Disney’s animated musical based on The Snow Queen was released over Thanksgiving weekend. Initial projections were that it had less hype than Tangled and wouldn’t perform as well. Fast forward to March, the film has passed the $1 billion mark worldwide, doubling the success of Tangled both domestically and internationally. For the first time in forever, Walt Disney Animation Studios took home an Oscar for Best Animated Feature.
Disney’s adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson classic tells the story of two princess sisters named Anna and Elsa. Elsa was born with the magically ability to create ice with her fingertips, but after endangering the life of young Anna her parents decide to keep her powers a secret. The two grow up estranged from each other, finally meeting again at Elsa’s coronation. When Elsa accidentally reveals her powers, she flees into the mountains to live alone, unaware that her kingdom was left behind in permanent winter. It’s up to Anna to try to set things right, assisted in her journey by an ice seller named Kristoff, his reindeer Sven, and a peculiar snowman named Olaf.
Frozen has been available to own through digital retailers since February 25th, but on March 18th Frozen arrives on home video in a Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack carrying a “Collector’s Edition” banner. Disney is also selling the DVD by itself. While the film was made in 3D and is being released on 3D Blu-Ray in other countries, Disney has yet to announce a 3D Blu-Ray release in the United States.
There’s an interesting anomaly that appears while watching the film on your TV at home that wasn’t very apparent on a large movie theater screen. Production on Frozen was sped up, originally planned for a Summer 2014 release. In theaters, I never would have guessed that Walt Disney Feature Animation was pressed for time, but on a smaller screen that allows your eyes to take in everything at once, you can tell through some of the background characters that they weren’t able to provide the full attention that normally would be given. The lead characters are animated flawlessly, but side characters feel like they popped out of a Disney Fairies movie instead of, say, Wreck-It Ralph. However, it’s still just as easy to get lost in the story and bad background characters never hurt the appeal of Beauty and the Beast.
Disney’s dazzling 1080p picture shines on Blu-Ray in high definition. Colors and detail are vibrant and flawless. I didn’t notice any aliasing or banding in the presentation. The film is presented in its original ultra-widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1.
The standard definition DVD presentation is taken directly from the digital source. 85% of consumers will experience the film this way and won’t be disappointed by how it looks.
The English language track is presented on Blu-Ray in 7.1 DTS-HD surround sound. This mix uses rear speakers well and occasional bass. The musical arrangements for songs allow the orchestra to fill the room while the vocals originate from the front speakers. The other language options are French and Spanish, both presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. There is also an English Descriptive Video Service track in stereo.
The DVD presents English, French and Spanish in Dolby Digital 5.1 and the stereo English Descriptive Video Service track.
The days of deluxe 2-disc sets for new Disney animated films are long gone, but fans who were expecting any form of a behind-the-scenes look into the making of Frozen will be very disappointed by the bonus material Disney has assembled for this “Collector’s Edition.”
– Get a Horse! – The wonderful 6-minute short that accompanied Frozen in theaters is presented here, featuring the voice of Walt Disney as Mickey Mouse for the first time since Fun and Fancy Free in 1946.
– The Making of Frozen – A 3-minute music video directed by Kenny Ortega with a new song called “The Making of Frozen” by the Lopez’s. The video features Jonathan Groff (Kristoff), Josh Gad (Olaf) and Kristen Bell (Anna) singing and dancing through Walt Disney Feature Animation, where animators serve as backup singers and dancers. Be on the lookout for cameo’s from the creative forces behind the film, but don’t expect any useful information.
– D’frosted: Disney’s Journey from Hans Christian Andersen to Frozen – A 7 minute look back at Disney’s history with The Snow Queen. A conceptualized Disneyland attraction by Mark Davis called “The Enchanted Snow Palace” is presented by Alice Davis. Scrapped plans for an Andersen biopic, which may have featured an animated Snow Queen sequence, are also briefly mentioned.
– Deleted Scenes – Four deleted scenes are presented with storyboards and optional director introductions, totaling 6 minutes.
- Never Underestimate the Power of Elsa – From an early treatment where Elsa was a villain who interrogates a character named Admiral Westergard’s army men.
- The Dressing Room – A scene showing adult Anna trying to borrow a dress from Elsa’s closet for her coronation.
- Meet Kristoff #1 – Kristoff’s original introduction took place during a search for the lost princess Anna, where he was after a reward for any news of the queen.
- Meet Kristoff #2 – Kristoff’s other deleted introduction finds him climbing a mountain to find a summer vacation spot before the storm.
Meet Kristoff – Frozen Deleted Scene on Disney Video–
– Frozen Deleted Scene on Disney Video</a>- Music Videos
- “Let It Go” by Demi Lovato (English) – The former Disney Channel star sings her version of the Oscar winning song in an abandoned house.
- “Libre Soy” by Martina Stoessel (Spanish) – Disney Channel star from Argentina (Violetta) performs the Spanish version of “Let It Go” from a recording studio.
- “All’Alba Sorgerò” by Martina Stoessel (Italian) – Not a typo, the same international Disney Channel star performs the Italian version of “Let It Go.” It’s basically a shot-for-shot remake of the Spanish video in a different language.
- “Bebaskan” by Marsha Milan (Malaysian) – The reality series contestant from Malaysia performs their version of “Let It Go” on a wintery set. Of the four, it’s the most visually impressive music video.
Libre Soy – Frozen Karaoke on Disney Video
– Original Teaser Trailer – This first look at Frozen features Olaf and Sven in a race to get the carrot. Some of the animation is reused in the film in a different location, but the mostly original teaser is worth including on the set.
Trailer – Frozen on Disney Video
For the Disney fans who have yet to adopt Blu-Ray, the only accessible bonus features are Get a Horse!, the four music videos, and the Teaser Trailer.
Menus & Packaging
The menu for both the Blu-Ray and DVD are practically identical, with a flurry of snowflakes that approach the screen with the films characters inside.
The Blu-Ray combo pack arrives in a double-sided case with an embossed slipcover. There is an icy effect to the packaging when the light hits it just right. A sticker on the cover advertises “Tons of Extras You Didn’t See in Theaters.” The back of the case makes mention of a “Blizzard of never-before-seen extras.” Both statements are obviously false, especially the phrase “never-before seen” since most of the bonus features were released online for free prior to the discs release.
There are two inserts inside the case. One is an advertisement to join the Disney Movie Club. The other is a folded Disney Movie Rewards code, which advertises your ability to purchase the soundtrack for $7 through the site, redeem your digital copy (Disney Movies Anywhere isn’t mentioned), and enter the “Frozen Fight the Freeze” sweepstakes. Digital copy redemption is possible through iTunes, Amazon, Vudu and Google Play.
The trailers that automatically play after selecting your language are for Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition, Muppets: Most Wanted, and The Pirate Fairy. From the “Extras” menu option, there are additional ads for Disney Movie Rewards, Disney Parks, Adventures by Disney, and Disney Nature’s Bears.
The DVD is enhanced with Disney’s Fast Play. Choosing this option plays the same trailers before the film, which is followed by all of the DVD’s bonus features and the additional trailers.
As is the recent trend, neither disc features any artwork. The Blu-Ray is the same old shade of blue we are accustomed to with white letters. The DVD is the most boring shade of grey imaginable with clear text, revealing the backside of your DVD beneath.
Frozen is one of the best Disney animated films in a long time and is proof that Walt Disney Animation Studios is back at the top of their game. While only time can tell if the success will last, Frozen has enjoyed “instant classic” status so far. Picture and audio quality will please everybody. However, Disney’s assemblage of bonus features is severely lacking. A few deleted scenes are the closest we get to a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film. The directors briefly mention earlier treatments with almost no insight into how the story evolved over time. The fact that the Deluxe Edition soundtrack sheds more light on the production than the Blu-Ray does is laughable and Disney Home Entertainment should be ashamed of their lack of effort with this release. Other than the film itself, there is little worth collecting in this “Collector’s Edition.”
The Frozen Combo pack is available for pre-order. The film is available for digital download.
Alex is currently watching and reviewing all of Disney’s films in chronological order. You can follow along here.