A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Olaf's Frozen Adventure is a half-hour holiday short based on characters from Frozen. It features a talking snowman's quest to find new holiday traditions for his friends Elsa and Anna. It's sweet and suitable for younger children and whole-family viewing, with a few caveats. There are a few scenes young or sensitive kids may find scary: Sven the reindeer and Olaf slide down a mountain and over a giant chasm; the sleigh they were pulling falls into the gorge. In other scenes, Olaf is chased through the woods by big wolves with big teeth, and he melts in a sauna (no Frosty the Snowman trauma here, though: He is quickly revived when his friends collect the water and throw him into the snow). There are also a few off-color references that equate a fruitcake with poop (Olaf eats it and it appears, steaming, behind him, at which point he says, "It went right through me!"). Olaf also says "Oh, darn it" once. Otherwise, this special is sweet and mild, with great messages about family togetherness and enjoying Christmas, Hanukkah, and wintertime.
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What's the story?
Holiday special OLAF'S FROZEN ADVENTURE picks up during the very first holiday season in Arendelle after the re-opening of the castle gates (and the events in the movie Frozen). When a party that Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell) throw goes awry, the sisters discover they've forgotten all their holiday traditions. It's up to Olaf (Josh Gad) to visit all the families in Arendelle to discover traditions that he can bring to Elsa and Anna. But when Olaf almost doesn't make it back from his journey, our friends discover that the true meaning of the holidays is togetherness.
Is it any good?
Widely derided when it appeared as a (pretty long) short before Coco, this holiday special is both charming and delightful when it stands on its own. Surely you must spare some pity for all those who worked on Olaf's Frozen Adventure, which, like all animated features, took years and lots of care to craft, only to be received with nearly universal mockery from viewers and critics alike. The problem, it turns out, is that 22 minutes is too long for a pre-movie short, but it's just right for a holiday special to watch after dinner and before wrapping presents. Olaf is as silly and quippy as he was in Frozen, dashing off slightly salty asides that will make parents smile (and may pass over kids' heads); Anna and Elsa are as sweet, even if the stakes for this special are considerably lower than the apocalyptic winter scenario Frozen was built around.
The special's four songs are no "Let It Go," but they're fine, tuneful, hummable enough, and kids will love the holiday traditions Olaf explores: Knitting socks! Rolling lefse! Gathering with your friends and family for a festive holiday sauna! Watching together may encourage discussions of your own family traditions: What do you do every year and why? When Elsa and Anna sing that "I will always feel at home when we're together, it's my favorite time of year," it may even make you lean over and squeeze someone's hand. What more could you ask for from a holiday special?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Olaf's Frozen Adventure's message. What do the characters learn over the course of the movie? How can you apply these lessons to your own life?
Holiday movies and TV shows often feature music. Why? Do you still hear songs from holiday movies and TV shows played on the radio or elsewhere, even years after the movie or TV show came out?
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