Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 2019. Walt Disney Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures. Story by Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck, Marc Smith, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez, Screenplay by Jennifer Lee. Produced by Peter Del Vecho. Music by Christophe Beck. Film Editing by Jeff Draheim. Academy Awards 2019. Golden Globe Awards 2019. Washington Film Critics Awards 2019.
Four years after convincing us all to really let it go, Disney’s megahit blockbuster gets a sequel as beautifully animated, as warmly written and as narratively vague as it was the first time around. We return to Arendelle and the court of Queen Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel), who hears a disembodied singing voice calling her at night, and she has no idea why (though it does help her get out of a game of charades that she is pitifully failing). A bedtime story that she and sister Anna (Kristen Bell) were told as children, about an ancient people living in the woods outside their kingdom, is recalled when a night of natural disasters forces the kingdom to evacuate their homes. Before long Elsa, Anna, Anna’s boyfriend Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and their plucky young snowman friend Olaf (Josh Gad) are trekking beyond their familiar surroundings and going in search of the solution to their problems, which also takes them into the mystery of their past. Well meaning and sweet, populated with another host of reasonably tuneful but not unforgettable songs, this film plays its themes up harder than it does any twists of the plot, aiming for its audience’s approval without caring about actually entertaining anyone. The pretense at feminism that Disney practiced in the previous chapter is here, it’s about sisters and they’re both spunky but someone has to get married, there’s a vague notion of environmental awareness which will help us forget the production of plastic lunch boxes that is surely to follow, and the inclusion of an indigenous population of characters in what is otherwise the whitest story they’ve told since Sleeping Beauty is lovely, except that their participation in the actual story is decorative. What the film is actually about is hard to discern, it takes itself far too seriously except when it lets Olaf bring some much-needed comic relief, while the characters aren’t taken anywhere further than we saw them go last time around. There’s a few good tunes, though, and it looks great.