Frozen II (2019)

Frozen 2 poster.jpgDirector: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Running Time: 103 Minutes
Rating: U
Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Martha Plimpton, Jason Ritter, Rachel Matthews, Jeremy Sisto, CiarĂ¡n Hinds

Six years may have passed, but the lasting effects of Frozen remain evident to this day. From the characters to the story, and especially a certain musical number, the 53rd animated film from Disney was a pop culture juggernaut, and one of the best modern day films released by the studio. It's also one of the highest grossing films of all time so a sequel was inevitable, and while the final product doesn't capture all that made its predecessor so wonderful, it gives it a darn good try.

We reunite with the same lovable band of characters, who've settled into a domestic life in Arendelle. But when the kingdom is threatened, they must discover the origin of Elsa's powers, a journey which takes them to an ancient forest in an enchanted land. The autumnal location is a far-cry from the predecessors wintery setting, showcasing the filmmakers intent in taking a different route.

The story is based more in fantasy, leaning into the mystical lore of this world, but it never forgets about the characters. Their relationships helped make the first film work so well, and they once more feel vital to story, serving as the films beating heart. As much as we care for this assortment, though, the stakes feel lacking, as the danger doesn't feel like it'll have a lasting effect. A better job is done addressing generational sins, staining familial trees, as their effects prove long-lasting.

Considering how massive the first films music was, the musical numbers in its successor has a lot to live up to. A shame the end result is a forgettable assortment, though Into The Unknown is a show-stopping standout, powerful in its execution. Also worth mentioning is Lost In The Woods, a homage to the power ballads which you'll want to belt out just as much. It all comes together for a sequel which may not match its predecessors heights, but is a satisfying tale in its own right. Plus, a story touching upon how indigenous people were screwed over, released in time for Thanksgiving? Bravo.