Olaf’s Journey of Self Discovery

Once Upon A Snowman Review

Olaf's Journey of Self Discovery

James Hoekstra, Writer

Ah, Frozen, the 2013 sensation that swept across the nation faster than the consensus that Cats should be classified as a horror movie. Well, it’s back, with a short all about Olaf that’s honestly even more enjoyable than the second movie. 

Once Upon a Snowman is about Olaf’s journey of self-discovery. It’s deep, hilarious, and answers questions we didn’t even know we had, like why he loves summer or his thought process on his existence.

The short starts show seemingly simple, with a few bliss-filled bars from “Let It Go” followed by the pang of nostalgia. We see Elsa make Olaf, only the camera never pans away from him. Instead, we hear Elsa trail off as we focus on Olaf.

As Olaf opens his eyes for the first time, he says “I’m alive!” and then asks who said that only to realize that it was he who said it. His realization that he exists and can think stunned me into silence. Yet, this depth was balanced with humor as he yells “I can juggle!” then proceeds to fail, remarking instead on how he got too confident.

He then wanders into “Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and Sauna”, only moments after Anna has left,  and is given a sausage as a nose, but more importantly, introduced to the concept of summer. Through a dazzling set of images via a view master, Olaf falls in love with summer, much to the dismay of Oken and to the delight of the audience.

Upon leaving the shop, Olaf’s new nose attracts the attention of a pack of wolves. They advance upon him ravenously and chase him past banks of snow and patches of hills, only for some of them to split off and attack Anna and Kristoff, leaving the rest to chase Olaf down a ravine. There he realizes the last wolf following him needs the food more than he needs the nose and graciously gives it to him.  

The lovely short comes to a close with Olaf walking a bit behind Anna and company in the beautiful meadow with the icy vines, their meeting place. How fitting it is that his story should end where we met him or where it began the first time.

What’s truly fascinating about this is how the writers were severely limited in his story because it all has to take place within the small window between his creation and meeting Anna, Sven, and ‘Sven’(Kristoff). Yet despite this, they pulled through with a fantastic story that deepens our understanding of one of Disney’s best characters. I highly recommend this to all Frozen fans and just anyone who’s bored of 2020.