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Across the board this comes in ‘just a shade’ below everything in the first film – but it still proves to be a satisfying ‘winter warmer’.

In terms of songs, storyline and humour it falls just shy of the uber-successful 2013 original – but after a $350 million global opening it still melted the box-office this weekend.

And in terms of sequels this is well above average family fare – and rightly so as it works hard to retain the ‘heart’ of the first film.

Set three years later, Elsa (Idina Menzel), Anna (Kristen Bell), Olaf (Josh Gad), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and reindeer Sven, embark on a new journey beyond their homeland of Arendelle, when Elsa starts to hear a new sound from the north – and she can’t ‘let it go’.

This is due to Elsa unintentionally awakening magical elemental spirits in a mysterious enchanted forest – which banish the townsfolk from Arendelle after the spirits are angered.

This stems from a conflict in the past that involved Elsa/Anna’s parents, and will lead to a quest that could ultimately reveal the origin of Elsa’s icy powers, as they head ‘Into the Unknown’ – which is also the name of the main theme song to accompany the film. It’s catchy – as are one or two ‘pleasant’ others – but won’t have the same impact as the iconic Let It Go.

For the most part though the follow-up plays it fairly safe, with a decently-engaging storyline, even though it does seem to be a bit ‘padded’ for the first hour – coasting on the success of the original.

But once the gang stumble across the Northuldra tribe – led by Martha Plimpton’s (The Goonies) Yelana – and old warring Arendallian troops – headed by Sterling K Brown’s soldier Mattias – the truth to the kingdom’s past is revealed and the story finally kicks-in soon after, which evolves the roles of the main characters, particularly giving Bell’s Anna a more prominent role alongside Menzel’s Elsa.

And as side notes Gad’s Olaf keeps on the right side of annoying to once again provide the comic relief – and Groff’s under-utilised Kristoff spends the entire animation trying to propose to Anna.

Which leads to all the elements combining forces in a very competent way to solidly fashion out a worthy follow-up – that for the little ‘uns will still prove to be as ‘cool as ice’.

ESP Rating: 3.5/5

Gavin Miller

Voice Cast: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, Sterling K Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Martha Plimpton, Jason Ritter, Jeremy Sisto & Ciaran Hinds

Running Time: 1 Hr 43 Mins

Directors: Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee

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