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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin Jr.
Cast:
Andy Griffith, Shelley Winters, Dennis Day, Paul Frees, Jackie Vernon
Writing Credits:
Romeo Muller

Synopsis:
Frosty's kind of lonely, so the kids think of making him a wife, Crystal. But will Jack Frost let them be happy?

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio:
English Monaural
Spanish Monaural
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
Spanish

Runtime: 25 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 10/4/2011

Bonus:
• “Frosty and the Story of the Snowman” Featurette
• Sneak Peeks


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EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Frosty's Winter Wonderland: Deluxe Edition (1976)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 24, 2011)

Given the eternal popularity of 1969’s Frosty the Snowman, a sequel became inevitable. This materialized in 1976 with Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, a less successful view of the living snowman.

In Wonderland, Frosty (voiced by Jackie Vernon) returns from his sabbatical at the North Pole. During his visit, two plot threads develop. First, Frosty deals with the jealousy of Jack Frost (Paul Frees). Jack wants all the kids to love him, too, so he tries to sabotage Frosty’s doings.

These consistently backfire while Frosty remains oblivious to Jack’s shenanigans. In the meantime, Frosty feels lonely so the kids try to help. Their solution? They create a Mrs. Frosty (Shelley Winters) to keep him company.

Although Wonderland offers more story elements than its predecessor, it somehow feels less substantial. That seems like an odd criticism for a short animated show based on a song, but it’s true. Wonderland has little reason to exist other than as ready-made TV fodder, so it lacks even the generic creativity of the original Frosty.

That doesn’t make it unpleasant, and it moves by pretty quickly. Nonetheless, it doesn’t really go anywhere. The original Frosty doesn’t stand as one of my holiday faves, but it maintains a certain integrity and sense of purpose absent from the sequel.

Maybe the split into two plot threads harms the show. Neither of them seems especially compelling, though the Jack Frost side of things remains the less sensible of the pair. I get the need for Frosty to have a partner, but I don’t see why the producers thought a rival would be appealing. I suppose they felt we needed some dramatic villain, but Jack’s motivation feels illogical.

It also seems a little funny to see Jack cast as a baddie since he later appears as the good-natured star of his own special. Both Rankin-Bass shows use similar character design for Jack, but in terms of personality, the dude in the 1979 program acts as the opposite of this piece’s jealous snot.

Well, one doesn’t look to Rankin-Bass specials for great continuity. In that vein, we lose Jimmy Durante as the narrator. It appears that Durante had retired by 1976, so Wonderland replaces him with Andy Griffith. Old Matlock does a decent job in the undemanding part, though he doesn’t live up to the gravelly charm displayed by Durante.

At least Vernon returns as the lead; a new Frosty would’ve been a disappointment, though the 1992 Frosty Returns used John Goodman in the part and might’ve been more entertaining than the origial. Winters does just fine as Crystal, Frosty’s bride, and Dennis Day provides a nice little turn as the parson. Nothing about the cast mars the production.

However, nothing that occurs here does much to boost the presentation, either. Frosty’s Winter Wonderland provides mild entertainment at best. It goes by quickly and doesn’t actively annoy, but I can’t say much more for it than that.


The DVD Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C/ Bonus D+

Frosty’s Winter Wonderland appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Some aspects of the presentation looked pretty good, but a mix of flaws marred the transfer.

The show usually offered a vivid, lively palette, but some odd inconsistencies materialized. Overall, the hues were generally positive and acted as one of the transfer’s stronger aspects.

Sharpness also seemed satisfying most of the time. A little softness occasionally interfered with the presentation, but the show appeared pretty well-defined most of the time. I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement wasn’t a concern. Blacks showed good darkness, and the few low-light sequences were appropriately visible.

Wonderland fell to a “C+” due to its print flaws. Some parts of the show looked okay, but much of the time I noticed a mix of specks, marks, hairs, lines and other defects. Though the show could’ve looked messier, it also could – and should – have been cleaner. That factor made this a watchable but problematic presentation.

I expected little from the program’s monaural audio, and that’s what I got: consistently mediocre sound. I thought that was fine, though, as a 35-year-old TV show didn’t require auditory fireworks. Speech occasionally betrayed a little edginess, but the lines usually seemed acceptably concise and natural. Music showed decent vivacity, and effects were reasonably clear and accurate. No issues with source noise materialized. Overall, this was a perfectly acceptable piece of audio.

How did this 2011 DVD compare to the release from 2008? Audio appeared to be identical, but the picture offered a mild improvement. This came solely from the reproduction of colors, as I thought the 2011 Deluxe Edition provided more consistent hues. This wasn’t a major upgrade, though.

Despite the package’s title as a “deluxe edition”, don’t expect many extras here. Frosty and the Story of the Snowman runs nine minutes, 21 seconds as it provides notes from The History of the Snowman author Bob Eckstein and cartoonist/writer Scott Shaw. They talk about how snowmen have factored into society over the years as well as aspects of their use in pop culture and Frosty. This offers a surprisingly good little overview of the subject, so expect to learn something from it.

The disc opens with ads for the Blu-ray Peanuts Holiday Collection and the How the Grinch Stole Christmas 50th Anniversary Edition. We also find promos for Dolphin Tale and Santa’s Magical Stories.

With 1976’s Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, the folks at Rankin-Bass created a follow-up to a holiday classic. While not unwatchable, Wonderland fails to live up to even the moderate pleasures of its predecessor. I don’t think the original Frosty is a great show, but it works better than this forgettable sequel. The DVD presents fairly mediocre picture and audio along with a decent featurette. Winter Wonderland isn’t a bad special, but it’s average at best, and this release comes with an awfully high price tag for what it delivers.

To rate this film visit the Classic Christmas Favorites review of FROSTY'S WINTER WONDERLAND

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