In theory, Disney’s first look for “Frozen” is everything you’d want from a toon teaser: An entertaining, self-contained scene that gives a taste of the characters and tone of the film without getting bogged down in trying to sell audiences on the plot itself. Ideally, a promo like this would play almost like a stand-alone animated short. The problem, unfortunately, is that it simply isn’t very charming.
In the early trailer launched today on Weather.com, a misshapen snowman toddles out on snowball legs, smells a flower and sneezes, sending his carrot nose flying across an icy pond, where he competes with a moose to save the disembodied vegetable from becoming an afternoon snack. The clear inspiration for such a teaser is the entertaining Scrat short that launched the “Ice Age” franchise, suggesting that a greedy pre-squirrel was responsible for the avalanche that kicks off that story.
It’s unclear whether this carrot retrieval scene will actually appear in the film — or even what its connection is to the project at large. Mostly, the teaser just announces the film’s personality, while revealing that it will take place in a winter setting (which was fair to assume from the title, “Frozen”). This snowman doesn’t strike me as the kind of character with whom we want to spend an entire movie, though the twist that reveals the reindeer’s dog-like nature does show promise. It will ultimately come down to whether the scene amuses kids, who will ultimately be the deciding factor in whether they can drag their parents to the Walt Disney Animation Studios release when it opens Nov. 27.