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Image / Editorial

Frozen II review: ‘A mind-bending mess’

by Amanda Cassidy
29th Nov 2019

The sequel to the icy excellence of the first Disney instalment doesn’t live up to the hype, writes Amanda Cassidy (*spoilers ahead)

We hummed ‘Let it go’ all the way to the cinema. Clad in blue Elsa gowns, snowflake hairbands and Olaf-themed shirts, we were ready to fall in love all over again with the snowy sisters from the wonderfully imaginative Frozen movie.

But far from being blown away by the nature-themed sequel, for us, it was a total washout.

In fact, we left with more questions than answers, a little more than disappointed with the confusing storyline and psychedelic twists along the way.

The success of Frozen in 2013 (the animation became the highest-grossing film of the year) was based around sisterhood and friendship, overcoming adversity with grit and determination. The songs were catchy, the scenery pretty and the dialogue pithy, even for adults. A sweet coming-of-age tale with some serious broadway belters.

But Frozen II’s convoluted script left most of the children in our group puzzled and some petrified.  The odd mix of mythology, ancient symbols, mysterious quests and Elsa’s increasing isolation (again) from her sister paints a bleak and overly-complicated tale inappropriate for this age group.

The gist of the movie is that the girls are now happily ruling the kingdom of Arendelle. Kristoff wants to propose to Anna but can’t find the right moment.

Meanwhile, Elsa is hearing voices, or rather a voice in the shape of an eerie singing spirit (which frankly terrified many of the five-year-olds in our party). There is a flashback to their father as a young man involved in a peace mission with the forest folk — a type of spiritual people with a magical link to nature.

A dam is built across a mythical river (?)

There is an incident (we later learn it is a betrayal) that leads to a vicious fight among the groups, the sister’s father is injured and gets saved by their mother as a young girl. They fall in love despite their different worlds — Capulet and Montague-style.

The rest of the movie Elsa spends battling to get to a place where she can reconcile the past, via stone giants, fire lizards, glaciers, the Dark Sea and fog. In trying to solve the mysteries of her past (which, arguably, never really needed solving) Elsa has carved out the way for another film to answer all the questions this one raises. I guess that’s showbiz, folks.

I couldn’t get into it and the children were restless. There is a traumatic quasi-drowning scene where a wild ghost horse from the waves tries to prevent Elsa from swimming to the island where the spirits of her dead parents promise to explain everything (they don’t).

One of the most poignant moments of the film was when Anna was in danger and Kristoff arrived at the right moment exactly, sensing she was in trouble. ‘I’m here, what do you need me to do?’ he says touchingly.

Elsa’s new theme song, Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” is catchy. But one of the strangest moments of the movie is the ’80s-style power ballad given to Kristoff that comes out of nowhere and sounds disturbingly similar to a number by American band, Chicago.

The connection to nature seems to tick the usual what’s-happening-in-the-world-currently box nicely. But the DreamWorks Animation team got there first with the release of the stunningly beautiful Abominable earlier in the month.

Frozen II is a mind-bending mess that left everyone in our group cold. And it’s worth asking the question, was it made because there was more story to be told or purely because there was more money to be made?

Sorry Disney, perhaps it is time to let it go?

Image via Disney

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