The second instalment of Disney’s much-loved animated film, Frozen, has arrived.
But how does it shape up in comparison to the first one?
Here is what you need to know about Frozen II
Cast: it features the voices of Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Alfred Molina, Evan Rachel Wood and Ciaran Hinds. Director credits include Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee.
— Disney's Frozen 2 (@DisneyFrozen) November 3, 2019
What’s the plot?
According to lovable snowman Olaf (voiced by Gad), who is a permafrosted font of wisdom about the natural world, water has memory.
Considering that audiences who flocked to the original Frozen are largely made of water, it’s safe to assume that their memories of Buck and Lee’s Oscar-winning adventure will ebb and flow throughout this visually stunning sequel to the highest-grossing animated film of all time.
Oh no, H2O? Not quite…
Water and the other classical elements – air, earth and fire – play pivotal roles in Frozen II.
The realistic movement of aqua has always been a chink in the armour of computer animators. Not so here.
Disney’s platoons of digital wizards repeatedly quench our thirst with jaw-dropping set pieces including a thrilling gallop over crashing waves of an angry sea astride an untamed water horse.
What about the music?
We’ve had six years to commit to memory every note, key change and lyrical flip of Do You Want To Build A Snowman?, For The First Time In Forever, Love Is An Open Door and Let It Go.
It would be churlish to expect returning songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez to ride the crest of those sound waves again on a first listen.
In the sequel, Elsa’s call to arms Into The Unknown soars to dizzying high notes and Kristoff’s faux 1990s rock ballad Lost In The Woods is a hoot, replete with four-legged backing singers.
Anna’s solo The Next Right Thing is a beautifully melancholic distillation of grief.
What lies ahead for Elsa and Anna?
Three years have passed since Elsa (voiced by Menzel) ascended the throne of Arendelle.
An ethereal voice from the enchanted forest beckons her to unlock the secret of a bedtime story told to Elsa and sister Anna (Bell) by their parents, King Agarr (Molina) and Queen Iduna (Wood).
“The truth must be found. Without it, there is no future,” confirms troll king Grand Pabbie (Hinds).
Thus, Elsa, Anna, her goofy beau Kristoff (Groff), reindeer Sven and Olaf journey to an ancient stone circle shrouded in swirling mist, which designates a hidden pathway to the supposedly lost Northuldra tribe.
What about Olaf?
Inveterate scene-stealer Olaf hysterically recaps the first film in the sequel’s crowd-pleasing showpiece and finds a perfect match for his gosh-darn cuteness in a blue salamander sidekick.
What’s the verdict?
While the first film encouraged characters to let go of things that hurt or hinder – fear, self-doubt, regret, the past – Buck and Lee’s follow-up dives deeper into their tearful self-reflection.
Menzel and Bell gently tug heartstrings as sisterly bonds strain and their brave heroines make sacrifices to remedy a great injustice.
“I’ve had my adventure/I don’t need something new,” defiantly trills Elsa.
Legions of fans do, and, despite its flimsy plot, Frozen II largely delivers.
Frozen II is released in the UK and Ireland on November 22.