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FROZEN 2 4K (no digital)
After seeing the first Frozen gross north of a billion dollars in worldwide box office, Disney's second bite at the apple was an inevitable one. And a lot of us afind ourselves in different positions than we did in 2013; the people from the first one have gone on to do other things, I've become a Dad, so now I have a little closer ear to the ground. But the film came out a few months back and made another pot of money and since then, the magical coronavirus has put everyone close to home, so now Disney has decided to push the film to its streaming service now, a couple of weeks after hitting video, so people can find things to do. It was a little hard for me to watch it with my kid, because of work things and other things, but we finally made it, so I guess a cure for the virus can't be far behind!
Jennifer Lee received the sole screenplay credit (and is one of 5(!) credited with the story) and directed the film with Chris Buck. As children, Elsa (Idina Menzel, Rent) and Anna (Kirsten Bell, Veronica Mars) hear a story from their father (Alfred Molina, Magnolia) about a battle with rival tribes in the Enchanted Forest. Years later after Elsa became Elsa, she hears a voice that is calling for her to be there. She takes Anna, Olaf (Josh Gad, Beauty and the Beast) and Kristoff (Jonathan Groff, American Sniper) with her, to find the voice and perhaps bring peace among the tribes.
I don't mind if a film proselytizes if it wants to, as the message about climate and harmony in Frozen II seems to have. But if you're going to deliver the message, at least have some creativity behind it to separate yourself from the pack. I think that's what Frozen II had in mind, and it came across (to this grown up, at least) feeling a little like a run of the mill story, an underwhelming sequel, rather than a worthy companion.
To be fair, there's a little bit of a strange paradox I guess that I have to explain. In a vacuum, Frozen II is a fine movie. Let's talk notes for a sec; Menzel is great and "Into the Unknown" is the film's tentpole song, it's played early and you remember it through the film, and she sings it magnificently. The dramatic notes the story wants to hit it does, but therein lies the problem; they are pretty standard as far as films like this go, and they are average, and then compare them to the ground the first film trodded upon, and it's a letdown.
The new additions in the film are nice, Sterling K. Brown (This is Us) plays the head of one of the warring tribes from the earlier days, and Evan Rachel Wood (The Wrestler) plays Iduna, Elsa and Anna's mother and she complements Bell and Menzel nicely. The characters voiced by Bell and Menzel explore different directions as well, where one seeks her truth while the other serves as a guardian of sorts, and this dynamic is not bad
But all in all, within the place of the first film and the story of this second, Frozen II feels a bit average. Even with the stipulation of attempting to live up to a formidable first act aside, there is not much of the effort to do that here, and thus, almost a note of messaging that feels even more out of place for a franchise that had a lot going for it.
The 4K Ultra HD:
Deferring to William Harrison's summation of this, as well as the audio, as I feel there is little I could really add upon. The UHD looks fantastic, but in glancing against the Blu-ray there wasn't much of a clear difference between the two presentations. The exterior shots look fantastic of course, and the Dolby Atmos Track shows off the music and the big-ass rock people in Act III rumble through the subwoofer and throw lots of boulders that make crashes or deep thuds in the dirt, and when the film gets going the Atmos track is great.
The extras are fine, but nothing spectacular. There is a Sing-Along option, and the outtakes (2:26) are recording studio flubs. "Did You Know?" (4:27) includes funny Olaf stuff with real tidbits, while the "Spirits of Frozen 2" (12:02) looks at the inspiration for this one, the challenges of illiustrating it, and the intent for the story. "Scoring a Sequel" (3:49) looks at the music, and five deleted scenes (17:58) include introductions, and are in preliminary sketch art. Two deleted songs (11:42) are OK, one perhaps could have gotten back into the mix, while "Into the Unknown in 29 Languages" (3:07) is just that. Two music videos (6:21) and test footage of Gale (3:56) rounds things out, along with the Blu-ray and digital code.
The first Frozen film was great. The second Frozen film was fine. Not good, more bad than good, but on the whole fine. Part of this is in part due to how good the first one was, given how average the second one comes off as for large chunks of time. Technically, the UHD looks and sounds good (but hardly worth the additional cash to upgrade over), and the supplemental materal could have used some cast participation. But look, you're in your house for large chunks of your time and you're there with your children, so may as well throw it on accordingly.