Seventeen weeks after its theatrical release, Frozen is being released on DVD and Blu-Ray today. The Disney musical and Oscar winner for best animated film is still in the Top 10 at the North American box office, having grossed more than $2.1 million this past weekend.
The film is a return to the heyday of the Disney musical and is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. Frozen just reached the billion-dollar mark at the worldwide B.O., but if you are not one of the people who contributed to that monstrous haul, here’s a quick synopsis. Elsa and Anna (pronounced like Faris, not Wintour) are sisters and princesses. Elsa has magical powers but hasn’t learned to control them yet, so she’ll sometimes accidentally freeze stuff … like her younger sister Anna. After a close call, Elsa stays locked up in her room for years, away from her sister and any human contact. The two princesses are in their castle, closed off from their town, until Elsa’s Coronation Day. Anna’s thrilled; “for the first time in forever,” there’ll be people in their castle. But Elsa’s worried; she hasn’t quite mastered her magic yet and must keep the townspeople from finding out her secret. At the Coronation Ball, Anna tells Elsa some news that really sets off her older sister. After freezing the town perpetually, Elsa banishes herself to a faraway mountain, leaving her townspeople literally in the cold.
Frozen has great music, thanks to composer Christophe Beck (who is Montreal-born) and songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who won a Best Original Oscar for the rousing ballad “Let It Go.” Elsa and Anna are voiced by Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell, who do their own singing in the film. Menzel is a Broadway star, but what a surprise Bell turned out to be. The Veronica Mars star has some serious singing abilities. The rest of the voice cast includes Santino Fontana, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad, who voices scene-stealing snowman Olaf.
Frozen is available on DVD or DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack. The Disney short Get a Horse!, nominated for an Oscar in the animated short category, is a special feature on both editions, as well as four music videos (all different versions of “Let It Go”). The Blu-Ray version also features a short making-of documentary and a “page-to-screen” featurette about adapting The Snow Queen, as well as four deleted scenes with introductions by directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee. Alas, neither version carry a sing-along version.
Also out on DVD and Blu-Ray today is Saving Mr. Banks, a Disney movie about the making of a Disney movie, Mary Poppins. Emma Thompson stars as P.L. Travers, Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. You can read my full review of the film from when it was released in December. The film tries again and again to paint Travers as the ultimate villainess, and it’s Thompson who carries the film, which will have you believe that she was a woman very difficult to work with.
The special features on this set are disappointing: three deleted scenes and a tour of the Disney studios with Saving Mr. Banks director John Lee Hancock. The cast and crew sing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” to Mary Poppins composer Richard M. Sherman.