WestEndExtra

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The ice has it in Frozen II

21 November, 2019 — By Dan Carrier

Cool and the gang: The cast of Frozen II

FROZEN II
Directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck
Certificate PG
☆☆☆

IT is a matter of debate as to who has been more eager for this sequel: the little ones who have been Frozen bonkers since the smash-hit film about two sisters, royal curses, icy fingers and true love came out in 2013, or their parents who have been desperately hoping for some respite from the stand-out song, Let It Go.

Here it is – and for the youngsters, a treat is in store. A new adventure featuring an enchanted forest, lots of cute magical creatures, and some back story as to why Elsa can shoot ice from her fingertips is satisfying. For the adults, a new score without a tune that particularly stands out will be welcome. Perhaps, now, your Frozen fanatics will belt out more than one song.

Elsa (Idina Menzel) is happy being the Queen of Arendelle – but one day a strange, siren voice from the north seems to be calling her. As winds pick up and the weather turns, she realises she won’t be able to rest, nor keep her home safe, until she heads north to discover its source.

Directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee have taken the same ingredients that worked first time round: Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) provides some romance and softness as he tries to pluck up the courage to propose to Anna, while Anna and Elsa get on with the action.

There is a riff on time moving on, growing up, and how the seasons pass – a simple and well-pitched message for the age group who have grown up with the film.

But perhaps the most endearing character of this sequel is their sidekick, Olaf the Snowman (Josh Gad).

Olaf has a nice mixture of Stan Laurel’s goofiness – he even has a couple of twigs artfully arranged on the top of his head to scratch, like Laurel’s tufty hair.

He’s also a snowman designed to wobble as he walks, mimicking the gait of Charlie Chaplin.

He works as an antidote for the scenes the age group this film is aimed at might find a trifle disturbing – the giant rock monsters, the avalanches, and occasional cliffhanger… there he is, his carrot of a nose pointing jauntily our way and telling us all that we had no need to worry as Olaf has got this.

The film looks rich. The animation is gorgeously textured, with a sense of autumn about the colours and has some genuinely artistic moments as fractals of ice spin across the screen.

But the animation has one major flaw – and that is the look of Anna and Elsa. Why do they look so (whisper it) weird?

Their eyes are way too big for their oddly shaped heads, their noses swoop down from their giant foreheads like they are ski jumps. They are strange rendition of a human being, an annoying aside to an otherwise well-crafted and plotted set of characters.

Maybe the next film will be a live action version, and this oddly detracting element will be rectified.

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