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Review: Appealing 'Frozen II' reunites audiences with old friends

FROZEN II (Photo: Walt Disney)

Frozen II
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Writer: Jennifer Lee
Starring: Chris Buck, Marc Smith, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
Genre: Animated, Comedy
Rated: PG for action/peril and some thematic elements

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) – Synopsis: Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven journey to a land shrouded in mist and discover the unspoken history of their ancestors.

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) -- Review: I don’t have to tell you that 2013’s “Frozen” was a massive success. The film itself took in $1.2 billion at the worldwide box office and the home video, soundtrack, costume and toy sales would have been even more astronomical. That song, you know the one, was on repeat well into 2014.

I liked the film. Particularly the way that the real antagonist of the film was the uncertain thoughts and feelings of the protagonist. Sure, there were some bad boyfriends, but it was really about how Elsa came to accept who she was.

So, now that Elsa has accepted herself, what is she going to do with the newfound confidence? Genealogy. She's going to do some genealogy.

On the surface, “Frozen II” is a less challenging narrative as Anna and Elsa set out on an adventure that finds them exploring the impact of their grandfather’s actions and the origins of Elsa’s powers. Along the way there are songs of self-discovery, an ‘80s-inspired music video, awkward romance and lots of Olaf silliness. There is also danger, disappointment and sacrifice. It’s not exactly bold, but it gets the job done without duplicating too much of the original story.

Visually, the film is gorgeous. It's easy to forget how far digital animation has come. I still love hand-drawn animation, but the detail here is astounding.

The songs are good. “Into the Unknown” wants to be 2019’s “Let It Go,” but even Idina Menzel can’t quite raise the tune to that level. But we get to visit with old friends, learn a thing or two about them (as they learn a thing or two about themselves) and ,ultimately, I suspect that is what most audiences are craving. There’s even an almost happily-ever-after ending that feels like a victory, but comes with a cost. I wonder if the writers are cognizant and intended the heartbreaking subtext that comes with it?

“Frozen II” is unlikely to illicit the same fanaticism as the original, but there’s enough here to satiate its well-established fanbase.