REVIEW: Frozen II
Between Walt Disney’s death in 1966 and 1988’s released of Oliver and Company, the namesake company’s animated output was stale, unimaginative, and paralyzed by execs whose manta was “What would Walt do?” Then came a second Golden Age of animation and generations have been entertained anew as they embraced bolder storytelling, more diverse characters, and even CGI versus cel animation.
And yet, I wonder how Walt would have felt about sequels. The direct to video sequels to films like The Lion King were sheer cash grabs and diluted the core properties. He would have been pleasantly surprised at how good the Pixar sequels to Toy Story have been. But, would he have approved a Frozen II? We’ll never know and it had to be a risk to bring a second adventure to the big screen considering the phenomenal success of the 2013 original.
Thankfully, the current team didn’t rush out a hasty sequel to squeeze every last nickel from their audience. Instead, they took their time to ensure a sequel was strong enough to handle the pent up expectations. There was no way the sequel, out now on disc from Disney Home Entertainment, could measure up but one would have hoped for something with a bit more zest.
The movie is pleasant enough as it builds on the world established in the original, giving us insight to the politics that beset Arendelle, which Else (Idina Menzel) now governs. She hears a call, one last heard in childhood, that brings her to the mythic forest. Accompanied by Anna (Kristen Bell), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Sven, and Olaf (Josh Gad), the adventure begins. They find a misty barrier and once they pierce it, they find Arendelle’s long lost warriors, including Mattias (Sterling K. Brown). Secrets are revealed, the true nature of the conflict with Northuldra included, and the Queen must sort things out.
There are gasps and guffaws and the overall story is a good one, just not great and far from magical. Partly it’s familiarity, and partly there was no way they could live up to the anticipation.
The 2160p is a step above the Blu-ray but not enough to justify the extra cost (the combo pack here is your friend). Colors and details are crystal clear, the animated figures move fluidly and the effects are strong. Both 4K and Blu-ray come with DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 or Dolby Atmos track and they both sound strong, but could be better.
The Special Features are usually where Disney shines, especially for their younger viewers but here it’s all just so ordinary. The 4K disc merely contains the movie with a karaoke-style lyric track. The rest are on the Blu-ray and there are plenty:
Outtakes (2:26) from the voice recording sessions; Did You Know??? (4:27), The Spirits of Frozen 2 (12:02), Scoring a Sequel (3:49); Deleted Scenes (17:58) with Director Chris Buck and Writer/Director Jennifer Lee introductions; Deleted Songs, including “Home” (4:22) and “I Wanna Get This Right” (6:24); two Gale Tests (3:56); “Into the Unknown” (3:07) seamlessly intercut in 29 Languages, which inspired the wonderful piece we see at the Academy Awards; Music Videos: “Into the Unknown” (Panic! At the Disco Version) (3:16) and “Lost in the Woods” (Weezer Version) (3:06).