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Blu-ray Reviews

HTF Blu-ray Review: FROZEN



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#1 of 8 Michael Osadciw

Michael Osadciw

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Posted September 30 2010 - 04:43 PM

image/id/372429/width/1000/height/500


FROZEN
Release Date: September 28, 2010
Distributor:Starz/Anchor Bay Entertainment
Packaging/Materials: Single-disc Blu-ray Keepcase
Year: 2010
Rating: 18A
Running Time: 1:45:00
MSRP: $34.99



THE FEATURE

SPECIAL FEATURES

Video

1080p high definition 16x9 2.40:1

HD

Audio

Dolby TruHD: English 5.1

Spanish mono

DD2.0, 16/48

Subtitles

English SDH, Spanish

N/A



The Feature: 4/5


As I write, a week has passed since I’ve watched this survival film.  Yet, I can still feel the cold winter air chilling my spine causing all of the bones in my body to shudder.  The memories are still fresh in my mind; it feels like yesterday…hell, even this morning…that I was stuck up there on that ski lift with my three friends, Dan, Parker, and Joe.  It’s fricken’ cold up here 50 feet up, stranded at night, all because we wanted to do one last Sunday night ski run before the resort closes for the week and reopens the coming Friday.


They shut the ski lift off as we hang here alone.  What the hell?  How could they have thought we got off?  How could they forget about us?  Bastards…


Now what they hell do we do?  I’m cold, a bit nervous, and I’ve got to take a piss.  Easy for me, but not so easy for Parker, the only girl among us.  She's really scared and now we’ve got to listen to her say all of these irrational things but not actually coming up with a solution.  Shut up, dammit.  Let me think!  They’ve turned the resort lights out on us and it’s just the moonlight giving us sight.  What happens when the snow moves in?  It’s getting colder out.  We are all starting to freeze.  Sitting in one spot hanging in the wide open on a chair lift isn’t my idea of a warm chalet.  My snow pants and ski jacket feel as if they aren’t insulating.  Maybe someone will come and do a run as a final checkout?


Hours pass, no one is here.  We are alone and freezing.  The bars of the lift are freezing.  The plush chair is hard on the butt.  What do we do, jump?  If we do, would we survive the 50ft drop?  Do we stay here all night and hope for someone the next morning?  We might risk freezing to death.  And if no one comes and the cold didn't kill us, we’d starve if we tried waiting until Friday.


I’m scared for my life now.  I’m not checking out from this world as a Popsicle on a lift.  What sort of way is that to die?  I’ll need to take my chances.  But what choices do I have?


Then I snap out of my daze.  I realize I was only thinking about the “what ifs” if it were actually me on that lift.  I know I’ve thought these things before – who hasn’t been left hanging in mid-air on a ski lift as some knob fell off the chair at the top or bottom?  But what if I really were stranded, what would I do?  Luckily for me I’m not.  Not so lucky for Dan, Parker, and Joe.


It’s easy to make friends with Dan, Parker, and Joe.  I didn’t know them before the movie, but as I sat with them in the chair, I felt I knew a lifetime’s worth.  I got to know a lot about them and I cared about them just as if they were my good friends.  That’s what makes me feel so distraught once the end credits rolled…once I realized I was no longer in that chair.  From director Adam Green who brought us the 2006 nightmare-hit Hatchet, Frozen is the survival thriller that leaves one faced with an ice-cold decision – one decision may be all you have between life and death.  Battling nature as your worst enemy, Frozen is, by far, the most unforgettable film of this year.


Video Quality: 4/5


Finally no green screens.  No CGI - only real environment all around the characters showing the vastness of the mountains.  The film is shot with real height between the chair lift and the ground and the actors acted their scenes up there in the cold of winter.  No CGI breath – this one’s for real.  One of my nitpicks of modern filmmaking is the overuse of computer effects to simulate real environments.  It’s not like we can’t tell the difference because most of the time we, the audience, can tell when it’s fake.  Fake doesn’t seem real.  I don’t live in a video game.  The cinematography of Frozen captures the surrounding with detail.  The image appears sharp – if not a bit to sharp – for what I expect.  I occasionally saw halos around objects but they didn’t look like the typical edge enhancement that we see.  Maybe it’s an artifact from something else in the chain, but I get the feeling that the image felt a bit digital.  There was one flawed instance in a scene around the 54min mark when Joe is talking to Parker – the lighter design of Joe’s toque could be seen as a “ghost” image across the black background whenever he moved his head.   On the flipside, for us analogue lovers film grain is ever apparent and there seems like no intention to rid the video of any of it.  That’s perfectly fine by me as I felt it added to the film experience rather than seeing an image wiped clean.  I’ve got to give thumbs up to skin tones, black levels, and grays…all looking very pleasing.  The white levels don’t appear blown out as there seems to be plenty of subtle details in the bright whites of the snow.  The aspect ratio is 2.40:1.


Audio Quality: 4.5/5


The sound design makes good use of the front and rear channels creating an immersive environment.  The wide open space is subtle when it should be, loud when need be, and heart-pumping when faced with life and death.  The LFE channel is powerful and tight, and dialogue is always clear.  You can tell that some of the dialogue was taken from the set as it has that “on location” sound and it’s integrated nicely.  The encode is Dolby TruHD 5.1.

Special Features: 2/5

The Blu-ray disc includes two audio commentaries.  The first is with writer/director Adam Green and actors Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers and Emma Bell and the second includes the director with his cinematographer Will Barratt and editor Ed Marx.  Both commentaries are enjoyable to listen to and sound very similar to the excitement these people show in the four featurettes (you can select one or play all).  For almost an hour and a half you can explore The Origins of Frozen, Three Below Zero, Shooting Through It, and Surviving Frozen.  There’s also a little feature here…not so hidden but unnamed.  Deleted scenes are more like scene extensions, and are about eight minutes here including the parts we see in the film.  All I can say is – great job with the editing.  I’m very happy Dan’s scene was cut because the film is far more effective without this! (I need to be vague or I’d spoil the film).  These scenes aren’t “finished” and don’t look very high def.  It doesn’t matter to me anyways.  Lastly, the theatrical trailer is also included.

Recap
The Feature: 4/5
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features:
2/5

I’m not sure if I will ever be able to ride a chair lift without thinking about this movie.  I wish I could be more specific about the film, but I have this thing in my head about blowing the storyline if I leak too much.  All I will say is that Frozen is worth checking out.  For me, its simplicity makes it very effective as a film and is worth a blind buy.  Sure, there will be skeptics out there who don’t like nature as the villain and would rather have some creepy mad man running around as a killer – Adam Green has already been there – Frozen is not that kind of movie.  I think the events are plausible and the story is written with this in mind.  It’s had quite an effect on me.  If I’m still curling up in my seat thinking about this movie over a week later, I know it struck the right chord with me.  Definitely worth picking up for a view.


Mike Osadciw

10.09.30


Warner Bros. Blu-ray Reviewer
Anchor Bay/Starz Entertainment Blu-ray Reviewer

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#2 of 8 David Wilkins

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Posted October 01 2010 - 04:17 AM

Michael,


Good, captivating review of a movie I'd most likely never have considered watching, even as a rental, without reading your piece here. I'm intrigued. Into the Netflix hopper it goes.





#3 of 8 RickER

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Posted October 01 2010 - 04:59 AM



Originally Posted by David Wilkins 

Michael,


Good, captivating review of a movie I'd most likely never have considered watching, even as a rental, without reading your piece here. I'm intrigued. Into the Netflix hopper it goes.





Ditto. Thanks for the review Michael.



#4 of 8 Aaron Silverman

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Posted October 01 2010 - 05:44 AM

I saw a trailer for this that looked intriguing.


I'm curious, though -- why only 2 stars for two enjoyable commentaries and over 90 minutes of extras?  That sounds pretty substantive.


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#5 of 8 cafink

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Posted October 01 2010 - 06:41 AM

I've never heard of this movie, but it sounds really great.  I just added it to my Netflix queue.  Thanks for the review.


 

 


#6 of 8 Neil Middlemiss

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Posted October 05 2010 - 01:08 PM

This is just $9.99 at Amazon right now!


http://www.amazon.co...m/dp/B003L1ZWG2


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#7 of 8 Michael Osadciw

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Posted October 07 2010 - 09:13 AM

For $10?  Worth it!


I've already watched it a second time.  I think the movie was a bit tougher to watch the second time around because I know what happens!!


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#8 of 8 Felix Martinez

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Posted October 08 2010 - 12:14 AM

Very tense thriller. Well done; really liked it!







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