Olaf's Frozen Adventure may be playing before the critically-adored Coco but by itself, Disney's new short film is getting some vicious reviews. Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee's 2013 animated film, Frozen, is arguably the most popular animated movie to release this century so far. The movie, starring Kristen Bell as Princess Anna and Idina Menzel as Queen Elsa, took the world by storm when it hit theaters over Thanksgiving week in 2013, igniting a seemingly never-ending stream of Frozen-themed content, merchandise, and adaptations (a musical in next on the docket).
Frozen's overwhelming popularity, as well as its astounding commercial success, grossing approximately $1.2 billion at the worldwide box office, prompted Disney Animation to pursue a full-fledged sequel, something they're not in the habit of doing outside of home video. While Frozen 2 isn't expected to hit theaters until 2019, Disney has been busy keeping fans in touch with Anna, Elsa, and their friends and family's adventures by producing a short sequel entitled Frozen Fever - which debuted in front of Kenneth Branagh's 2015 film, Cinderella - as well as the new short film, Olaf's Frozen Adventure.
Olaf's Frozen Adventure takes place during Arendelle's first Christmas celebration since the palace's gates reopened at the end of 2013's Frozen, with the primary focus being on family traditions. The short film was originally supposed to air as an ABC special - similar to Pixar's Toy Story of Terror - which is why it's a mind-blowing 21 minutes long. However, when the Mouse House decided to incorporate the short film into Coco's release (so that they could put the film in front of as many eyes as possible), its length became a primary factor in the widespread distaste for the story - and that reflects in audiences' brutal reactions.
We've compiled some of the most extreme reactions made by critics and general audiences (due to the lack of traditional reviews since the short wasn't played at press screenings) on social media; you can read them for yourself below.
My anticipation for COCO made me so annoyed with OLAF’S FROZEN ADVENTURE. Why did a 21-minute short film need to play before COCO? Should have just been a holiday TV special. - Ethan Anderton
Sometimes I wake up covered in sweat and screaming, filled with the horrifying certainty that I’m STILL watching that seemingly endless Frozen “short” that played before Coco. - Jhonen Vasquez
Coco is one of Pixar’s best films in recent years, but it’s also the victim of one of the most painfully meandering animated shorts I’ve ever been forced to watch. Seeing the movie in the theater means that you’ll be subjected to a seemingly endless Frozen short film that plays before the movie begins. ...the inclusion of this bloated Frozen short is troubling. We don’t need a middling TV movie in front of a film as good as Coco, and Frozen certainly doesn’t need the promotion. We’ll never know what could have been created and put in that space, and that’s a tragedy. - Allegra Frank
Coco is spectacular but unfortunately the Frozen short that precedes it will eat your brain from the inside, then spit the amygdaloid rind that remains thereafter down your throat. Arrive late. - Ian Bogost
I’m going to say it, since no one else will. The Frozen short in front of Coco is a giant piece of frozen sh*t. Olof made me want to punch myself in the face. - Devon Sawa
Unspeakably dreadful. The songs were sludge; the plot, idiotic. It made me loathe commercialized Christmas, a holiday I enjoyed as a child, with a dark and molten rage. Mind you, I, nominally still a (lousy, barely) Christian, have grown to so utterly hate the holiday as it's popularly celebrated that it inspires in me emotions I almost can't handle. It's like misanthropy, except applied to *matter itself*: A loathing of *existence*. - Clive Thompson
OLAF’S FROZEN ADVENTURE filled me with rage. In addition to representing the worst elements of the crass commercialization of Christmas, the songs were lackluster, the plotting is painfully cliched, and Olaf is annoying as sh*t. Zero stars. - David Chen
Tonight a friend could not stop talking about how much he hated [Olaf's Frozen Adventure]. He wants me to see it so I can hate it too. - Eric D. Snider
The vast majority of people who saw Coco and disliked Olaf's Frozen Adventure felt the "short" was simply too long. Some even left the auditorium and checked with theater management to make sure they were still watching Coco and not another animated film. Indeed, quite a few took specific offense to the fact that Olaf's Frozen Adventure played in front of Coco instead of one of Pixar's beloved short films, as is customary.
My 8-year old nephew, after the excruciating 20 minute Frozen short in front of Coco: “Nobody asked for that". - Nicholas Gurewitch
The FROZEN short before COCO unforgivably stretches the definition of "short." - A.A. Dowd
“Coco” was amazing, naturally, but where the eff is my Pixar short at the beginning - the reason I most look forward to seeing a Pixar film in theaters? What’s next, this Olaf opening the next “Guardians of the Galaxy?” “Star Wars?” Disney you own everything, but keep boundaries. - Gordon Winke
Good evening to everyone except for the executive that doubted Coco's natural ability to draw in an audience and forced a half an hour long Frozen 'short' before it that made everyone wanna walk out early. - Calvin Stowell
Pixar's Coco is undoubtedly doing well critically and commercially - having won its holiday opening weekend in the wake of releases such as Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League, and is predicted to win this coming weekend as well - but the unnecessary addition of Olaf's Frozen Adventure is undoubtedly affecting audiences around the world, so much that people are skipping all the previews and showing up 30-45 minutes late just to see the movie. Thankfully, it won't be a required watch when the film arrives on home video.
- Frozen II (2019) release date: Nov 22, 2019