Frozen II Nov 23, 2019 16:26:26 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Nov 23, 2019 16:26:26 GMT -5
Frozen II (2019)
Directed by: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Directed by: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Anna and Elsa return in the long-awaited Frozen II.
We can blast Disney for being a gluttonous empire hellbent on swallowing every studio who sees a recent downturn in profits, from small independent corporations to bustling conglomerates. We can absolutely critique their clear and obvious intent to monopolize the box office and police their properties with an iron-clad mouse-fist. But we can't fault their output of consistently good-to-great-to-terrific animated features, even when they're a touch questionable (Ralph Breaks the Internet).
Omit the obvious "cash-grab" accusations (every film, in a sense, is something of a cash-grab, if not in a derogatory way) and look at Frozen II as the latest example. It's a sequel that does a fine job at instilling what made its predecessor such an exceptional runaway success while carving a new path for its nimble characters.
We return to the Kingdom of Arendelle, which is now under the rule of Queen Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) and her sister, Princess Anna (Kristen Bell), who, despite undoubtedly having a series of daunting tasks every day, still find time for play with their snowman pal Olaf (Josh Gad), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), and their trusty reindeer companion Sven. They're so happy-go-lucky, in the beginning, they break out into song, belting "Some Things Never Change." Of course, until they do.
The film opens with Elsa and Anna's grandfather telling them about the time he traveled to christen a dam that was a gift from ancient Arendellians, although the site, located in the forest of Northuldra, has since been overtaken by a strange, angelic mist. This prompts the sisters and their companions to embark to the woods to try and restore order and peace to a community that has left a black mark on the legacy of Arendelle.
Eerily similar to the Natalie Portman sci-fi film Annihilation — from its inclusion of a fog-covered forest and the unintended effects that lie within — Frozen II is predicated on mystery and intrigue. The stakes are loftier, it's not all fun and games (even though there still are plenty of fun and games abound). Elsa's psyche has been disturbed by sudden mental vibrations regarding the story her grandfather once told her, and Anna can't help but feel her sister's sacrifice is her exhibiting a lack of restraint. Although the conflict might not have impacted Elsa and Anna directly when it occurred, the moral obligation they feel on their part is too great not to act.
There is still great fun to be had throughout, and a lot of it starts with Olaf. The shapeshifting snowman's approval rating has had to skyrocket following his controversial short preceded Pixar's Coco back in 2017. He may just be silly comic relief, but he's spirited enough to cut through the occasional gloom of the story. There's an element of irony in his humor, such as his delightful number "When I Am Older," when he's recognizing there's something scary going on in the forest of Northuldra but chalks it up to something he'll understand and deal with when he's older. "One day when I'm old and wise, I'll think back and realize...that these were all completely normal events!," he sings, all while dodging ominous red eyes lurking in the darkness. Other comedy stems from Kristoff trying to find the right situation in which to propose to Anna, even getting the help of a fellow woodsman (Jason Ritter) in the process. It's light, fluffy, and serves its purpose in a story that's a little darker.
Directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee return as well, and the legion of animators give Frozen II a complete visual makeover. Immaculately detailed environments and gorgeous autumnal colors create an entirely different color palette this time around, which is tonally germane to the story at hand. There's a lovely, lively spirit within this sequel that stems from such a wide array of contrasts and hues, and the fact the story is transplanted from Arendelle to this newfound land of Northuldra, everything feels fresher and more awe-inspiring because so much has changed. We're not getting the same story twice, which would've been so very easy for Lee (who serves as screenwriter) and company to do with such a highly anticipated follow-up.
I also found the songs in Frozen II to be thoroughly charming (not to say they weren't in Frozen, however, I feel that by the time I saw it, I was all-too-sick of "Let it Go"). Kristoff's number, "Lost in the Woods," about his wayward and lonely feelings of struggling to find an opportune way to propose to Anna, is heartfelt, sung like a country pop number from Hootie and the Blowfish or Lonestar in a powerful manner. Elsa's ballad, "Show Yourself," is her restoring some confidence in herself, almost serving as an antithesis to the aforementioned chart-topper "Let it Go." Instead of bottling her feelings, she bravely confronts her fears and finds herself ready to confront the historical sins of her Kingdom.
With characters finally showing enough depth to be considered multidimensional, utterly beautiful visuals, enjoyable songs, and a plot with some true gravitas, Frozen II doesn't negate the external problems with Disney as a corporate powerhouse gone mad, but it provides the confidence that, narratively and visually, they absolutely know what they're doing — as if after many decades, we needed another dose of reassurance.
NOTE: My review of Frozen: stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/4129
Voiced by: Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, Jason Ritter, Evan Rachel Wood, and Sterling K. Brown. Directed by: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee.