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Disney+ Review: Once Upon a Snowman

October 22, 2020

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Did you ever wonder what that loveable snowman sidekick Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad) was doing in the movie Frozen between the time when Elsa (Idina Menzel) brought him to life while belting out “Let It Go” on the side of a snowy mountain, but before he met up with Anna (Kristen Bell) and Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and joined them on their journey?

Well, now we have an answer to this very question. Directed by Dan Abraham and Trent Correy, the new eight minute short film Once Upon a Snowman, which debuts on Disney+ this weekend, is a “midquel” that does a sweet and satisfying job of exploring Olaf’s backstory.

The short film opens with Elsa in the midst of singing her Oscar-winning power ballad, and bringing the talking snowman to life with a swirl of her hands. Olaf then gets knocked off the mountain by Elsa’s cloak when she lets it fly off into the wind, sending him tumbling out into the world for the first time in search of a name, an identity, and most importantly a nose.

This is technically the fifth official entry into Disney’s incredibly successful Frozen franchise, following the 2013 movie and its 2019 sequel, as well as the two prior short films Frozen Fever and Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, and it’s a brief but welcome addition to the series. We see moments from Frozen playing out in the background, and one of the most fun and inventive aspects of Once Upon a Snowman is how it lets us revisit certain scenes in the film from a different vantage point.

There are a lot of fun callbacks to the first movie and answers to some lingering questions about the snowman’s origins, including where his love of summer comes from. Gad once again does appealing voice work as Olaf, who appears here at his most innocent and inquisitive. As a whole, Once Upon a Snowman is a delightful and very cute little short that ties in quite nicely to the first film.

Once Upon a Snowman will be available to stream exclusively on Disney+ as of October 23rd.

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