Warner Bros. // 1976 // 24 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // November 27th, 2011
"I sure do miss those kids. I did promise them I'd come back someday. Hey! Someday's today!"
Following on from 1969's animated Christmas classic Frosty the Snowman, Frosty's Winter Wonderland picks up with Frosty making good on his promise and returning from the North Pole; much to the joy of the children of Winterwonderland -- but all is not well with dear old Frosty. As much as he enjoys playing with the children, he finds himself pining for companionship each evening when the children must return home. Hoping to help their friend, the children build Frosty a partner, a mop topped snow-lady they christen Crystal. Frosty and Crystal immediately fall in love and prepare to wed, but the evil Jack Frost has other plans and sets out to put an end to Frosty's happiness.
If one were to look up the word "adequate" in the dictionary, you might very well find a reference to Frosty's Winter Wonderland, a perfectly fine, but quickly forgotten, Rankin/Bass Christmas special from 1976. For young children, this short (24 minutes) special is almost perfect entertainment. It offers colorful characters in a simple story that they can follow easily. But this simplicity proves to be to its detriment, at least for anyone over the age of 6. There's a complete lack of incident, or, more crucially, any real threat at any point of this festive animation. Everything just goes along so smoothly, with even antagonist Jack Frost being unable to bring any menace to the proceedings.
Beyond the simple, yet endearing animation, what saves this special from the unwanted gift pile is the voice cast. Andy Griffith (The Andy Griffith Show), Shelley Winters (The Night of the Hunter), and Paul Frees (who reprises his role as the voice of Frosty) deliver warm performances that help sell this wholesome tale. Helping them in bringing some of that Christmas magic are the jaunty renditions of festive favorites "Frosty the Snowman," and "Winter Wonderland," which will charm little ones no end.
The full-frame transfer is passable, but nothing about it suggests much effort in re-mastering the title. Colors are lacking vibrancy, and the print is showing signs of its age. The mono soundtrack is clear, but as flat as my stomach was before an addiction to chocolate chip cookies ruined everything. "Frosty, and the History of Snowmen" discusses the history of the snowman in a featurette nobody asked for, which, as such, will likely be skipped altogether. I mean, seriously? Why would anyone be interested in how or why man first clumped a few balls of snow together and stuck a carrot in it? That said: it is worth watching for some of the vintage photographs of snowmen featured. If you've not had snowmen induced nightmares before, you most certainly will after seeing some of these creepy creations.
The logic of this release must be questioned. Why, when you can purchase this title in a set along with several other Rankin/Bass classics, would anyone consider buying this disc? Though not up to the high standards of the original Frosty the Snowman, Frosty's Winter Wonderland offers undemanding fun, but doesn't justify being purchased as a standalone title so bereft of content.
The main feature is decent enough, but this poor package is the DVD
equivalent of yellow snow.
Review content copyright © 2011 Paul Pritchard; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (Spanish)
Running Time: 24 Minutes
Release Year: 1976
MPAA Rating: Not Rated