By John H. Foote
Given my deep dislike for the Disney Studios and their “suits” one might think I am the wrong person to review their films. Believe it or not I am able to distance myself from the powers that be and be fair and impartial to all their films. While I loathe that the studio is governed entirely by greed, governed with a mentality that money is a God to be worshiped rather than believing in artistry and creating, their films are often very good because their artists are the very best in the business.
A quick refresher on why I despise Disney:
- Their purchase of Lucasfilm was a question of intense greed meeting intense greed. George Lucas is a greed monger, so is Disney, so selling Disney his name, rights to his films and library was simply transferring ownership from one greed machine to another. Almost at once Disney announced there would be more Star Wars films, and indeed they have given us more. Rumour has it they will next start in on Howard the Duck (1986) which is just what the world needs.
- Their partnership with Pixar ensures their name is forever attached to the Pixar product therefore they can merchandise the hell out of the films created by the geniuses at Pixar. So many Pixar films have won the Oscar as Best Animated Feature, to which Disney lays claim. No, the superb Toy Story quartet, Monsters Inc. (2001), Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007), WALL E (2007), the astounding Up (2009), Brave (2012), Inside Out (2015), and Coco (2017) are magnificent examples of the new art form. No question the computer animated films created by the Disney/ Pixar artists are brilliant. Up (2009) was the year’s best film according to this critic, a film for the ages.
- Buying Fox was another attempt at absolute domination of the film business, and the ability to control product. They now own the X Men franchise, the Planet of the Apes franchise, the Avatar franchise, which is terrifying. How long before the remakes start being cranked out? Soon, count on it. Fox was once the creator of edgy work, and Fox Searchlight was a giant in the Indy world, giving us such work as the extraordinary Jo Jo Rabbit (2019). That might cease.
- They bought Miramax to ruin it, to bring them down. Annoyed at the brothers Weinstein, Disney bought out the makers of Pulp Fiction (1994) with promises of sixty million dollars each up front and incredible freedom making films. Yeah right. backed Michael Moore’s incendiary Fahrenheit 9/11 (2003). The freedom did not happen and when their contract came due, the Weinsteins were squeezed out of the company they created, a company they named after their parents. Nice. So, the brothers went off and started The Weinstein Company, dominated the Oscars for a few years before Harvey was revealed to be a pervert and rapist.
- The hypocrisy of good old Walt. Rumoured to be anti-Semitic, Disney was no friend of the Hebrew culture. This might be why the Academy never honoured Walt Disney with what he wanted, a Best Picture Oscar. He thought it was going to happen in 1964 when Mary Poppins was nominated for a whopping 13 Academy Awards, but it did not come to pass, crushing Walt.
- Finally, I promise, their remaking of their classic animated films to live action. Well sort of live action. Let us be clear, the animals created for The Lion King (2019), Dumbo (2019), The Jungle Book (2016) and The Lady and the Tramp (2019) were not live action at all, but computer-generated images, special effects. What really bugs me is the greed. These are not re-imaginings of the films, but remakes, for no reason. Well, for no reason other than corporate greed.
OK rant over. What did I think of Frozen II?
Redundant, derivative the film is less a sequel and continuation of the story of the characters than, I don’t know, an excuse to see these characters again, plunk in some very average songs and sell it to the kids? Of course, because this idea was hatched before there was even a screenplay!!
Queen Ilsa (Idina Menzel) and her sister Anna (Kristin Bell) have rule of Arrendelle and are excellent rulers. But a song their mother sang to them is in their heads and they must find out why. Told to go as north as they can go, a place where a dangerous, magical mist hangs over the land is where they journey. What happens is that long ago promises that were broken, betrayals that took place are reaching from the past to impact the future. When a nightmare hits the Kingdom, off they go into the unknown.
Anna goes with her of course, and poor Kristoff must go to. In his possession is a ring with no right moment to pop the question to the woman he adores. Of course, the ever-talking snowman (Josh Gad) who longs for summer travels with him, existing to annoy everyone in his path. He does just that. While a scene stealer and charmer in the first film, his snowman, Orloff is aggravating in the worst possible way.
When they arrive at their destination the film becomes as predictable as a paint by numbers colouring book.
If Frozen was a snow cone, this is melted slop.
You do not cast a voice like Idina Menzel and not turn loose her magnificent voice. But Disney did. Nor do you cast the wonderful Kristin Bell and give her so little to do. Why waste their substantial talents. While pretty, with gorgeous animation, the film is a colossal snore. I doubt even little girls arriving in their high-priced Frozen dresses will be happy, or awake.
Why waste our time?
The two hours I spent watching this is gone forever, and I could have watched two thirds of The Irishman again! For whatever reason “Let It Go” echoes in my mind … let it go … let it go John, it is out of your control.
One of Canada’s best-known film critics, he spent 10 years on TV as co-host of Reel to Real, and another 10 in education (still writing as a critic) as Director of the Toronto Film School, where he created the curriculum for three programs and taught film history. Film has always been his passion. He has written for magazines such as Toronto Life, Fashion and Hollywood North, been quoted in the Los Angeles and New York Times, as well as the major Toronto dailies. Online he has written for such sites as The Wrap, In Contention, Awards Circuit and The Cinemaholic. His first book Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker, was published in 2010. His second Steven Spielberg: American Film Visionary, a massive volume, has just found a publisher and he’s working on American Film Renaissance – 1967-2018 with Nick Maylor. As a critic, he has had the good fortune to interview directors and stars such as Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Emma Stone, Jane Fonda, and countless others. As he quips, “Everyone but Jack Nicholson!”