Saturday, August 30, 2014

What Can We Expect from the 'Frozen' Special?


A lot of you may know it's coming, but just in case you don't know, an hour-long Frozen behind-the-scenes special is coming to ABC on September 2nd, it will air at 8:00 p.m. EST.

I've been looking forward to this, because for a while Disney Animation's latest films have gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to special features on the Blu-ray releases. For example, Tangled had some deleted scenes and a puff piece documentary that was more giddy than insightful, though there were some good bits in it, particularly Glen Keane's moments. Wreck-It Ralph's Blu-ray had some very good featurettes and a few cool deleted scenes, but it too was lacking. Frozen? Well I haven't bought the Blu-ray because I'm waiting for a better edition to surface, but I hear the behind-the-scenes special features are mostly no great shakes.

The one thing I'm hoping for is that this special is actually an insightful, in-depth look at the film's production. Not a zany, goofy "hey ya wanna see how we make cartoons?" affair. Actually inform viewers about how animation is created, how story decisions are made, and so on. Go in-depth, don't just gloss over these processes like "yeah, they at one point wanted to cut that scene out! Ohmygawd!" I did see a clip detailing what was to happen to 'Do You Want To Build a Snowman', and it seemed alright. Let's hope the rest of the special is like that…

I know the special won't do what I really want it to do, but it'd be cool if they really dived in and showed how troubled the production was. I've read many stories about Frozen, not the earlier Snow Queen iterations from before the film's 2011 restart, and how it was changed up even at the eleventh hour and how several ideas teased in marketing materials (such as the mid-2012 plot synopsis) didn't make the cut, such as armies of "menacing snowmen", Anna "conquering the elements". "Everest-like extremes", and Sven being a one-antlered reindeer, among many other things.

I also hope that the special really looks into the earlier cancelled Snow Queen iterations developed at Disney over the years, especially the one from the early 2000s and Chris Buck's pre-2009 version that got canned after The Princess and the Frog came out. I hear there's a bonus on the Blu-ray that looks into the history of the company and its attempts to adapt The Snow Queen into an animated feature, but I'm not sure how far in-depth it goes. Again, I don't own the Blu-ray yet…

In November, Disney is going to release a Frozen "Sing-Along" edition that's going to be DVD-only. It's bizarre because… Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't most Blu-rays and DVDs of Disney animated films have an option where you can have lyrics on screen when the songs come on? I may own tons of Disney animated films on Blu-ray, but I never bother with those set-up options, I just see them pop on various titles so I assume almost every musical film has a sing-along track of sorts. Making a separate DVD that exclusively has the sing-along track is a very low kind of cash grab to me… But I guess Disney knows something I don't know, and that tons of consumers will scoop up this edition. The DVD will also contain an all-new featurette called 'Breaking the Ice'…

I still believe that the company is going to release a much better Blu-ray set of the film, containing the 3D version, more bonuses, and perhaps that DVD-only exclusive and this one-hour special… One can only hope, right? Frozen's getting this sort of treatment because it was massive. You didn't see Disney do that for Tangled or Wreck-It Ralph, among others. Frozen's going to be that very Disney animated feature that gets tons of love, whether it's big Broadway stage musicals based on the film or behind-the-scenes specials like this. Why would they not give this film tip-top treatment on home media somewhere down the road?

Also… And this is the part I actually anticipate the most… The special is going to have a sneak peek at Big Hero 6. I wonder how much time they'll devote to it: Will they show a trailer and some footage of the film's production? Will there be a little taste of future projects thrown in as well? Like a brief glimpse at Zootopia and perhaps word on Giants and Moana? Maybe, maybe not. I've heard rumblings about future Disney Animation productions being teased in the special…

Then there's supposed to be an announcement concerning the future of the Frozen story, which many no doubt assume translates to "Frozen 2!" I don't know, I don't think the studio is going to do a sequel and a lot of you know why I feel that is so. I know that Disney plans to release books that continue the Frozen story this coming spring, so maybe the announcement concerns the books… Or maybe even a TV series, bringing back the days when Disney Television Animation did TV shows for The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and the like. I wouldn't put it past them, for The Lion King - 20 years after its initial release - is getting a TV spin-off about Simba's son next year. (Which I won't consider canon, no surprise there! Y'all know me.) I can totally see Disney opting for a TV series instead of a full-blown theatrical sequel or even a direct-to-video one, since Lasseter put the kibosh on DTV sequels to Disney Animation films…

(Before you say "But Tinker Bell!", I'm referring to sequels featuring the original's main casts of characters. i.e. Lion King IIReturn of Jafar.)

What do you think the future of the franchise will be? What do you think we'll see in this special? Sound off below!

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