The Film (5/5)
Disney began a renaissance of sorts with the film Tangled in 2010. They followed that film up with the simple, but similarly excellent Winnie the Pooh, and last years nostalgic for people like me masterpiece Wreck it Ralph. The last 3 years for Disney's Animation department things have been going pretty damn good, and who could have guessed they were about to get substantially better.
Disney Animation's 2013 release Frozen, and I will simply not mix words on my opinion of this, is Disney's best animated film since 1995's The Lion King. It is simply that good of a film. Of course, at the time of the Blu-ray release it has taken home numerous awards including the Oscar for best animation (beating out Miyazaki's The Wind Rises, and since I haven't seen that yet, I can't argue). The film is an excellent retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen.
Frozen tells the story of Elsa the eldest Princess and Heir to the Kingdom of Arendelle. She was born with an affliction that allows her to produce and control winter weather conditions such as snow and ice as if by magic. While on a diplomatic voyage, the King and Queen of Arendelle perish leaving Elsa and her sister the younger Princess Anna orphaned in the castle. The story than picks up many years later on the day of Elsa's coronation. On what should be a happy day for Elsa, Anna, and Arendelle, tragedy strikes. Anna in a rush to make a connection with a fellow human being after years of solitude falls immediately in love with Prince Hans of the Southern Isles, the two agree to marry, but Elsa is angered at her sisters abrupt and foolish decision. The sisters argue, and Elsa accidentally unleashes her powers on an unsuspecting public turning Arendelle's current summer weather into a permanent winter. It is up to Anna, with the assistance of ice trader Kristoff, his reindeer Sven, and sentient snowman Olaf to help bring Elsa back, and restore Arendelle from it's eternal winter.
Watching the film in theaters for the first time earlier this winter I and my children were very easily taken in by the excellent animation, the catchy as all Hell songs, and the almost anti-Disney princess take on the Disney Princess genre. I did wonder if it would hold up to repeat viewing, as I found myself similarly entranced by the Princess and the Frog only to be let down by later Blu-ray viewings of that one. I am happy to report that it holds up extremely well to repeat viewings (seriously, my kids have watched this probably 5-6 times since the Blu-ray was dropped at our door.) Not only that, but the music does something that all great songs in musicals should do which is push the narrative forward when viewed in the context of the film, but also be able to work as independent songs outside of the structure of the film. The songs in Frozen are catchy, and when they play in our car I found not only my kids singing along with them, but them getting frequently caught in my head as well.
Frozen is simply the best film the Disney camp has produced on all fronts in a very long time. It is not a film whose magic could very well be easily reproduced, because while it does replicate the musical animation formula used to great success by the Mouse House over the last few decades, it changes things up in a such a way that it feels like a more polished version of the Anti-Disney Princess narrative that can be felt in films like Tangled and Pixar's Brave. While Winnie the Pooh had fine simple hand drawn animation, Frozen pushes the limits of what Disney can do what 3D animation. It is a film that is just stunning to look at, with an excellent narrative, and catchy tunes that work in and out of the film. Frozen is a Disney film that will go down as a classic in the cannon for decades to come.
Disney brings Frozen to Blu-ray in a stunner of a 1080p AVC encoded transfer in the films OAR. It has excellent colors that accurately represent the theatrical viewing experience, in addition detail is fantastic all the way around, as are the black levels at play here.
The film also a similarly wonderful DTS-HD 7.1 MA track in English. This track is fantastic all the way around the films dialogue comes through crisp and clear, as does the music both score and songs, and all effects. I did not detect any issues with the audio track on my viewings.
I guess Disney is saving the supplements for some bombastic 3D edition somewhere down the road. Right now though we get a few extras. The disc kicks off with a 3 minute epk called the Making of Frozen it's musical in nature, and features the stars, and never really does what it says it's going to do. We then get a 7 minute documentary called D'Frosted which details Disney's history in attempting to adapt the Snow Queen. There are 7 minutes of deleted scenes, the short that preceded the film in theaters Get A Horse starring Mickey and friends, and the films trailer. There are also for some reason 4 music videos for 4 different versions of Let It Go. Honestly, one would have been enough.
Frozen could very well be considered the latest masterpiece in the Disney Animation cannon. The A/V is fantastic on the disc, but extras are severely lacking and 4 versions Let It Go is quite superfluous. Regardless, there isn't a release date in sight for another version, and since the film is THAT good, and looks THAT good on Blu-ray, I have to HIGHLY RECOMMEND it.