Saturday, October 2, 2010

Frozen Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 36.4 GB
Film Size: 23.1 GB
Film Rating: R
Release Date: September 28th, 2010
Region: A
The Video
Frozen’ comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The Blu-ray release looks good at times, but certainly not as amazing as I had hoped. However, I do think the issues stem from the filming conditions, lighting, etc., not fault of a negligent Blu-ray transfer.

Frozen is a film that does take place during both day and night settings and can look both bland and impressive depending on the scene. Many scenes feature a strong level of detail, but I was disappointed by the flatter softer looking scenes throughout (particularly certain daytime sequences). Nighttime scenes actually impressed me more.

Colors are well produced, at times a bit underwhelming likely because of weather conditions, but that is expected. I do not have a DVD copy of the film to compare it to so I am not sure how big of an upgrade it is, but in this situation I am not sure if there is a drastic difference, I really can’t say either way.

There are clearly benefits of a high-def transfer as you certainly won’t confuse the good looking scenes for standard-definition, but there are scenes which just don’t have a high-def look or pop whatsoever. Overall I am pleased by the presentation, but it just isn’t a stunning looking film. I don’t think this is a bad transfer, just weaker looking sources at times, likely due to the temperatures in which they were filmed. 7/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track is the lossless option, also included is a Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track. Optional subtitles include English SDH and Spanish.

While the video presentation didn’t blow me away, the audio certainly did. The film’s horror style is very basic you wouldn’t necessarily expect an immersive sound experience from the film. Amazingly, the film pays great attention to the surround speakers and creates a chilling mix.

The dialogue is presented clearly, front and center. The film’s effects while generally front heavy do make notable surround use appearances and are extremely effective. Surround use moments are impressive particularly during snow sequences and quiet sequences in which we hear wolves or even the ski lifts creaking.

The film’s score is also quite impressive, creating a strong level of tension and you may find yourself at the edge of your seat more than a couple of times because of it. Overall I was extremely impressed by the mix and I could not have expected better. Considering almost the entire film takes place on a ski lift, you really can’t ask for a better audio experience than the one included. 10/10.

The Extras

Audio Commentary
With Writer/Director Adam Green and Actors Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers & Emma Bell.

Audio Commentary
With Writer/Director Adam Green, Cinematographer Will Barratt and Editor Ed Marx.

Catching Frostbite: The Origins of Frozen (11:00) (HD)
Writer/Director Adam Green talks about how he got the idea for Frozen. Adam and the crew talk about producing the film and the steps it took for production. This is a very interesting and entertaining feature, definitely check it out. I noticed that a clip from the film was used from an Apple released trailer, logo and all.

Three Below Zero (10:51) (HD)
Adam Green talks about finding actors based on talent and not actors based on name. He found known actors without the baggage, which I do think was a smart move for the film.

Shooting Through It (11:18) (HD)
Adam Green and Will Barratt (Director of photography) talk about shooting scenes and working closely together in the process. The nighttime lighting was an issue but they found a fantastic way to deal with it.

Beating the Mountain: Surviving Frozen (52:55) (HD)
This is really one of the best features I have ever seen released for a film. There is so much to be seen and plenty of behind-the-scenes footage. Regardless of your opinion of the film this one is a must see for anyone who wants to get a real look at production of a horror flick.

Deleted Scenes (6:28) (HD)
Three deleted scenes are included and include optional audio commentary by Writer/Director Adam Green.

Theatrical Trailer (1:51) (HD)

Chair 92 (1:36) (HD)
Director Adam Green talks about filming at a haunted location, very creepy.

The extras included on the release are simply awesome. Clearly a lot of work has gone in to producing these features and for a new release this is extra impressive. Many features are the quality of those produced for an anniversary release rather than an initial release.

The features are extensive when it comes to behind-the-scenes footage, so it is pretty much a dream for me. The audio commentaries are something I have not watched in whole quite yet, but I definitely plan to in the near future. I am just so impressed by the quality of the features included. 9/10.

The Movie
‘Frozen’ is the latest film from Director Adam Green which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. I have had the opportunity to attend Sundance for the past two years and saw some really great films such as ‘Catfish,’ ‘Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work,’ and ‘Frozen.’

‘Frozen’ made news during its Sundance premiere, with reports of people passing out and vomiting in the bathroom. Perhaps I am a bit numb to horror films as far as bodily reaction, but I did think people overreacted to the film as far as getting sick because of it. But it it showing as to how effective the film is.

The film takes on the ski lift to create a horror experience that works extremely well. Skiing is something that many look forward to each year, but there are plenty of dangers associated with skiing. I unfortunately had a friend die a few years ago from a terrible skiing accident, leaving me with no plans to go skiing anytime soon.

‘Frozen’ doesn’t deal with the danger of skiing itself, but rather making the way up the slopes. Three friends persuade a ski lift operator to give them one last run even though they are in the process of shutting everything down, but things quickly go from bad to worse as the three friends find themselves stuck in a situation like never before.

The film’s theatrical release caused mixed reaction, particularly among critics. I do think critics were overly harsh on the film, especially their hate towards the escape options included in the film, and then including their own ‘logical’ escape plans as if they had ever been in that type of situation.

Come on! Unless you have been in the exact situation as the characters in the film, you really shouldn’t be one to say whether their decisions were stupid or smart…or how you would do it better. I think the escape options used in the film were realistic, particularly of a person in panic.

There was one thing specifically that I disliked about the film and it is hard to talk about without spoiling the film completely. I’ll just say that I wish one sequence was actually included towards the end of the film rather than just the result; it really could have made for some intense cinema.

There was also one brief transition scene which did bug me a little. It is hard to talk about without spoilers. I understand stunt actors had to be used for certain sequences, particularly one that takes place in the air. If you are going to do this though, at least get the coat color right, he switches from a green coat (the actor) to a white coat (the stunt actor).

The coat issue isn’t a big deal whatsoever; it goes by quickly that most won’t even notice. Watching the film on my high-def projector it was much easier to spot, and observant viewers may be thrown off by it just a little. The transition itself looks very cool; I just wish it didn’t have that little continuation error.

Overall I think Frozen is a fantastic film and one which I will watch many times again. Director Adam Green provides an immersive film experience and a situation that really is scary, without the need of monsters, ghosts or serial killers. Horror films come and go all the time, but rarely are they as this unique in theme or as chilling. If you haven’t seen Frozen, make sure to pick up the Blu-ray release today. 9/10.

The Blu-news Summary
Frozen is an intense and unique horror film and easily one of the best from 2010. The story is literally almost perfect in tension and I enjoy it just as much with repeated viewings.

The Blu-ray release features a video presentation which appears limited to the source, but the audio mix is amazing. The extras are also some of the best I have seen on a new release film in quite some time. Overall the Blu-ray release is ‘A Must Own’ for fans and ‘Highly Recommended’ to anyone who has yet to see the film.

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