'Frozen 2': An epic sequel that surpasses the original
Let's face it - there never a chance that Frozen would NOT get a sequel. The 2013 made US$1.28bil (RM5.3bil) at the global box office to become the highest-grossing animated movie of all time (until the recent remake of The Lion King controversially knocked it off its icy perch), and became a massive global phenomenon that spawned and inspired countless toys, fashion and merchandise.
Oh, and don't forget THAT hugely popular song that had parents all over the world wishing their kids would just let it go and stop singing it once and for all.
If anything, it's a surprise that it took Disney six years to come up with a sequel to Frozen. Maybe it was to allow the Frozen fever to freeze over a little before thawing it out again, but in any case, for the first time in forever, they've actually made a sequel that actually lives up to the original, and in some instances, even surpasses it.
"This wasn't what I meant when I asked you to give me a hand."
Set three years after the events of Frozen, Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel), Princess Anna (Kristen Bell), ice merchant Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his reindeer Sven, as well as animated snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) have adjusted well to the more open, care-free nature of the kingdom of Arendelle.
But while Anna is happy to see everything stay the same, Elsa soon grows restless and longs to, er, let it go and search for something more than the mundane life of a queen. Unwittingly awakening an ancient magic, she leads the gang on an adventure into an enchanted forest that will uncover the truth about her ice powers and the history of Arendelle.
Everything about this movie feels bigger and more epic in nature compare to its predecessor. It has a sense of wonderment and adventure that far surpasses what the first one managed. The first Frozen focused very much on establishing Elsa as the Snow Queen, and also emphasised the love between the two sisters.
Frozen 2 paints on a much wider, gorgeously animated canvas, expanding the world of Arrendelle further, adding wildly imaginative fantasy elements, and finally letting Elsa cut loose with her powers.
Dr Strange's latest student was not a big fan of orange portals.
You thought Elsa building an ice castle with a wave of her hands was impressive? You haven't seen her REALLY let it go yet, which she does in Frozen 2. In this age of Marvel superheroes, Elsa is arguably the closest thing the Disney Princesses have to one. Now in full control of her ice powers, she finally gets to fully utilise them here, through some standout action sequences (and songs) involving earth giants and magical flames, among others.
In case you're worried that this has been turned into an action-packed superhero movie, don't worry. The heart and spirit of the original Frozen remains intact, with the bond between the two sisters taking centrestage once more, providing many of the movie's most inspiring and gut-wrenching moments.
Kristoff and Olaf may provide most of the comic relief - watch out for Olaf's one-man recap of the first movie, and Kristoff's hilarious parody of an 80's power ballad music video - but they too provide strong emotional moments that greatly influence the outcome of the story.
Wow, have you been working out, little seahorse?
Music and song has always been at the core of the Frozen franchise - the first movie had an impressive nine songs, this one has eight. But it's not the number of, er, numbers that matter here. Rather than just being excuses for the cast to burst into song, many of the songs here are actually integral to the story itself, often helping to amplify the emotions and desires of the characters (One in particular, is one of the saddest musical numbers in a Disney movie yet).
Sure, there are not many that are as timeless as Let It Go or even Do You Want To Build A SnowMan, though parents should be prepared for endless renditions of Elsa's Into The Unknown after watching this with your kids.
Look, if you were never a fan of Frozen in the first place, little of what I say here will convince you to watch it. But for children (and the young at heart) fans of the franchise, or even fans of good animated films in general, get ready to head into the unknown and embrace Frozen fever once again.