Frozen 2: Heartwarming or ‘dire case of sequelitis’?


Frozen 2

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Six years on from the original, Frozen 2 is almost here. Film critics have given their verdicts ahead of its cinema release on 22 November.

Some had their icy hearts thawed by the sequel, but others remained cool about Anna and Elsa’s latest adventure.

On the one hand, The Telegraph’s Robbie Collin said it’s a “generous, charming” film that “hits all the right notes”.

On the other, Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson diagnosed Disney with “a dire case of cynical sequelitis”.

He wrote: “From my sorry adult view, this sequel is entirely unnecessary, except in its duty to serve the needs of capital.”

Frozen became a phenomenon in 2013, making $1.27bn (£986m) at global box offices and becoming the most successful animated film ever.

‘Conglomerate overlords’

While admitting there was “sweetness” in the film, Lawson said the directors and writers “grasp for a new mythos to match the original’s, but come up woefully short”.

He added: “In that striving to justify a sequel, the Frozen team is forced to go bigger, grander, more existential, while still keeping things accessible to children. That’s a really tough balancing act, one Frozen 2 can’t manage.”

Of course, the first movie also spawned the hit song Let It Go. Lawson said the sequel “is a lot of hurrying to get to what the conglomerate overlords surely care most about: achieving a Let It Go-esque moment of pop-ballad triumph, a true clarion call of marketability”.

He was not impressed by the results. “Not a half-hour after seeing the movie, I couldn’t call up a single melody.”

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Others picked out the song Into the Unknown as a hummable highlight, however. Robbie Colin revealed: “I sung it to myself for the entire train journey home, fell asleep singing it, woke up singing it, and am in fact still singing it right now, while typing this.”

His four-star review said that, on the whole, Frozen 2 “tacks excitingly away from the Disney princess template” and has “an air of freshness” to it.

Empire magazine’s Ben Travis also awarded four stars, saying the sequel “goes bigger, bolder, and more epic”.

He wrote: “Where Frozen II does surpass its predecessor is in the jaw-dropping animation – one moment involving water drawn from a plank of wood is near-photoreal. Elsewhere, the film is far more stylish and playful than the prosaic original.”

‘A mildly depressed accountant’

There were four more stars from the London Evening Standard’s critic Charlotte O’Sullivan, who said it “doesn’t improve upon the original” but combines “Broadway razzmatazz” with a “quiet weirdness”.

She wrote: “It’s hard to carp, given the amount of technical invention, not to mention wit and emotion, crammed into every set-piece.”

The Times’ Kevin Maher distributed just two stars, saying the movie “consistently ticks boxes and executes songs and set pieces with all the verve of a mildly depressed accountant talking you through his latest spreadsheet”.

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw gave away three stars, while Screen Rant’s Molly Freeman was marginally more generous with 3.5.

“It’s not as cohesive a movie as Frozen was, which may be down to the sequel never even attempting to introduce a villain,” she wrote.

“Instead, Frozen 2 takes the risk of forgoing the typical Disney movie story structure for a more mature style – and while it doesn’t entirely work, other aspects of the film are compelling enough to keep viewers engaged.”

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