Olaf’s Frozen Adventure Disney featurette was released along with Disney-Pixar’s Coco on November 22nd. Many, if not most people, who are accustomed to seeing a short before a Pixar film, were not prepared to see a 22-minute featurette before getting to the movie that they actually came to see.
People were confused, children got antsy, popcorn was empty before the movie began. There was chaos and uproar, and Disney reportedly plans on removing the Olaf’s Frozen Adventure featurette from theaters on December 8th (they planned to do this all along according to Disney).
It was actually BECAUSE of this controversy that I ventured out to see both films, along with my wife and daughter, before Olaf’s Frozen Adventure was removed. I wanted to see how insufferable it was to sit through this monstrously long entertainment experience.
To be honest, I didn’t really even have Coco on my radar initially. My daughter hadn’t mentioned it, and it was about a tradition that I really knew nothing about. It just isn’t part of my family traditions or history. You can bet your bippy though that we’ll be going to see Frozen 2 when it comes out in 2019.
This was my shameless mistake. Coco turned out to be a wonderful film. My family was exposed to a culture and tradition that made me feel ashamed we have no equivalent in my own family history. Why is there no celebration of our family ancestors in my own culture? Am I allowed to adopt a tradition that is not my own because I find it beautiful and meaningful?
And what did I think of Olaf’s Frozen Adventure?
I liked it. We went in fully anticipating to sit through a 22-minute featurette, and so I didn’t feel the burden of those minutes weighing on me as I waited for Coco to begin. I go to family/children’s movies because I want to see the film, not just because I feel it’s a movie to amuse the kids. It’s a family experience and we like to talk about the films we see afterwards.
All of the Frozen characters were back. My daughter is the age where the original movie and soundtrack ruled her world for a time, and she was genuinely happy to get another peek into the lives of her Frozen friends. It was slow at times, a bit sappy as well, but I expected that from Olaf. Sappy is his schtick. There were also times that I laughed, times that I smiled, and the end even threatened to bring a tear to my eye (not like Coco though, I had tears streaming at the end of that one, a bit embarrassing for a middle-aged man).
I can also understand completely why Disney thought this would be a good move. Both movies are about traditions and about family. Olaf’s Frozen Adventure takes place at Christmas so this is the perfect time of year to release it. Additionally, there is the cross-cultural promotion. Some people might go see both in order to see either one or the other.
Their mistake was not promoting both movies this way. People needed to know that they would be in for a long Frozen featurette before the main feature. Many young kids go to these movies and it’s just too long of a time for them to sit through quietly. Attention spans are not what they used to be.
The end result was many parents went into this film completely unaware of what they were in for, and were confused and upset by it. If you are going to do something out of the ordinary, you need to make sure everyone knows what they are in for.
I think that maybe there should have been the option to purchase tickets to either see the version with Olaf’s Frozen Adventure or without it, so that parents could decide for themselves what experience they wished. Sure, this has never been done before, but a 22-minute short before the main feature isn’t a typical move either.
This is not what they did though, and so as of December 8th, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure will no longer be shown before Coco (reportedly). If your kids can handle it, I recommend you go see them both now. It might be some time before you get a chance to see it otherwise.
The only problem I had with the whole experience was that I had to race to the bathroom after the movie ended. Coco was just too good for me to miss a single minute.