Disney+ TV review: Olaf Presents
Ivan Radford | On 14, Nov 2021
“I’m married – and I have feet!” That’s the sound of Olaf recapping The Little Mermaid in Olaf Presents, Disney’s new short-form comedy series. And, if that made you chuckle, you know exactly what to expect from one of the streaming service’s shortest box sets: lots of very silly laughs.
The series has its roots, of course, in the Frozen franchise that introduced the fast-talking snowman – specifically, the moment in Frozen II, when Olaf attempted to explain the events of Frozen to another character. Josh Gad’s vocals have always been a key part of Olaf’s appeal, and his screeching, high-pitched energy is out in full force here – and, much like Frozen and Frozen II, that childlike enthusiasm makes him loveable when he could become grating.
But also key to Olaf’s charm is Gad’s knack for rambling improvisation, and there’s a familiar, free-wheeling excitement on display here, as he eagerly describes, comments on and reinvents popular Disney animated classics. They are: The Little Mermaid, Moana, The Lion King, Aladdin and Tangled. They’re gently mocked as well as celebrated, making for an affectionate, family-friendly ride through what will likely be childhood favourites.
Olaf is accompanied by several Frozen sidekicks, including reindeer Sven, fellow snowpeeps the Snowgies and the hulking Marshmallow monster made by Elsa in the first film. That allows for enough variety in the hyperactive, witty visuals, from Olaf turning his snowball feet into Ursula-like tentacles or bulking his chest to play Maui – one inspired moment with Marshmallow that recreates the end of Moana is laugh-out-loud funny in its simplicity.
Each recap plays out in less then two minutes, with manic editing chopping the plot down into an almost incomprehensible montage. It’s exactly the kind of pace that kids raised on YouTube and TikTok will be at home with – but it also means the 10-minute total runtime is over quickly enough to avoid parents becoming annoyed. The result is a fast, fun family binge to fill the odd gap in a morning or keep kids entertaining while doing the washing up after Christmas dinner.
Olaf Presents is available on Disney+ UK, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription or a £79.99 yearly subscription.