A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Viewers will learn more about Norwegian traditions like making lefse and hanging evergreen boughs for Christmas.
Special is built around a family's search for traditions to bring them back together, surely a noble holiday goal; families are shown enjoying each other and the season in a variety of joyous ways.
Positive Role Models
A nod is made toward diversity when Olaf sings "Hi, Shalom!" to a Jewish family dancing and spinning a dreidel, and then "Happy solstice!" during a musical number. Elsa and Anna show their sweet sisterly bond in a scene where Elsa walks out during an emotional moment, then returns and knocks on Anna's bedroom door to apologize.
Violence & Scariness
Kids may be concerned when Olaf melts in a sauna; he is easily brought back to life when friends collect his water in a bucket and then throw him out into the snow. In another scene, Olaf and Sven the reindeer slide down a mountain and almost into a giant crevasse (where the sleigh they're pulling falls); later, Olaf is chased through dark and shadowy woods by howling wolves with shiny teeth.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Very mild innuendo will probably pass over kids' heads: When Kristoff tells Elsa to lick the troll for good luck, Olaf says "You're a princess, you don't have to settle." Mr. Wandering Oaken invites Olaf in for a Christmas sauna where everyone's in towels; later, Olaf asks for one of the towels and Mr. Oaken whips his off (we don't actually see him naked).
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No cursing, but one "Oh, darn it." In a slightly off-color joke, Olaf eats a fruitcake that then emerges from his backside, at which point Olaf says, "That went right through me." Later, he drops the fruitcake off in an outhouse.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
At one house Olaf goes to, to ask about holiday traditions, men clink steins together and drink from them in a toast; it's unclear just what's in the steins.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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?
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.