.
* Frozen 2 is screening now in New Zealand cinemas.