Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 12 December 2019

Review: Frozen 2 is hilarious, but is it too complex for kids?

As well as being funnier than Frozen, there’s an argument to be made that Frozen 2 features better songs, too

There have been a lot of sequels this year. But while the likes of The Lego Movie 2, Toy Story 4 and the reigning highest­-grossing movie of all time, Avengers: Endgame, each provoked excitement from viewers of all ages, there’s one sequel that parents across the world are dreading as much as they are anticipating its release: Frozen 2.

The huge success of the 2013 original means parents can’t wait to take their children to see Queen Elsa and Princess Anna Of Arendelle, sentient snowman Olaf, iceman Kristoff, and his loyal reindeer Sven on another adventure. However, Frozen, and in particular its breakout hit song Let It Go, made such a connection with younger viewers that adults everywhere were soon sharing tales of how they’d been made to watch it dozens upon dozens, sometimes even hundreds of times to appease their children.

That means Frozen 2 has a lot to live up to. Not only because parents will be hoping that it possesses enough entertainment to keep their offspring enthralled after the 36th time of watching it, but also because if their children dismiss it then they’ll have no choice but to watch Frozen again.

Humans of all ages will be relieved to learn that Frozen 2 is actually funnier than its predecessor. As the voice of Olaf, Josh Gad steals pretty much every scene he’s in, providing slapstick pratfalls and funny voices that children will love, as well as a genuine wit and numerous callbacks that will make older viewers chuckle, too.

Frozen 2. Courtesy Disney
Frozen 2. Courtesy Disney

Olaf is so hilarious during the first half of Frozen 2 that he will provoke at least a smile whenever he appears on screen. This includes what is probably one of the funniest cinematic moments of the year, when he recaps everything that occurred in the original film in about 15 seconds, a scene that is so laugh-out-loud funny that you’ll almost certainly miss parts of it because you’ll either be bent double giggling, or the cacophony of laughs around you will be too loud for you to hear anything on screen.

Olaf is also given the second funniest musical number in the movie, as rather than being scared by the increasingly bizarre events unfolding around him, he decides to sing When I Am Older, a track that includes the lyrics, “This will all make sense when I am older,” and “one day when I’m old and wise, I’ll think back and realise that these were all completely normal events”.

But When I Am Older is only just pipped to this prize by Lost In The Woods, a rock power ballad by Jonathan Groff’s Kristoff, with accompanying vocals by Sven, that transplants an 1980s power ballad music video straight into Arendelle. The result is both inventive and hilarious, while there’s the added bonus that parents will now have the perfect chance to introduce their kids to Meat Loaf, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake at an early age.

As well as being funnier than Frozen, there’s an argument to be made that Frozen 2 features better songs, too. That’s no mean feat because, even though children made their parents listen to the original film’s music so much that any semblance of artistic or creative prowess has long been lost, the soundtrack to Frozen was undeniably spectacular. That’s exactly why the preposterously catchy Let It Go managed to transcend cinema and become such a bona fide pop culture phenomenon.

This time around, Some Things Never Change, the Lost In The Woods, and Into The Unknown are all instantly impressive. However, while Into The Unknown has both a beguiling a capella hook and the obligatory vocal explosion from Idina Menzel as Elsa, it also embodies why Frozen 2 ultimately disappoints.

Because, while the first half of the song is impressive, it just seems to tail off. The same can be said for Frozen 2, because even though it begins with funnier jokes and better songs, and looks to explore and reveal why Elsa has powers, it ultimately turns into an overly complex mess. The last half of the film is more focused on its ambitious visuals and unearned melodrama than providing a coherent and satisfying conclusion to the story it had set up quite nicely, while its finale is hurried and there are various plot points that either don’t make sense or are too improbable, even for an animated movie.

However, while that means Frozen 2 feels a tad unsatisfying immediately after you’ve watched it, in the long run, these complexities might be for the positive. Because its thematic depth and the various ways it can be interpreted and analysed should make repeat viewings much more enjoyable than simply being asked to build a snowman over and over and over again.

Frozen 2 is in UAE cinemas from tomorrow

Updated: November 19, 2019 06:45 PM

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