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Opinion: Released, rumored sequels up against their own hype

This is part of a weekly series called “Pop Opinions” where The Lantern offers its take on the week’s pop culture news.

Disney to thaw ‘Frozen’ sequel?

In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Idina Menzel (the voice of Elsa) spilled some seriously spicy beans when she hinted that a “Frozen” sequel might be “in the works.”

The statement quickly attracted attention, generating more than a few headlines and a slew of social media posts.

And then she backpedaled.

“I just assume because it’s so successful, that that’s what they’re up to,” she amended.

At first, I believed her. These things happen all the time: stars go unbriefed by producers, they spout out some dicey information that might or might not be true, and then they offer up a caveat. But Menzel is much too knowledgeable, much too experienced to flub up so badly.

My opinion? It was all a ploy, plotted out by the “Frozen” producers. Think about it: She made one little statement, and suddenly, millions of people are talking. Disney didn’t have to pay for any publicity, they didn’t have to create a trailer, and they might or might not have even begun the production process, but nevertheless, the “Frozen” spark has been reignited.

In truth, Disney would be stupid not to create a “Frozen” sequel. The original film was an astronomical success, topping charts and breaking records left and right. It grossed over $1 billion at the box office and its soundtrack has sold more than 3 million copies, but the money didn’t stop there. “Frozen” has grown into its own franchise, with everything from backpacks to toothpaste. The film’s colorful characters are recognized internationally  and now canonized as de facto Halloween costumes for kids — to say that it is a phenomenon would be an understatement.

So why not create a sequel and double the profits? Cinematic sequels are notorious for their poor quality, plagued with cheap story lines, recycled settings and characters, and an overall lack of charm. But judging by the quality of the original film, I feel as though “Frozen” might rise above that stereotype.

Disney spared no expenses during the original “Frozen” production. With big name voice actors and actresses, unparalleled visuals and a progressive and nontraditional plot (sisters before misters!), “Frozen” is a modern-day masterpiece, popular among all age groups and demographics.

So is “Frozen 2” happening? I don’t know — no one does. But I’d say that it’s more than likely. Even if the sequel were a massive flop, countless children would flock to theaters to see the flick. They’d drag their parents, grandparents and friends. There would be a resurgence of “Frozen” merchandise, and the empire would continue.

Sequel leaves much to be hungry for

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” was the cinematic equivalent of those mass-produced slices of strawberry cake you find littered across the desserts table at westernized Chinese buffets. Pretty, colorful and tempting — but utterly void of flavor, charm or heart.

The film was well done. Performances from Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in particular were excellent. The special effects were seamless and astounding, and the soundtrack — curated by pop singer Lorde — was spot on.

But somewhere along the dragging scenes and dense writing, the viewer gets lost. With “Catching Fire” premiering so long ago, it’s hard to even remember where we left off. I found myself wondering a few very important questions:

“Why is Katniss acting in these promotional videos? Why is Effie bogged down and wearing a handkerchief on her head? What happened to Prim’s unibrow?”

The film starts out with too many questions, and it fails to answer any of them. The viewer is expected to have just finished watching or reading “Catching Fire,” and that’s likely not the case for the casual moviegoer.

Splitting the film into two parts also seems to have been a mistake for the successful movie franchise. “Mockingjay” itself was not a long book, and there simply isn’t enough content for two feature-length productions. The scenes are long and heavy, and once the credits roll, you begin to question whether your $10 was justifiably spent.

I’ve got high hopes for “Part 2,” and although the yawn-worthy money trap that was “Part 1” was hardly worth my time, I still suggest seeing it, as it’ll set the stage for what I want to be an epic final installment.

Late actor gets proper treatment

Set for release on Dec. 19, “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” will be one of the last films to feature the late, great Robin Williams.

In light of the comedian’s recent death, it’s pleasing to see that the producers of “Secret of the Tomb” are not capitalizing on his death by advertising the film as one of his last works of art.

Trailers for the film mention nothing about this being one of Williams’ final films. In fact, though he appears in several scenes in the trailers, his involvement is in no way highlighted.

At first glance, that might seem disrespectful.

But to do so, to highlight his involvement, would have been a cheap way of drawing in countless viewers who would’ve for no other reason planned on seeing the film. Robin Williams is not a gimmick. He was an actor, and it’s nice to see that he’s being treated as one.

Personally, I thought the first “Night at the Museum” film was stupid. I didn’t even bother with the second. So despite Williams’ involvement, I won’t waste my time with the third.

But that’s beside the point.

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