HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:90
Well, well, well. It looks like Disney has been busy beavers. It wasn’t that long ago that Pixar wrested the crown away from the Mouse House and took over as King of the animated genre. Disney wallowed in mediocrity (albeit fun mediocrity at times) during the early 2000’s but in the last 4 years or so they have started into a second “golden age” so to speak. “Princess and the Frog” began the revolution with a solid princess story with the added attraction of hand drawn animation once more, and then they really started to take off by knocking it out of the ballpark with “Tangled” and “Wreck-it Ralph”, which shocked people by being as good, if not better than many of the Pixar films. Now Lasseter has done it again and created a hit so popular that it has raked in more money than every Disney film has ever done in its box office days, save only for “The Lion King”. I missed “Frozen” in theaters and thought it looked only ok from the trailers. I mean, the movie had been in development hell for years, with 10 gazillion rewrites and last minute changes up until the actual release of the film, and usually that spell disaster. Color me purple and slap a daisy on my head, but I was amazed when all of the positive reviews started coming in. Could it be? A movie that went through this much change turned out to be good? And not only good, but EXCELLENT? Well, it certainly looks that way and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.
Anna (Kristen Bell) and her older sister, Elsa (Idina Menel) are as close as sisters could be, playing, wrestling and having the privilege of being princesses of the realm, their life close to perfect, except for one thing. Else has the strange power of being able to control ice and snow, a power which ends up terrifying her parents and hurting her sister, Anna. Under the advice of the troll king, the King (Maurice LaMarche) isolates Elsa from the kingdom and has the troll king erase Anna’s memory of Elsa’s powers. This way Anna can live a normal life and Elsa can learn to control her powers in isolation. Years later it’s time for Elsa to take her rightful place as Queen of the realm, only her powers are still only barely controlled. Making it through the coronation without incident, Elsa ends up losing control and showing her powers to the entire Kingdom, covering the entire area in eternal winter. Elsa flees to the north mountain where she wishes to just be left alone, where she can be free from criticism and won’t be able to hurt anyone else with her powers.
Now there’s only one problem with her little plan, in her haste in leaving, Elsa didn't notice that the rest of the kingdom is stuck in eternal winter. This leaves Anna no choice, but to track down her sister with the help of Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) the ice carver and his reindeer, Sven, and beg Elsa to return the kingdom to normal. While Anna is kind hearted and hopes to talk her sister down, some terrified officials have other, more devious plans in mind. The Duke of Weasel town, eeeeerrrr Wessleton, (Alan Tudyk) sends two of his men to find the queen and kill her. This sets off a chain reaction where Anna, wounded by her sister, is slowly being turned into an ice sculpture and the only thing that can save her is the actions of true love.
“Frozen” is a sweet, dual princess, story of love between siblings and what it actually means to love another. Based on the “Snow Queen”, by Hans Christian Anderson, it is a slight modification to the fairytale infused with that classic Disney charm that has been missing for so long. It’s nice to see the prince in shining armor take a backseat to the main plot and instead focus on the trials and tribulations of sibling love and rivalry, with two princesses that have to come to grips with their very different flaws. Esla is isolated and alone her whole life resulting with her missing out on the interaction and love that should have been able to ground her powers years ago, and Anna is such a trusting, free spirit, that she can’t see the bad in the world, opening herself up for hurt that could have been avoided. While main characters are great, what makes Disney movies awesome are the side characters. When I saw that we had a reindeer as a side character I had nightmarish visions of the two moose from “Brother Bear” and prepared myself for the worst. Luckily Sven is much more subdued and is more like a reindog rather than a reindeer. Olaf the snowman (Josh Gad) plays off of Sven’s physical humor and the two of them create a much better pair than if they were solo. While not anything amazing, Kristoff is a great foil to Prince Han’s over the top bravado and fakeness and creates a very relatable character that makes you realize why a “good guy” is such a staple in these stories.
There’s romance, there’s action, there’s humor, it has it all. The first 1/3 of the movie is a bit slow, but the film picks up the pace like a snowball, moving faster and faster till it culminates in a crescendo of storytelling that left me with a blissful smile on my face. The animation style makes one think of “Tangled” (and it think “Tangled” is a SLIGHTLY better film), but the characters veer sharply away from the characters in its predecessor and create their own unique feel that is unmistakable. The only real downsides to the release is something that has chaffed fans the wrong way for months after the announcement. For a film that was ANIMATED specifically in native 3D, the U.S. is not receiving a 3D Blu-ray release. The rest of the world is receiving one, VUDU and the Playstation store are getting the 3D version, but the Blu-ray release is only 2D. I’m not sure whether it’s because Disney is testing the market ala, “Oz the Great and Powerful” or whether they are delaying the release of the 3D film on Blu-ray till a later date, but the exclusion of the theatrical 3D release on home video for the U.S. market is troubling to say the least, and I can only hope that Disney steps up and announces its reasons before fans become too put off by it and just import.
Rated PG for some action and mild rude humor
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=15015[/img]Seriously Disney? I’m absolutely flabbergasted. It’s like they can’t stop with the home runs, not only did they create a fantastic story, but the 2.24:1 AVC encode is absolutely awe inspiring, with vibrant, rich colors that saturate the picture in every shade and hue of the rainbow. The summer scenes and interior castle shots are full of rich primaries, red, blue, green and everything in between, and when it shifts to the snow covered winter landscape the colors don’t stop flowing. The blues and whites blend together seamlessly for an incredibly lush and detailed environment. Detail is spot on perfect with every crystal of Olaf’s snow body glistening and the individual hair’s on Anna and Elsa’s head perfectly rendered with incredible clarity. Contrasts are great and well within bounds and Black levels are absolutely PERFECT. Honestly it’s one of the better Disney encodes in a while and easily rivals “Wreck it Ralph” for it’s perfect score.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=15016[/img]The 7.1 DTS-HD MA encode is just about as perfect as the video, as well. The ONLY problem (and it’s not even really a problem) that I had with the audio was that I wished for a little more bass punch at times. The LFE track is near flawless, and has some scenes that deliver with all the pounding bass you could want, but there are a few times where a slamming door, or the crunch of breaking ice would have felt fuller with a little bit boosted low end. However, this is really only a small nitpick, since the LFE is still there, giving a nice throaty low end to the whole film, with scenes of gut wrenching power that come out of the blue. Dialogue is clean and clear without any distortions or imbalance issues with the rest of the track. The envelopment of the film is complete with some VERY active surrounds, the listener can literally feel the wind whipping around them as the snow storm rages on and the thundering sounds of Sven’s hooves whistle from the back of the soundstage to the front and the individual tones are incredible detailed as you can hear the creaks and crunch of footsteps through snow or the sounds of a door closing and vibrating behind you. Absolutely amazing track and definitely one that benefits from the incredible amount of music happening during the film.
• D'Frosted: Disney's Journey from Hans Christian Andersen to "Frozen"
• The Making of "Frozen"
• Deleted Scenes
• Music Videos
• Animated Short: Get a Horse!
• Original Teaser Trailer
“Frozen” is a breath of fresh air in a genre that has become crowded as everyone tries to be the next Pixar or Disney classic, and surprisingly, Disney has reinvented themselves the last few years to where they are once again holding the crown (and our pocketbooks) of animated movies once more. If you can look past the anemic special features, something for which Disney used to be the king of, the perfect video and near perfect audio along with a sweet sweet story of sisterly love is more than enough to warrant a purchase for the family. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Starring: Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel
Directed by: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Written by: Jennifer Lee
Aspect Ratio: 2.24:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, French, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Runtime: 102 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 18th, 2014
Buy Frozen Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Must Buy
More about Mike