Updated: May 11
4K ULTRA HD REVIEW / HDR FRAME SHOTS
The gang is back for “Frozen 2”: Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel), Princess Anna of Arendelle (Kristin Bell), snowman Olaf (Josh Gad), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and everyone's favorite reindeer Sven.
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4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, Digital copy; 2019; PG for action/peril and some thematic elements; streaming via Amazon Video/Prime (4K), Apple, Disney+, FandangoNOW (4K), Google Play (4K), Vudu (4K), YouTube (4K)
Best extra: “The Spirits of ‘Frozen 2’”
IDINA MENZEL and Kristen Bell return to voice Queen Elsa and Princess Anna of Arendelle, with Josh Gad as snowman Olaf, and Jonathan Groff as Kristoff. Chris Buck and scriptwriter Jennifer Lee return to direct.
We learned how Elsa came to terms with her magical abilities in “Frozen.” Seven years later, “Frozen II” shows how she got those powers to create instant winter, and freeze and shape water. Not to spoil the plot, but sisters Elsa and Anna find themselves on another perilous journey to save the people of their country, making new discoveries about themselves and life in general. Olaf, Kristoff, and reindeer Sven, join them. The film begins in near-operatic form, with a lengthy flashback to the royal pairs’ parents, and lots of singing.
Just the idea of returning to the sisters and Disney’s magical story is thrilling. Profitable, too, since “Frozen II” earned $1.325 billion internationally making it the highest-grossing animated movie ever. Variety reports it was the third-biggest film of 2019 after Disney’s “Avengers: Endgame” and the live-action “Lion King.”
But the story now relies on many too-familiar tropes. Older viewers have seen it all before, though youngsters, especially those who loved the first film, should have fun with it. The silly level has increased; sadly, there isn’t much for Kristoff to do except try and propose to Anna. They all find and explore an Elemental Forest ruled by spirits and the creatures that embody them like Gale, representing air/wind. Bruni the salamander, herald of fire, is adorable, but the spirit horse Nokk encounters, Honeymaren, enchants us all. It makes the perfect companion for the regal Elsa, and their scenes together are some of the best in the film. Despite some initial setbacks, the trio also make new friends galore.
“Frozen II” is good family entertainment.
(1&2) Young Anna and Elsa have built a forest out of snow and ice inside their bedroom, while King Agnarr and Queen Iduna watch. (3&4) Anna and Olaf sing "Some Things Never Change" and Kristoff joins in with reindeer buddy Sven.
Walt Disney Animation Studios provides a worthy set of extras to please viewers including a Sing-Along version of the movie, a song selection feature that jumps to favorites, and two music videos. A Multi-Language Reel shows Elsa’s “Into the Unknown” in 29 different languages. Unfortunately, the songs aren’t as powerful or memorable – but Olaf gets a couple of good, comic numbers.
There are outakes – behind-scenes looks at the cast recording lines and singing their songs; six deleted scenes and three deleted songs. The cast, writers and crew discuss the Scandinavian and Nordic folklore used in the story (fascinating) in “The Spirits of ‘Frozen 2,’” and Olaf provides fun facts and Easter Egg sightings in “Did You Know?” How does an artist depict air? Gale, the wind spirit, gets its own feature, “Gale Tests.”
Composer Christophe Beck is featured in “Scoring a Sequel,” combining a 91-piece orchestra and 30 choral voices.
Bonus features are found on the Blu-ray and digital platforms.
(1) Queen Elsa sings "Into the Unknown." (2) Grand Pabbie (Ciarán Hinds) the leader of the trolls arrives in Arendelle. (3) Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven embark on their journey to the Enchanted Forest. (4) After passing through the wall of mist, they come to the edge of the Enchanted Forest. Elsa says, "This forest is beautiful."
“Frozen II” looks great on Blu-ray; we have no complaints on that format. But, as usual, the movie shines in 4K (disc & digital) with stunning light, detail, contrast, and color. You can’t go wrong.
It was upconverted to 4K from a 2K Digital Image, with a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Color is saturated and expanded in HDR10 (disc) and Dolby Vision (digital), shifting dramatically from warm, autumn foliage – pumpkins that look ready to pick on-screen – to icy blues and white. It sparkles, and movement is flawless. The Dark Sea and march of the Earth Giants bring darker elements and shadowed backgrounds, yet no detail is lost.
Disney+ unveiled “Frozen II” (only HD at this point) early since kids are home during the coronavirus pandemic.
A Dolby Atmos soundtrack and 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio Track are available on both discs. The Atmos track adds extra sound dimension particularly through scenes with the various elements, especially wind and fire. Effects gust and crackle overhead; waves, from water scenes, crash around the room. Meanwhile, voices are clean and clear throughout.
Music dominates, but the overall experience – while not perfect on either track – is very, very good.
The 2013 “Frozen” remains special, flying in the face of other Disney princess stories. We get more of a sense of the “The Ice Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen – a much darker tale – in “Frozen II.” That’s all to the good, although it seems somewhat disjointed and falls back into fairytale stereotypes. Runtime is only 103 minutes, but some scenes seem grafted on to give a character something to do and add length.
That said, kids are still gonna love it! And adults will have fun the first time around as well.
— Kay Reynolds
(1) Kristoff tries to propose to Anna. (2) They encounter the Northuldra tribe. (3) The magical salamander Bruni. (4) Elsa tames Nokk the water spirit.
(1) Elsa and Anna form a truce between the soldiers and the Northuldra and telling them their mother Iduna was Northuldra. (2) Lieutenant Destin Mattias and Olaf. (3) After singing "Show Yourself" Elsa sees the frozen images of her memories. (4) Anna sings "The Next Right Thing." (5) Elsa freezes the raging waters from the dam before it can destroy Arendelle.