Frozen 2 critics review the sequel to US$1 billion animated film

The review embargo to the Disney movie Frozen 2 has been lifted.

Does Frozen 2 live up to the wonder of the award-winning animated film Frozen, which made US$1,274,219,009 gross worldwide and spawned an industry?

Frozen 2, which has a worldwide release of 22 November, begins three years after the 2013 film and centres on Elsa (Idina Menzel), Anna (Kristen Bell), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), and Olaf (Josh Gad) embarking on a journey that goes beyond their homeland of Arendelle to discover the origin of Elsa’s powers and to save their kingdom.

Frozen 2 is written by Jennifer Lee. who wrote Frozen and the sequel is again co-produced by Lee and Chris Buck. But is it just a grab for cash or worth going to see?

The critics agree it is not quite as good as the original but the dazzling visuals, laugh-out loud humour and irresistible songs will make everyone more than happy. CNBC reported that the first day of advanced ticket sales for Frozen 2 sold the most tickets of any other animated feature on Atom Tickets and Fandango.

This is what the critics say about the film which currently holds an 81% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Variety‘s Peter Debruge applauds the screenwriter and co-director Lee for not creating a “mindless remake”, stating that the sequel feels more like a follow-up to Pixar’s Brave. Debruge wrote the film will resonate with younger audiences in a time of political strife; Anna and Elsa’s actions in Frozen 2 parallel sentiments from teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

“Reunited by their last adventure, the sisters are now closer than ever. Though Elsa has been named queen, she privately wrestles with the feeling that she doesn’t belong in Arendelle. She’s been gifted with magical abilities — namely, the blessing/curse of blasting snow and ice from her fingertips — and yet, the first movie never explained how or why she came by these talents, while Anna lacks them altogether. Frozen 2 gives Elsa a chance to get to the bottom of the mystery while showing audiences that it’s OK for people to feel restless when their potential is being constrained. Normally, a character in Elsa’s position would wander off on her own in search of answers, but her connection with Anna is too strong for that, and her sister insists on coming along. As Anna tells her at one point, “You don’t want me to follow you into fire? Then don’t run into fire!”

The Hollywood Reporter critic Todd McCarthy wrote that the audience should “expect the unexpected” when it comes to the new instalment of the popular Disney film. However, Disney abides by the same successful formula of “catchy new songs, more time with easy-to-like characters, striking backdrops, cute little jokes” and a “voyage of discovery plot and female empowerment galore”.

“So while it flirts with the dark side, where the movie actually goes are the destinations of colorful and undisturbing sensation (Elsa’s underwater exploits are particularly striking) and constantly reassuring humor. There’s nothing wrong with that in terms of the massive, all-inclusive audience Disney is aiming for and will most certainly reach, and no one wants to scare the 4-year-olds too much (there are moments in Bambi and Sleeping Beauty, at the very least, that supplied children of earlier generations with nightmares for years)”.

Entertainment Weekly’s Christian Holub writes that Frozen 2 does its best to live up to the intimidating bar set by the original.

Frozen 2 makes a valiant effort to live up to its predecessor, but can’t escape its shadow. Over the course of the movie, multiple characters openly wonder if they’re done adventuring yet. In our zeitgeist of maximized intellectual property, the answer is ‘probably not’, but at least this fictional world isn’t afraid of a little change here and there.”

The Los Angeles TimesJustin Chang writes Buck and Lee have taken the eminently sensible step of poking good-natured fun at their original creation while also preserving and even maximising its most durable charms.

“Against the kind of majestic snow-covered backdrop that’s sure to boost hot-chocolate sales at concessions, we are treated once more to the ingenious comic stylings of Olaf (Josh Gad), the sentient snowman who showed up halfway through Frozen. This time around, he’s a scene-stealing, joke-dispensing machine from start to finish, and with a pretty good hit-to-miss ratio, judging by the squeals of laughter from my 3-year-old screening companion (and OK, I joined in too).”

ForbesScott Mendelson commended the films visuals and character interactions, but said the tale suffered from too many songs that “feel like hand-holding” and a “generic ‘dark sequel’ template that barely bothers to focus on specifics”.

“The film is stronger in terms of character interaction and themes than it is in terms of telling a story, settling on a weirdly generic ‘dark sequel’ template that barely bothers to focus on specifics. That said, it’s rarely less than entertaining and is a visual knockout.”

BBC’s Nicholas Barber was not a fan of Frozen 2, stating “it’s nowhere near as good”.

“Narratively, Frozen 2 is a mess, an avalanche of half-formed ideas which might have been more suited to a spin-off novel or a video game, and which leaves us asking WTF, or What The Frozen? And yet, beyond its thicket of tangled concepts and subplots, there is nothing to it but one small revelation which astute viewers will have predicted after five minutes.”

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