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Found myself surprisingly liking the first 'Snow Queen' film from 2012, though it will never go down as one of my favourites. The second 'Snow Queen' from 2014 is actually not as bad as the review summary seems to imply (which is an admittedly corny play-on of the film's title 'The Magic of the Ice Mirror'), it's pretty decent but of the two films the superior one is the first.
There are things that bring 'The Snow Queen 2: The Magic of the Ice Mirror' down. Several of the first film's characters return here, but they are mostly reduced to cameos and only seem to be there to tie in with the first film. This does clutter the film somewhat and distracts from more interesting characters like Orm and his grandmother, while some of them are entertaining others didn't add anything. Gerda frankly could have been left out entirely because she barely has anything to do.
Storytelling isn't as good either. Not awful certainly, there are tense, fun and heart-warming parts, some of it is not too hard to follow and the messaging is beautifully done, being interesting and giving the film heart. The pacing does tend to be a bit too slow though and there also tends to be a clumsily disjointed and muddled feel to the storytelling that doesn't make the film as focused as ought. Parts of the dialogue are corny and some of the music choices don't quite gel.
However, the animation is great. If there is anything that is an improvement over the first, it is that the character designs are more appealing and refined with smoother movement. Once again the colours are lavish and atmospheric, the backgrounds are meticulous in detail and there was certainly a lot of attention put into the little things as well as the big effects. Much of the music, mostly the scoring, is rousing, haunting and rousing.
As said, 'The Snow Queen 2: The Magic of the Ice Mirror' does have some heart, fun and tension and the message is a good, clear and well-intended one delivered in a way that makes its point but not in a preachy way.
Orm is an interesting character, the entertainment value and conflicted edge the writing brought makes him more than a standard archetype. The grandmother steals all her scenes. The voice acting is serviceable.
In summary, not exactly magical but not a sequel to be left cold by. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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