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Frozen II (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)

Frozen II

FROZEN II (2019)

Featuring the voices of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, Santino Fontana, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Sterling K. Brown, Martha Plimpton, Rachel Matthews, Jason Ritter, Jeremy Sisto, Alan Tudyk, Ciarán Hinds, Mattea Conforti and Hadley Gannaway.

Screenplay by Jennifer Lee and Allison Schroeder.

Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee.

Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. 103 minutes. Rated PG.

Dear movie theater employees,

Please be sure to hydrate, take your vitamin C, get plenty of rest.

Because on November 22nd – well starting the evening of November 21st – you are going to be packed. Honestly, it’s going to last a while. Be prepared for long lines filled with giggly kids dressed like princesses and reindeer and snowmen. And they are going to come back at least a second time.

I enjoyed Frozen 2. The audience seemed to enjoy Frozen 2. The music felt meaningful, the story was entertaining, and the characters continue in their best form. The film was magical, with effects that go on for days – I can already see the wheels turning on development of the Broadway/Las Vegas stage sequel.

I say this with no cynicism at all.

I laughed, a lot.

I teared up (okay, not like in the original, but I am thankful for that).

I got a lot of goosebumps. That happens to me when music is really good. And it’s really good (have I said that?)

The film opens with a lullaby moment, setting the stage for the story about to come. Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) and Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) are back in their early years. Their father, the king, tells them a bedtime story about an enchanted forest, now shrouded in mist. It is a story that leaves both girls with plenty of unanswered questions. It is a story meant as both legacy and warning, from a king to a future queen. Their mom then settles both girls down with a soothing lullaby, a song that they take with them for comfort into adulthood.

The first big ensemble song takes place right after the opening credits, back in a thriving Arendelle, where everyone is happy, content with things as they are. Elsa has taken to her queenly duties, down to making ice creatures as easily as balloon sculptures for a queue of kids. Anna is protective and supportive, attuned to her sister’s needs while still maintaining her joy, particularly with boyfriend, Kristoff (voiced by Jonathan Groff) and their permafrost managed, magical snowman, Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad).

But change in life is inevitable, and Elsa feels a pull to the unknown (the song hasn’t left my brain in 10 days!) by a voice that her magic senses is good, even when there are forces that seem to be maliciously driving the people of Arendelle from their town. Elsa decides to go in search of the voice, and Anna and Kristoff, in full-on protective mode join Elsa on her quest. (Anna for Elsa, Kristoff for Anna, Sven for Kristoff and Olaf for us all). That quest connects the group to their father’s bedtime story.

We are introduced to some great new characters in the enchanted forest, particularly an adorable, big eyed little lizard that I suspect will be added as friend to every Elsa doll on the shelves of Target this winter. (Okay, that’s admittedly a little cynical… but I am still adding it to my Hanukkah list).

The soundtrack is filled with great new solo pieces. Elsa and Anna each have two super-strong songs, Kristoff goes full on 80’s music video in his big solo number, and Olaf sings about growing up.

Olaf. Olaf is better than ever, from his pontificating about aging to his original Frozen recap (and dare I say, end credit scene!)

If I am to have one criticism, it is the new lack of trust that Anna seems to have developed in her relationships. Her character seems to jump to negative conclusions very quickly, which seems actually out of character.

The animation has really leaped forward. With one of the central themes focused on water, it’s no wonder that the water effects are really magnificent. They have also done a lot of work on mouth movements – at times they looked almost mismatched with the words, but then you realize that the lips are literally capturing real lip movements. It’s really impressive.

If I have one wish for you, future audience, it’s that your audience contains at least one infectiously giggling kiddo who giggles in all of the right places whenever Olaf is on stage. Because that is truly magical.

Bonnie Paul

Copyright ©2019 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: November 21, 2019.

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