Frozen 2 review round-up: 'Disney makes a valiant effort to live up to its predecessor, but can’t escape its shadow'
Frozen 2 picks up three years after the 2013 film and centers on Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf embarking on a journey that goes beyond their homeland of Arendelle
Early reviews for Disney's much-anticipated sequel, Frozen 2, are in and the film opened to mixed responses. Frozen 2, standing at 84 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, picks up three years after the 2013 film and centers on Elsa (Idina Menzel), Anna (Kristen Bell), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Olaf (Josh Gad) and Sven embarking on a journey that goes beyond their homeland of Arendelle to discover the origin of Elsa's powers and to save their kingdom.
While some critics applauded the team for a script that's 'female empowerment galore', a few are not quite convinced of the sequel despite the return of charming characters.
Following are some of early reviews for Frozen 2
Entertainment Weekly’s Christian Holub writes that the sequel tries its best to live-up to the 'world- conquering' original. “The first Frozen impressed with its willingness to elevate sisterly love over traditional fairy-tale romance, and the second takes aim at an even more central Disney myth: The magical castle where dreams come true. Frozen 2 makes a valiant effort to live up to its predecessor, but can’t escape its shadow. Over the course of the movie, multiple characters openly wonder if they’re done adventuring yet. In our zeitgeist of maximized intellectual property, the answer is ‘probably not,’ but at least this fictional world isn’t afraid of a little change here and there.”
In The Hollywood Reporter, critic Todd McCarthy says the audience should "expect the unexpected" when it comes to the new installment of the popular Disney film. However, he says Disney abides by the same successful formula of "catchy new songs, more time with easy-to-like characters, striking backdrops, cute little jokes" and a "voyage of discovery plot and female empowerment galore."
Variety's Peter Debruge also appulads Lee's screenplay for not creating a “mindless remake.” Debruge writes that the film will resonate with younger audiences, “Conventional Disney princess movies — in which alabaster beauties from Snow White to Belle passively awaited the liberating effects of true love’s kiss — may have been taken at face value for most of the studio’s history, but today’s kids have gotten savvy,” he wrote in his review.
Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair notes though Anna and Elsa's latest adventure is "pretty exciting, pretty funny, pretty transporting," he isn't convinced that the follow-up was so great or so necessary. Trying to justify its need, Lawson writes that the Frozen team was "forced to go bigger, grander, more existential, while still keeping things accessible to children" and ultimately became a "balancing act" the sequel couldn't handle. Despite the story offering more to the sister-princess duo's identities and gifting Elsa an exploration story similar to that of Vanellope's in Ralph Breaks the Internet, Frozen 2's "discoveries are rushed and are served up half-baked."
The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw finds the storyline "underpowered and contrived." He further writes, "At times, Frozen II almost felt like an extended bonus featurette that could have gone with the Blu-ray edition of the first film. Having said that, it looks and sounds good, with a stirring central song for Elsa entitled Into the Unknown, the curtain-raiser for her encounter with the primeval forces of the forest… It’s an entertaining revival, though a thaw is beginning to set in."
Frozen 2 releases in India on 22 November with Priyanka and Parineeti Chopra, voicing the characters of Elsa and Anna respectively for the Hindi remake.
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