Making a quality sequel can be tough, and even moreso when it’s a follow-up to a beloved modern classic. “Frozen II” has huge shoes to fill from the outset, and this second installment of the Disney animated tale of two sisters is a mostly unsuccessful adventure. Even the dazzling animation can’t make up for what’s lacking, including the absence of an instant hit song (nothing here even comes close to the brilliance of “Let It Go”), dry voice performances, and a mediocre story.
When ice queen Elsa (Idina Menzel) begins hearing a strange voice calling her, she and sister Anna (Kristen Bell), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) and reindeer Sven set out on a perilous journey to discover why Elsa was born with magical powers. It’s a surprisingly dark adventure that, despite beautiful set pieces, is generic. The plot is confusing yet somehow predictable, and everything is Disney-fied and wrapped up with a nice little bow by the final credits.
Most disappointing are the bland songs (by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez). There isn’t one number that stands out. It’s a particularly huge letdown after the timeless toe-tappers of “Frozen.”
The movie feels like it’s made more for adults than kids, and there are some scary moments (like Olaf wandering through a deep, dark forest and flashbacks to the death of Anna and Elsa’s parents) that may frighten a few children. The idea of an action-adventure animated film with two strong female leads is commendable, but the potential to be something special instead of merely adequate is frittered away.
While the magic doesn’t reach the highs of the first film, “Frozen II” is beautifully animated and visually impressive enough to recommend only to those who love animation as an art form. Everyone else would be smart to skip it.