Blu-Ray Review: Frozen

frozencoverElsa, Anna, and Olaf.  You know the names.  “Let It Go.”  You know the song.  Everything about Frozen permeated pop culture and society to such a degree that it was almost impossible to avoid.  Love it or loathe it, you’ve probably seen the film, possibly multiple times, and formed a definitive opinion about it.  In fact, having sold 32.5 million units in it’s first day of home release, there’s a good chance that you already own it.  Having said all that, there’s nothing that I can say that will sway your opinion one way or the other.  However, I can say that I fall into the “love it” camp, and still found myself disappointed with the home video release.

If all you care about is the movie, then this is a great set.  The Collector’s Edition contains the Blu-Ray, the DVD, and a Digital HD copy of the film.  Rest assured, the amazing visuals translate flawlessly to home video.  With it’s gorgeous production design animated meticulously, this is a perfect film to utilize as a demonstration for your home entertainment system.  However, if you’re looking for insight into the film itself, there’s not really much being offered.

Adding insult to injury is the feature called “The Making of Frozen.”  One would be forgiven for thinking that this feature is actually a look at the making of Frozen.  In fact, the box describes this feature as a place to “learn the secret of how the movie was made in this musical extravaganza.”  That sounded great, until I got the end of the musical number I thought was introducing the actual documentary.  It turns out that the entire bonus feature is the one song building to the ultimate punchline, “the secret,” which I will ruin now…”we don’t know.”

Yes, it’s an elaborate song and dance number through the halls of Disney animation, even featuring a cameo from John Lasseter.  Josh Gad, Kristen Bell, and Jonathan Groff sing there way through the building, amassing an array of singers and dancers along the way.  And it ends with them revealing that they don’t know how the movie was made, and then walking away.  Literally, that was it.  There is no actual making-of feature on the set at all, despite advertising to the contrary.  It was a huge bait and switch, and one I found very disappointing.

(Film Clip: Let It Go)

That’s not to say that there aren’t any interesting features at all.  There’s actually a fascinating, albeit very short, feature called D’frosted: Disney’s Journey from Hans Christian Andersen to Frozen.”  I consider myself pretty knowledgeable when it comes to Disney history, but I was actually surprised by this one.  It turns out that there was a brief development period where Walt was putting together an attraction for Disneyland inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen.”  It would have been an air-conditioned respite from the So Cal heat, featuring whimsical depictions of a mystical ice world.  There was a significant amount of production art created for this project, and this bonus feature showcases quite a bit of it.  The Queen of the title even bears a striking resemblance to Elsa, despite the director’s insistence that they hadn’t seen this art prior to their designs.  I love learning about lost pieces of history such as this.  While I wish this segment was longer, it was compelling enough to almost make me forgive the “Making Of” misdirection.

(Film Clip: The Party is Over)

Other features include a few deleted scenes, such as an alternate introduction for Kristoff, a sequence featuring Elsa in full villain mode, and an early scene involving shoes that really showcased the sisterly connection between Elsa and Anna.  They’re interesting little insights into the development process, but nothing truly fascinating.  Rounding out the extras are two videos for Let It Go, one by Demi Lovato and the other by Martina Stoessel, and of course, the Mickey Mouse short, Get A Horse.

Considering the huge impact this film had upon it’s release, I really expected a truly packed Blu-Ray experience.  Maybe that’s coming down the road, but for now, this is only worth owning for the movie itself.  It’s great to see Disney at the top of their game, and I truly believe kids of today will be talking about this film in 30 years, just as kids who grew up with Little Mermaid still talk about that classic film.  Disney has created a timeless masterpiece, and while this particular set doesn’t have a lot of extras to offer, the film alone is more than enough to make this a worthy purchase.

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