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Parental Guidance: Frozen II Review

When it comes to the bond of sisterhood, Frozen II has zero chill

Another sequel no one asked for slides into theatres this weekend, offering families a chance to return to the magical quasi-Scandinavian land of Arendelle and the adventures of royal sisters Elsa and Anna and their loyal friends, Sven the reindeer, Olaf the snowman, and Kristoff the sidekick.

So, should you take your kids to see it?

As parents and film fans, we want to share the best of the cinematic world with our kids. But when you haven’t seen a new movie yet, how do you know if you should take your kids? Obviously every kid is different, and they change with age; the same child who had to be escorted, weeping, out of Guardians of the Galaxy might completely fall in love with Deadpool two years later (true story). But it’s also true that movie marketing can be misleading – no-one wants to be that mom who had to leave Pan’s Labyrinth with an emotionally-scarred 10-year-old. With this ongoing feature, we’ll aim to offer some loose, spoiler-free, age-by-age guidelines as to what parents might expect from new features marketed to families, so you can make the best judgment call for your youngsters.

It’s been six years since Frozen’s happily-ever-after, but all is not well in Arendelle. A flashback within a flashback tells us of a mysterious and dark history, including war with another people. Back in the present, a mysterious voice is calling to Elsa and she’s once again drawing away from Anna and their friends, sparking Anna’s deep-seated fear of abandonment. Past rifts must be healed, but who’s the one to heal them? And will the cost of doing so divide Elsa and Anna for good?

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Against a stunningly gorgeous backdrop of blazing autumnal reds and oranges, Frozen II takes us out of Arendelle and into the surrounding landscape, where secrets (and glaringly obvious plot “twists”) are revealed and adventures are had. This sequel cleverly weaves in more mature themes of growing up, reconciling with the past, and finding strength within yourself rather than relying on outside forces to guide you, giving fans that are six years older a more meaty plot, while still including enough simple slapstick and adorable animal antics to please the younger generation who discovered Frozen on streaming. (Victor Stiff’s full review is here.)

So, should you take your kids to see it?

Under 10s

If they haven’t already seen Frozen, you can easily wait until this comes out on Disney+. That said, it’s a classic Disney good-for-all-ages tale, and even the toddlers in our screening were rapt during the movie. If your young one(s) already love Elsa and Anna, this is a can’t-miss.

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Teens and tweens

It’s been a few years since our newly minted, surly teenager firmly declared all things Frozen to be “for babies”. Yet, even they leaned over to me during this film’s soaring anthem “Into the Unknown” and whispered, “I am having feelings”. They might put on a show of not caring, but the themes of growing up and taking responsibility for past mistakes will resonate with these ages.

Adults

Besides the gorgeous visuals, there’s plenty here for adults too. The plot contains few surprises, but the twists at least keep things moving briskly, and there are a few references and callbacks sprinkled throughout that seem aimed squarely at the grownups in the room.

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Wee time: On the whole this is a pretty tight 1:43, but if your little one must have a break, the time to go is when Kristoff starts singing his solo. It’s a clever sendup of classic 90s ballads, with some cute visual throwbacks to videos of the era, but missable.

Bottom Line: Whether you see it now or stream it later, this is a sequel worth watching. There is a short sequence at the end of the final credits, but it’s skippable.

Jenny Bullough is a movie fan and mom based in Toronto. She let her kids watch Deadpool at an inappropriately young age and stands by her choices. 



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