The first time I saw a picture of Olaf from Frozen, I involuntarily shuddered. This bucktoothed snowman monstrosity looked like the annoying Disney sidekick cranked up to 11. Then I saw the film and, miracle of miracles, Olaf was not just tolerable but actually pretty funny and had a great song.
Unfortunately, whatever magic Disney was weaving to make him fun in Frozen appears to have run out, because the Olaf’s Frozen Adventure short, which is running before screenings of Pixar’s Coco, is drawing the kind of hate usually reserved for Adam Sandler movies.
I say ‘short,’ but the damn thing is 21 minutes long and it’s driving audiences crazy. Alissa Wilkinson at Vox asked Twitter what they thought of it and the answers she got didn’t mince words:
This is absolutely awful and was very confusing to everyone in the beginning. This whole theater seems to dislike this.. terrible
— Joe Arsenault (@JoeArsenaultCPA) November 25, 2017
Saw it today, hated it, resented Disney for so flagrantly shoving its way into the at least marginally more sacred Pixar universe
— Zach Barnes (@zdbarnes) November 25, 2017
Absolutely hated it. Pure agony
— Paul Murff (@murffious) November 26, 2017
It was a short? It honestly felt like it was a hostage situation. I was hoping it ended with Olaf melting.
— Melli Velazquez (@Melli75) November 26, 2017
That Olaf’s Frozen Adventure is so unbearable stings especially bad because we don’t get a regular Pixar short before Coco. I’ve always loved their shorts, which usually function as a test bed for new technology and an opportunity for a fresh directing talent to prove that they’ve got what it takes to helm a longer feature.
In addition, though Pixar is now firmly part of the House of Mouse, I’ve always felt that there’s some kind of separation between the two sets of IPs. But clearly this separation is dissolving over time, with Toy Story popping up in Kingdom Hearts and Pixar characters now all over their theme parks.
The worst reactions appear to have come from Mexico, where Coco has been especially well received for representing Mexican culture so well. One Twitter user theorized that stapling this whiter-than-white film in front of Coco feels like an insult. Mexican audiences have reacted so badly, in fact, that theatres have simply stopped screening Olaf’s Frozen Adventure altogether.
Apparently, this short wasn’t even planned to be in front of Coco. It was originally set to be a TV special for ABC to be played near Christmas, only to be awkwardly stapled to the front of Pixar’s latest release instead, which is another unpleasant consequence of Disney cross-marketing (maybe we’ll see it in front of The Last Jedi as well).
Don’t get us wrong. You absolutely should check out Coco, because it’s brilliant, but take your time buying popcorn in the lobby, as it sounds like you’re not missing much.