Thursday, December 19, 2019

Movie with Abe: Frozen II

Frozen II
Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Released November 22, 2019

In 2013, Disney released “Frozen,” a wildly popular animated film which quickly became one of its biggest successes of all time. Such good fortune usually encourages studios – and audiences – to consider the excitement of a sequel, which can be a positive notion but usually fails to match the same quality and impact of the first effort. In today’s cinema, it’s hard to find anything truly original, and so when something works, it makes sense that those behind it want to replicate it. In the case of “Frozen II,” the sequel can’t be quite as terrific as the first, but it comes pretty close.

Elsa (Idina Menzel) reigns over Arendelle with a kind heart but finds the fragile peace shattered when she hears a haunting song from her childhood over and over again. Spirits force the evacuation of Arendelle, and Elsa sets off with Anna (Kristen Bell), Olaf (Josh Gad), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), and Sven in search of the Enchanted Forest, where Elsa and Anna’s grandfather perished in a confrontation between elemental spirits, the Northuldra tribe, and the kingdom of Arendelle. Elsa’s powers give her a connection to everything around her but also make her feel dangerously invincible.

This isn’t merely a repeat of the events that transpired in the first film, benefiting from the ability to skip over any exposition and launch right into new adventures. Opening with a flashback effectively returns audiences to this magical world, delivering new information that serves as the basis of this film’s plot at the same time. Anyone who for some reason hasn’t seen the first film surely won’t be lost and can easily piece together context clues to understand just who everyone is and what has taken place to get them to this point.

Once again, both Elsa and Anna prove to be strong, powerful women who don’t let others tell them what their limits are, and they’re both endearing as they try to stand by each other as new threats emerge. Gad continues his role as comic relief as the eternally optimistic and talkative snowman Olaf, whose rattling off of random facts is both entertaining and irritating. This chapter might not be overly complex or all that surprising, but it’s still a refreshingly buoyant, sparkling visit to a marvelously imagined idea. The strength of the songs can’t possibly match the Oscar-winning brilliance of the original, but, as with everything else in this film, it’s perfectly satisfactory.


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