Pixar has a long and beloved tradition of including an animated short before their animated features. In some cases, the shorts have gone on to become legends in their own right, like the outstanding Day & Night that was paired with Toy Story 3, but the short paired with Pixar's newest film is causing some controversy, and everyone is freaking out about the Frozen short before Coco. So why is that?
There are a number of reasons as to why everyone seems to have feelings about the short, Olaf's Frozen Adventure, that's playing before Coco. For one, it's not even a Pixar short, it's a Disney one. The short is a kind of pseudo sequel to Frozen, the 2013 movie that is the most successful animated film of all time but also one that has drawn a considerable amount of criticism more recently, perhaps as a result of its own success. Lately, it seems as if it's cool to hate on Frozen, and Olaf's Frozen Adventure is arriving at the height of this trend. Another reason for the short's controversy is its runtime. At 21 minutes, it can hardly be considered a short. By contrast, the 2010 short Day & Night is under six minutes long.
Another criticism that's being hurled at Olaf's Frozen Adventure is about the short's quality. If you're going to make people sit through a 21 minute mini-movie before they watch the nearly-two hour movie they actually went to the theater to see, you should probably make sure that what you're showing them is worth their time. That doesn't appear to be the case with Olaf's Frozen Adventure, as only 40 percent of audience members have reacted positively to the short, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
Wired's Clive Thompson shared a similar sentiment, going into detail about just how the short was bad when asked how he felt about it. "Unspeakably dreadful," he wrote on Twitter. "The songs were sludge; the plot, idiotic. It made me loathe commercialized Christmas, a holiday I enjoyed as a child, with a dark and molten rage." Oof.
But going beyond the short's corporate feel, lengthy runtime, and apparent poor quality is a criticism that's far more serious: Many fans feel that the short is a way for Disney to inject white voices before the Latino-themed Coco, either because the studio didn't have confidence that the Mexican-set film would draw enough of an audience on its own, or, more sinisterly, as a way to oppress Latino voices. "White supremacy made everyone that went to go see Coco sit through Frozen 2 before it actually came on. I felt so oppressed," wrote @gringatears on Twitter. Of course, it's not certain that's why the short aired before Coco, but it is how some people feel.
Twitter user @FuturaDoctora_ echoed a similar opinion, tweeting, "Is there an option to watch Coco without the Frozen movie???
@Disney just couldn’t let brown people have their moment."
User @TwittaHoney linked the inclusion of the Frozen short to colonialism, tweeting, "They played a 20 minute Frozen short before Coco. White people are so shady. They gone force you to watch 20 minutes of white girl before your movie so you don’t forget to be colonized."
Apparently, the short is so wildly unpopular in Mexico — where Coco is already the highest-grossing film in the nation's history — that some theaters there have stopped showing it before the film due to complaints, according to Vox's Alissa Wilkinson.
Whether Olaf's Frozen Adventure is actually bad, too long, or isn't necessary at all is up for viewers to decide for themselves, but it's safe to say that this short is stirring up some major discussion.