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    Frozen Blu-ray Review

    Blu-ray Disney

    Mar 06 2014 03:13 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    Disney brings another animated musical to the screen in Frozen, a loose adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, a film which was recently voted the year’s best animated feature at the Academy Awards. It’s a tuneful saga, beautifully animated and with the usual mix of sweet, conflicted, and deceitful humans and Disney’s lovable animal and anthropomorphic pals, but in terms of a triumphant story or unforgettable images, the film is not on the top rung of the Disney/Pixar animated ladder.

    Title Info:

    • Studio: Disney
    • Distributed By: N/A
    • Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1
    • Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD
    • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
    • Rating: PG
    • Run Time: 1 Hr. 42 Min.
    • Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy
    • Case Type: keep case in a slipcover
    • Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
    • Region: ABC
    • Release Date: 03/18/2014
    • MSRP: $44.99

    The Production Rating: 4/5

    On the day of her coronation, young Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel), who has an amazing icy power in her fingertips, is so distraught that her beloved younger sister Anna (Kristen Bell) wants to marry Prince Hans (Santino Fontana) whom she’s only just met that day that she loses control of her powers and turns her kingdom of Arendelle into an ice kingdom doomed to perpetual winter. She then flees to the North Mountain and establishes an ice castle there where she intends to live permanently away from anyone she might harm with her as yet unbridled powers. But Anna comes looking for her sister not only to try to reconnect with someone she’s always loved but to get her to return Arendelle to more seasonal conditions. On the way she is aided in her search by ice mountaineer Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his faithful companion reindeer Sven and a playful, gregarious snowman Olaf (Josh Gad).

    Once again, trying to keep something secret which would make a person different from his kinsmen is the mistake that precipitates all of the tragedy and disaster that befalls the kingdom, and the screenplay by directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee along with Shane Morris doesn’t quite push forward that foolish decision quite hard enough as the tale works its way through fairly predictable journey motifs and the (too) slowly developing relationship between Anna and Kristoff. There is a nice third act surprise in store for viewers and a clutch of very entertaining musical numbers penned by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez including the Oscar-winning power ballad for Elsa “Let It Go!” as she declares the embracing of her powers (and with Wicked’s Tony-winning Idina Menzel singing and acting the role, it’s more than a little reminiscent in theme and power to her character’s “Defying Gravity” in that celebrated show), Kristoff’s troll family’s delightful “A Little Bit of Love,” and the utterly charming “In Summer” where snowman Olaf dreams of luxuriating in warmth (not realizing that it would spell his doom). It’s clear we’re in musical territory at the very beginning with a husky men’s chorus intoning “Frozen Heart,” and the sweetly lyrical “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?” makes a nice montage for the sisters as they grow into adulthood. Disney’s animators have outdone themselves with the representations of ice and snow running out of control (the formation of Elsa’s ice palace is one astoundingly animated sequence and a shipwreck at sea is the film’s most singularly captivating image), and character animation is reaching such levels of sophistication now with computers that certainly anything seems possible (the flopping toupee on the rascally Duke of Weselton is just one of the numerous sight gags that pays big dividends).

    The voice acting and singing is superb for all of the principals. Idina Menzel and Jonathan Groff have serious Broadway credentials, and Kristen Bell is certainly their equal in handling the vocal and dramatic chores of her starring role. Of course, Josh Gad steals all of his scenes as the continuously cheery, always well-meaning Olaf (expect to see him in a sequel or a succession of animated shorts), and Santino Fontana as the earnest Prince Hans, terrific Alan Tudyk as the snooty Duke of Weselton, and Swede trading post proprietor Oaken, hilariously voiced by Disney animation director Chris Williams, make the most of their opportunities.
    wolf chase sequence


    "Let It Go!" musical number

    Video Rating: 5/5 3D Rating: NA

    The film’s widescreen aspect ratio of 2.24:1 is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. As with most CGI-animated films, the image quality is spectacularly sharp, amazingly colorful, and without any artifacts. There is no banding to mar the imagery, just richly colorful and crisply detailed pictures that consistently amaze. Contrast has been dialed in to perfection. The film has been divided into 16 chapters.

    A note on this release: Frozen was available to theaters in 3D, but Disney has decided for now that a 3D version will only be offered via a digital streaming service (3D Blu-rays will be available in foreign markets and can be imported here). The film appears to have enormous potential for 3D effectiveness. With all of the razor sharp icicles which protrude constantly during the film, not to mention an ice saw at the very beginning forced downward at the screen, Sven’s antlers, Olaf’s carrot nose and twig hair and arms, snow and broken ice flung at the screen, and other possible protrusions, Elsa’s vast ice palace and the tall mountain slopes: all of this would be a playground for inventive 3D expressiveness. (Get a Horse!, the 3D short which precedes the feature and is on this release in 2D, likewise seems a veritable wonderland of 3D opportunities.) Shame on Disney for not making the 3D Blu-ray release easily available on release day in Region A.

    Audio Rating: 5/5

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix is reference quality from any perspective. The best use of available channels occurs with the delightful directionalized dialogue which dots the feature and really makes use of all of the front and rear channels. The delightful songs by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and the background score of Christophe Beck likewise get an immersive surround experience with the singers receiving a wide soundstage orchestra to accompany them (without ever intruding on their vocals). Numerous atmospheric effects similarly extend the effectiveness of the sound design in and through the surround channels.

    Special Features: 2.5/5

    Get a Horse! (6:00, HD): the hilarious Mickey Mouse short which amalgamates the older Mickey countenance with a fourth wall-breaking surreal modern slant on moviemaking and modern projection is offered (alas) in 2D.

    The Making of Frozen (3:18, HD): not what it appears to be: it’s a live-action musical number starring the film’s Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, and Kristen Bell extolling the virtues of a behind-the-scenes look at the film’s production but admitting they can’t accommodate us.

    D’frosted: Disney’s Journey from Hans Christian Andersen to Frozen (7:28, HD): directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee along with Disney animator Marc Davis’ widow Alice discuss the original plans for a Snow Queen ride at Disneyland and how some of those original ideas were incorporated into Frozen.

    Deleted Scenes (6:51, HD): directors Chris Buck Jennifer Lee introduce four planned but never fully animated sequences in the movie (shown in pencil sketches and click track). These may also be viewed separately.

    “Let It Go!” Music Videos (15:42, HD): four music videos of the song in various languages are sung by Demi Lovato, Martina Stoessel (two different ones), and Marsha Milan.

    Teaser Trailer (1:32, HD)

    Promo Trailers (HD): Sleeping Beauty: Diamond Edition, Muppets Most Wanted, The Fairy Pirate.

    DVD/Digital Copy: disc and code sheet enclosed in the case.
    "Love Is an Open Door" live performance

    Love Is an Open Door

    Overall Rating: 4/5

    A thoroughly enjoyable (if not quite in the same league as Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph or Tangled) animated feature, Frozen features sterling animation and a handful of tuneful melodies which can be enjoyed by the entire family. The lack of a 3D Blu-ray edition here and a less than stellar bonus feature package temper one’s enthusiasm for this release just a bit, but it’s still certainly recommended.

    Reviewed by: Matt Hough
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    27 Comments

    Thank you for the review, Matt.  I am looking forward to seeing this

    animated film for the first time. 

     

    I am importing the 3D release.  

    It's the only way (3D) to fully appreciate the Mickey Mouse short. I also ordered the UK version.

    I've ordered both this and the UK 3D release.  Thanks Matt.  I wish they had released a 3D combo back here, but I guess that's water under the bridge at this point.

    I've ordered both this and the UK 3D release.  Thanks Matt.  I wish they had released a 3D combo back here, but I guess that's water under the bridge at this point.

    Why do you need the US release too? I'd imagine the 2D disc that comes in the UK Combo pack will be identical to the US disc. Or perhaps you need the DVD and digital copy?

    I may be getting both too and it irks me because I shouldn't have to. The kids will want the DVD to play in the car and waiting for the UK release would be a bit of a bummer. Of course, we will also want it in 3D. So there's the UK version.
    Maybe we need to get 220 or Bombay to become a site sponsor.I see tons of posts now..."Where can I get a multi-region player...?"

    I've ordered both this and the UK 3D release.  Thanks Matt.  I wish they had released a 3D combo back here, but I guess that's water under the bridge at this point.

     

    I've got both pre-ordered too.  As soon as I see a list of the extras on the UK version, I think I'm going to cancel the US one.

    For those of you who pre-ordered from the UK, how much is shipping? I'm giving this serious thought.

    US 2D version - $22.96 + $3.98 shipping + $1.71 tax = $28.65

    UK 3D version - £15.00 + £3.08 shipping = £18.08 or $30.23 shipped to the US

    For those of you who pre-ordered from the UK, how much is shipping? I'm giving this serious thought.

     

    Might as well. Once I went region-free on BD...half my purchases are now Europe/Japan(and yes, Japan is A...but once you start importing...)

    Plus, Disney titles are generally Region A/B/C.

    I admit, I rarely order international releases, but I guess I'm going to have to on this one. Anyone have a good (reputable) source?  Is ordering from Amazon.Uk even a possibility?  Thanks.

    Yes, Matt, you can order from Amazon UK. They make it super easy.

    Part of me wonders if Disney will just double-dip this title somewhere down the line that would not only incorporate the 3D version, but also a lot more bonus features detailing this film's production. 

    Ordered from Amazon UK

    I think it's pretty obvious from the scarcity of supplements included here coupled with the lack of 3D that Disney is aiming for a Deluxe Release at some point in the future. The problem is we don't know when and they won't tell us. *sigh* Of course, we can't discount the possibility that they've made a commitment to streaming over Blu-Ray with this release, in which case there may never be another release. That's the thing: The darn movie is so good that those of us that want it on the shelf really can't take the chance on waiting for a nebulous future release that may never happen. Like others here I'll be purchasing the 2D domestic Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack and then importing the 3D UK release. (Talk about having a love/hate relationship with Disney right now!!!)
    Wow! That was my first purchase with Amazon UK and I have to say that that *was* super easy! I didn't even have to set up a new account!! It makes you wonder even more about the lack of a domestic 3D release ...

    I admit, I rarely order international releases, but I guess I'm going to have to on this one. Anyone have a good (reputable) source?  Is ordering from Amazon.Uk even a possibility?  Thanks.

    I live in Germany and order things from the USA. There is no problem. Payment info is taken from your credit card. Your address postage is determined and added to your total cost

    Wow! That was my first purchase with Amazon UK and I have to say that that *was* super easy! I didn't even have to set up a new account!! It makes you wonder even more about the lack of a domestic 3D release ...

     

    Just keep in mind 10-14 days is normal. I have had a few take a month.

     

    I think the quickest I ever had was bought Sunday night(already Monday over there) and in my mailbox Friday. 

    Well ... That's why I've also purchased the March 18th 2D domestic release. We won't be in a big hurry to get it in 3D.Still *really upset* with Disney right now ...

    And especially with its Oscar wins, I would think a fully-loaded edition of the film on Blu-ray would be a no-brainer. There has simply GOT to be one down the road.

    Thanks, Matt, for the great review.

     

    This is the first Disney animated film that truly left me with a post film high in over ten years.  I don't think the plot is the strongest in Disney's catalog, but the characters and the great inversion of Disney's usual final outcomes more than make up for it.

     

    You mentioned Wicked.

    The funny thing is, with Elsa, I do think they got the best of Wicked.  They put Idina/Elphaba's voice inside Kristen Chenowith/Galinda's body.

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    No 3D, no sale- and shame on Di$ney for releasing this early on 'digital'- AKA the new DIVX!

    It is disappointing that the two Disney films from the last year most worth getting on Blu-ray 3D (Oz and Frozen) are the two that seem to have had the most misguided home release strategies.

    It is disappointing that the two Disney films from the last year most worth getting on Blu-ray 3D (Oz and Frozen) are the two that seem to have had the most misguided home release strategies.

     

    So, you're calling it a "strategy", then?  That's............charitable.   :rolleyes: