Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (2017)

Olafs frozen adventure

Olaf’s 21 minute quest to find a holiday tradition.

It was around the second preview before Coco that I got up to use the rest room. On my way back to the theater, I noticed a sign I must have missed the second time around. The sign read that Coco would start later than normal, because the animated short, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, was nearly 21 minutes long.

I had not really cared much to see the short in the first place (I did vastly enjoy the original Frozen, but I like it so much more when the short films before a Disney/Pixar film are original pieces). Earlier in the day, a friend’s daughter said she would see Coco only because she wanted to see Olaf. To her, I say the following: this is one move from Disney I cannot support. I have seldom been more angry at the company.

It was very tempting of me to give this short film (which is far from short) my first zero rating, but I must admit I did smile at a few moments (the only one I do remember liking a bit is about fruitcake). The premise is simple: It is Christmas time in Arendel and the sisters Ana (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) set up for a big dinner, they realize no one will come since everyone has their own Christmas traditions. This is when Olaf (Josh Gad) decides to find a tradition for his friends to have together.

The movie is harmless, but with a runtime of just over 20 minutes (including four songs (which are forgettable), Olaf’s Frozen Adventure is the best example of superfluous I can think of. I sat there, wondering why not just use this as a TV special? Sure enough, when I got home, I found out the film was supposed to be a TV special, but the execs and makers found the material “too theatrical”.

Uh huh.

If a movie theater (and, according to reports, the one I was at was not the only one) is letting you know that the main feature is going to start later than normal due to the “short” before hand, you made a grave mistake (it also does not help that it is not shown for critics).

It is bad enough that I had to be reminded that this was not the first short from the Frozen universe (Frozen Fever was played before 2015’s live action Cinderella). Olaf’s Frozen Adventure will be remembered for every wrong reason imaginable. I would not be surprised if they don’t even include it on the home release of Coco (which, unlike Olaf, is far more worth your money).

Still not convinced? Even the kid next to me was saying how glad he was the thing finally ended.

 

Overall: Half a Star 1/2 *

Left Behind (2014)

Left Behind

Nicolas Cage as the pilot, who is also Left Behind…

Since I am not a paid movie critic (as of this writing), it is a blessing and a curse when movies go under my radar and others have to watch them. I am not just talking about missing hidden gems that deserve a wider release, but those that are butchered by the critics. It seems that the best critics can do is have fun saying how bad a film is, which is why I seek them out from time to time. Enter the movie Left Behind, clearly one of the worst, um, things, ever to be called a full length feature film. I doubt you will ever come across it, but in case you do…here is your warning.

The movie stars Nicolas Cage, and (believe it or not) that is far from the worst part of the film. I still believe that Cage is a great actor (he is even an Oscar winner). It is really just the fact that he picks some bad movies to be in. Here he plays Rayford Steele, a pilot on his way from New York to London. His daughter Chloe (Cassi Thomson) is home from college to surprise him, but learns from her mother Irene (Lea Thompson) that he won’t be home. We learn he is in fact cheating on his wife with a flight attendant. We also get Chad Michael Murray as a popular reporter named Buck Williams, who falls for Chloe.

We get scenes of characters who believe in God warning that the end will come on any day. Steele and his daughter don’t believe it, even though Irene has become a firm believer. Eventually, in the blink of an eye, people vanish. No trace except for the clothes they were wearing and their belongings. This is happening all around the world. All the kids (including Chloe’s little brother Raymie) are gone, and so is Steele’s co-pilot.

The panic scenes show one of the major flaws of this movie. While all the actors (and I mean all of them) give bad performances, none do worse more than every single extra in the film. Ok, it is understandable that extras may not have as much talent or experience as veteran actors (like Cage), but it seems like these people did not even get time or direction to know what to do and how to do it. It is like the director (Vic Armstrong) just told everyone “When I say go, PANIC!”, and nothing else.

It also takes everyone in the movie a long time to find out that God has taken those that are not left behind. After they finally do, it is a lame and bland (understatement) attempt to finally see if Cage can land his plane (he does. I doubt I am spoiling it because it is doubtful anyone else will see this movie.)

Parents, if all you care about is if a film has sex or violence in it, don’t worry. It is just thematic elements. If, however, it is quality, wit, and over all good in a movie you want, keep your kids far away.

I have stated before that I am saddened by the fact that most movies that are “Christian” movies are not always done well (let alone received well). Left Behind is on a whole level of awful by itself. How many other movies are hated by both non-believers and believers as well? They may despise the movie for different reasons, but that alone shows more of why the film sucks in general.

As for me, I am a believer, and hope to be taken in heaven with God for eternity. The alternative (hell) is by far the absolute number one worst thing that could happen. While I have not made a list of other bad things that can happen to me, watching Left Behind again may be up there.

 

Overall: 1/2 Star