Frosty the Snowman appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Nothing about the visuals excelled, but they seemed satisfactory given the show’s age and origins.
Sharpness mostly fared well. A little softness interfered at times, but not much. Instead, the program usually came across as acceptably concise and well-defined within the crude parameters of the original art. Jagged edges and shimmering failed to interfere, and I saw no edge haloes. Source flaws seemed absent. Outside of a little sloppy clean-up work, the project looked to be free from defects.
Colors didn’t dazzle, but they consistently looked respectable. The tones were basic but fairly bright and clear. Blacks were also more than satisfying, with dark and deep elements, and the occasional low-light shot was appropriately defined. The nature of the source meant it lacked much pep, but the end result seemed pretty positive.
To my surprise, the Blu-ray boasted a remixed DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. To be honest, this seemed like an odd choice for a 46-year-old TV cartoon with monaural roots, but the 5.1 mix worked okay.
The soundscape remained modest in scope. Music showed decent spread across the front; I wouldn’t call it true stereo, but the score and songs blended well enough. Effects failed to add much; a few minor components like wind appeared to move across the front, but these elements essentially remained monaural.
Surround usage was negligible. I think the back speakers added mild reinforcement of music – maybe. Any material from the rear failed to make an impact; if the track used those channels, I couldn’t discern any obvious presence from them.
Speech lacked much naturalness, but the lines were acceptably concise and distinctive, and I noticed no edginess or other problems. Effects sounded clean and accurate, though they also lacked range. The score failed to deliver much in the way of dynamics, but I still thought the music was adequate for an older show. I remain perplexed at the decision to create a 5.1 remix for Frosty, but the end result worked fine.
How does the Blu-ray compare to the prior DVD? Audio seemed a bit warmer and clearer, and the Blu-ray also gave us a 5.1 track instead of the DVD’s monaural. I prefer original mixes, but since the 5.1 track offered clearer audio and didn’t do much to violate the single-channel soundscape, I felt happy with it.
As for visuals, the Blu-ray offered mild improvements over the DVD. The Blu-ray seemed a bit better defined and more vivid. It also looked cleaner. The limitations of the source held back the Blu-ray, but it gave us the more satisfying Frosty.
When we shift to extras, the most substantial component presents 1992’s Frosty Returns special. It lasts 23 minutes, eight seconds as it tells the tale of unhappy Holly DeCarlo (Elizabeth Moss) and her friendship with Frosty (John Goodman).
The original special boasted a true sequel via 1976’s Frosty’s Winter Wonderland; Vernon reprised his title role there, and he’d also play Frosty once more with 1979’s AniMagic Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July.
However, Returns doesn’t enjoy much of a connection to the 1969 show. Really, it’s closer to a Charlie Brown special, probably because director Bill Melendez helmed many examples of that franchise.
Surprisingly, Returns might be superior to the original. It shows more of a hipster attitude, with a form of humor that doesn’t appear in the original, and it offers a fairly similar plot.
What makes it better? The characters are better drawn and more likable, as sad, friendless Holly presents a substantially more endearing role than the smug Karen. John Goodman’s Frosty isn’t quite as good as Vernon’s, but he adds his own spark to the part. Add to that solid support from performers like Andrea Martin and Jan Hooks and Returns presents a surprisingly entertaining show.
Be An Artist and Create splits into three areas: “Frosty” (8:16), “Santa Claus’ (10:47) and “Crafts with Frosty” (6:51). In the first two, DreamWorks Animation Director of Character Art Joe Vance teaches us how to draw the 1969 Frosty and the Santa from 1970’s Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town. For the final segment, Vance’s wife Joanie joins him to show how to make various arts and crafts. All three offer some fun material.
Under Magical Melody, we see a one-minute, 53-second singalong. Various tone-deaf children sing “Frosty” and invite us to croon with them. Have a blast!
Finally, Frosty Snowflake Surprises runs 19 minutes, 30 seconds. It mixes comments from kids about Frosty and related elements as well as production notes, connected factoids, and Frosty pencil tests. I could live without the Art Linkletter-style chats with the kids, but the rest of “Surprises” manages to offer decent details.
Frosty the Snowman endures as one of the more popular Christmas specials, but it’s not one of the best. It moves briskly and has some good moments. However, it suffers from a number of flaws that make it only moderately above average. The Blu-ray provides mostly positive picture and audio plus a few useful supplements. Frosty remains a spotty holiday show.
Note that you can find Frosty on Blu-ray in a couple of releases. The one I reviewed comes from a package called The Original Television Christmas Classics Anniversary Collector’s Edition. That box packages Frosty/Frosty Returns with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, The Little Drummer Boy, The Cricket on the Hearth, and Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. With a list price under $30, it’s a good deal.
To rate this film, visit the DVD edition of FROSTY THE SNOWMAN