Of all the characters in the Frozen franchise, Olaf seems to have the most stamina, and that’s thanks to Josh Gad. Much of what Olaf does is a product of Gad’s improv skills, which have allowed him to create a wide variety of short films and other Disney and Disney+ programs.
The latest in the series is Olaf Presents, where he makes 90-second versions of several new-age Disney classics. Olaf (Josh Gad) performs his version of The Little Mermaid; she appears on the cover of Ariel’s bikini and says: “I don’t want to be half a fish anymore!”
At Olaf Presents, the ubiquitous snowman from the Frozen franchise presents his version of the current 5 Disney classics – which are certainly not Frozen.
However, most of the time, Olaf played all the roles;
While showing off 90-second shots of The Little Mermaid, Moana, The Lion King, Aladdin and Tangled, he enlists the help of his friend Sven the Deer (whose mutter is voiced by Frank Welker), his gentle “sisters”, Snow White, and Marshmallow. (Paul Briggs), an ice monster created by Elsa in the first film.
She uses her snowy body to show Ursula’s tentacles or ropes to imitate Rapunzel’s hair. But somehow, he manages to get to the essence of each film in just about 90 seconds per episode.
You’d think that in eight years, we’d be fed up with Olaf with two films, special vacation programs, short films and other appearances. But alas, Olaf Presents is a lot of fun.
Why? Because we’ve seen the five films, he’s been in many times before. Given that they cover the last three decades of Disney animation called the “new era”, it also means that you can be a parent who has seen the Little Mermaid or The Lion King a million times or a parent who has seen Moana Millions of times (like us).
Knowing the plots of these films by heart makes us laugh when we see Olaf (and Gad) play the plots Olaf’s way – overexplaining some scenes and acting out others. We especially like how he explains Mufasa’s death in The Lion King because it’s pretty long and complicated, and Simba’s father doesn’t die right away. It’s the same thing we all think about as we watch each version of the film, so we love the fact that Gad and Olaf express their disappointment in such a humorous way.
Olaf Presents is suitable for all age groups.
We couldn’t find anyone. Mine almost 7-year-old giggled at Olaf’s antics, and he was almost as tired of Olaf as we were. We don’t know if Welker made a new voice for Sven or just borrowed it from a film session. But we love that veteran cartoonist (Fred’s voice for Scooby-Doo for 52 years!) becomes a hero! of animal sounds. In his appearance in Moana, he explains precisely what this PG film does; the scene with Maui peeing in the water, only mentioned in the actual film.
Olaf Presents shows why Olaf and Gad’s performances have lasted for nearly a decade. He knows how to improvise fun stuff, which has led to refreshing looks at some of Disney’s famous IPs.
A large part of Olaf’s story is Olaf and Gad’s brilliant vocal performances. (Most of what he says is improvised.) Olaf has often been kicked out in the past for reasons that are not his fault. Disney decided to put out the first “Frozen” based on a snowman. Instead of emphasizing the fraternity theme or that it was an entire musical. Olaf is innocent.
And when we decided to complete Coco’s theatrical performance with Olaf’s 30-minute Christmas special, everyone groaned loudly. But here, too, Olaf is innocent. Like Gin before him and Sisu after him, Olaf is a character. Who can bring iconoclastic references and goofy humour into classic stories and thus (in a good way) disrupt the fabric of the “Frozen” universe. Do you think we’d have a strong ’80s ballad in the sequel. If it weren’t for Olaf’s song in the first film? This looks dubious.