Unlike my fiancé, I knew there would be a Frozen short before Coco. What I didn’t realize was that it would last almost half an hour. So as Olaf wandered off into a wolf-infested forest, I discreetly checked my watch, balking at the amount of time this was taking.
Was it worth it? Well…
I went to see Coco twice with two different people, and each time, I could not remember a single lyric or melody from the short afterwards, not even from Olaf’s sappy kiddie song. My fiancé tells me that the songs are just a reworking of those from the first Frozen, but other than themes in the background score, I didn’t notice and I can’t remember.
That should be a crime, considering how maddeningly catchy the songs in Frozen are.
Olaf Can Get Grating
The best thing about Olaf in Frozen was his innocent, giddy presentation of dark jokes. “Oh look, I’ve been impaled,” is a classic, and for me, it’s moments like that which keep him from becoming just another annoying, adorable, goofy sidekick, like the dozens of others that plague family movies these days. Not every sidekick needs to be a comedic, utterly tensionless character, but Frozen did well to minimize the focus and attention put upon him (outside of the marketing, that is).
Olaf is his usual self in this romp, but the short spends more time focusing on his cutesiness element. Depending on your tolerance level, that might make this watch unbearable for you.
The Frozen Retreading is Not as Prevalent
“Do you remember Frozen? That super popular movie? Huh? Huh? Do you? Do you? Do you?”
YES. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, YES! If I want to watch the first one again, I’ll do that. I want to see the characters growing and doing new things, not just regurgitating what was popular in Frozen.
In this regard, I am happy to say that this short was better than Frozen Fever, despite also being way longer. There is a mention of “opening the gates” and “first time in forever,” but I can forgive those because it’s natural for Anna and Elsa to still be recovering from the trauma of their childhood. I’m more concerned with overtly repetitive jokes or verbatim quotes from the first movie; for example, when Elsa just had to say, “The cold never bothered me anyway,” when changing to a summery dress in Frozen Fever. That was just name-checked because it was popular; it didn’t serve the story or Elsa as a character. There was no real purpose, and it felt fake and unnatural.
I love seeing Anna and Elsa engage one another like happily-reunited sisters. I loved seeing the closed door theme pop back in a believable way, and then Elsa comes back and apologizes for shutting Anna out again. Those girls are the true heart of Frozen, not Olaf, not Sven, and not even Kristoff.
The Animation is Good
There’s not much to say here. It’s consistent with Frozen’s animation, so it looks pretty and appealing.
Some of the Jokes are Funny
Assuming the subject or the run-time doesn’t automatically suck up your goodwill, this short can be hilarious at times. And as I said above, it’s not just cribbing everything that worked in Frozen.
My only real concern with the timing and placement of this short was the implication. Other than a general “family is important” theme, the film and its short aren’t very similar. Did Disney worry about Coco’s box office, so they slapped this at the beginning to ensure turnout?
There are folks out there who will see anything with Disney and/or Pixar written on it. While I think it’s bad to be that devoted to something, regardless of overall quality, it’s not an insignificant number of people. Was this a move inspired by greed, or fear? Is either answer really better than the other?
Note: None of the images in this post belong to me.