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Monday, April 14, 2014

Tangled vs. Frozen

I was sick yesterday, so I stayed home from church.  I watched Frozen, and then Tangled with my little brother, Ethan, who loves both movies.  I'd already had the idea to do this post, but seeing them both so close together, really cemented that decision and since I'm better equipped to do it right now, I'm going to jump right in.  Now, this is not a 'bashing' post.  I love both of these movies pretty much equally, but they have different elements that contrast each other nicely and I usually have a decided opinion about which I like better (and I talked all these points over with my sisters last night, so my opinions are fixed, at the moment).  I do like one of the two a little better than the other...but just a little.  So, here's my comparison...
The Heroines
I really shouldn't put Elsa into this category, since she's different from both Anna and Rapunzel (she's older than them and she's a queen), but she's also the heroine (or antagonist - whichever way you want to look at it), so she's here.  Being awesome, as usual.  But I'm mostly going to focus on Anna and Rapunzel.  At first glance, there's little to differentiate between them.  They're both eighteen, about the same size, pretty, been in one place all their lives, and they both sing songs about wanting to go outside and do something or meet someone.  But there are differences.  For one, Anna has a sister.  Rapunzel has no-one.  And, yet, she's not as starved for love as Anna, because of Mother Gothel.  Anna has no parents.  Rapunzel has both.  Rapunzel gets a guy to take her on the 'forbidden road trip' while Anna sets out by herself (though a guy does end up helping her).  Honestly, they are both so sweet and kind and wonderful that it's pretty much a tie.  Sister love versus daughter love.  It's tough.  So...I'm not going to chose.  Just let me say that I like Elsa better than either of them (and that's saying a lot) and that's where I'll leave it there. 

The Heroes
This is a touchy subject.  Apparently, it's too mainstream to like Eugene anymore, because he's too much like a typical Disney prince, and all the Disney fans seem to be getting away from classic Disney and wanting different plots and characters (hence, Frozen's appeal).  Honestly, I think they're both great.  Kristoff wins out over Flynn any day, but Eugene wins over Kristoff.  Weird, right?  But I firmly believe that Flynn and Eugene are as different as night and day, so...yeah.  But both Eugene and Kristoff are amazing.  Some bonus points for Eugene are: he's a bookworm (and actually ended up acting on his childhood literary hero, however wrongly it might have been), he's an adventurer, he has an...interesting relationship with Maximus, he protected Rapunzel (even if he might not have wanted to follow along with her plan at first), and he sacrificed his life for Rapunzel.  As for Kristoff: he cuts ice for a living (how cool is that?), he gives Anna the best chance at survival when they're being chased by wolves, he has a down-to-earth view when it comes to romance (unlike Anna), and he asks permission to kiss Anna (still don't agree with premarital kissing...BUT JUST).  They're both great heroes.

The Villains
Yikes.  Just looking at that picture of Mother Gothel reminds me of what a great villain she is (and, yes, I do mean great).  I'm planning on writing a post about villains on my writing blog, which will cover her and Hans more fully, but I'll give a few points right here.  First of all...for any villain to be truly believable, they have to have a human side to them.  Some vulnerable area or human quality to them.  The fact that people still argue over whether or not Gothel really loved Rapunzel really speaks to me.  She's a complex character with mixed motives (Rapunzel's hair, Rapunzel's safety, getting rid of Eugene/the Stabbington brothers) which is why I think she's one of Disney's greatest villains.  Now, by all rights, the Duke of Weselton shouldn't even be here, but he does have a few villainous qualities, so I included him.  Ordering his minions to kill Elsa?  Yeah, that's pretty bad.  As for Hans...*sigh*  Where do I start?  His villainy seemed pretty contrived to me.  As in, the Disney writers were scrambling for a heartpounding finale, they hit on that, and went with it.  Someday I'm going to share all the 'let's-redeem-Hans' fan theories I've heard.  Some are silly, some are sad...

The Sidekicks
Ah...the sidekicks.  They're many people's favorite parts of the movies, and for good reason.  They're funny (providing much needed humour in what could turn out to be depressing situations), fun to watch, and sometimes provide deep quotes/moments ("Love is...putting someone's needs before your own").  Honestly, there's little to chose between the four of these adorable mascots.  My favorite of the four would probably be Pascal, because he's cute and smart and all around awesome.  But they're all great.  I'd also like to talk about the 'comedic singing groups' in this section.  Tangled: The Pub Thugs.  Frozen: The Trolls.  The Pub Thugs totally win.  I love their dreams (however silly they are), and the fact that they rescue Eugene is the icing on the Snuggly Duckling cake.  And the trolls?  Ick.  Have you heard how trolls kidnapped fair haired children (in fairytales) and wiped their memories?  Just no.  And 'Fixer Upper' is blah.  'I've Got A Dream' is much better.
The Parents
In both movies.  But especially Tangled.  I mean, Frozen's parents are great.  They may have been misguided in helping Elsa work through her troubles, but their hearts were in the right place.  I just think that they didn't understand what all was happening, and they had no idea how to cope with it (and the trolls were no help - they showed eight-year-old Elsa a vision of herself being killed by an angry mob.  What's with that???).  And then they died.  That's probably the reason the parents from Tangled are my favorite couple.  They stuck together for eighteen years, hoping against hope that their daughter would return and when she did...I've probably watched Tangled over ten times, but that part always makes me cry.  The reunion scene is perfection.

The Soundtracks [I don't know why it's adjusted weirdly]
The music.  My favorite part (usually) of any movie.  And both Tangled and Frozen have an exemplary soundtrack, but in different areas.  For Frozen, it's the songs, and in Tangled it's the score.  Let me start with Frozen.  Despite the issues I have with some of the lyrics, 'Let It Go' is a showstopper.  There's no other way to describe it.  I've always felt that the film should have stayed with Elsa for at least a few minutes after the song, but, alas, it was not to be (more on that in a bit).  And [most] of the other songs are just as good.  'For The First Time In Forever' + reprise are just as good as 'Let It Go', and 'Do You Want To Build A Snowman?' and 'Love Is An Open Door' are right behind.  'In Summer' is a fun, cute little song, and 'Frozen Heart' is a strong opening number (despite what people say).  Honestly, the only two songs I don't like are 'Fixer Upper' (UGH) and 'Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People' (too random).  The score, however, is where the epicness ends.  I've listened to most of it, and every track (except for 'Winter Waltz' and a couple of others) sounds the same.  I don't mind continuity in film scores, but this was too much (or too little?).  I'm going to have to devote two paragraphs to this...
Now, Tangled has some great songs, but, really 'When Will My Life Begin?' + reprise, doesn't stand up to 'FTFTIF' + reprise.  It's a cute song, but not much more.  'I've Got A Dream' is one of my favorites, though, and 'I See The Light' is gorgeous.  Oh, and 'Mother Knows Best' is a great villain song.  But.  They don't have the epic sweep and scope of Frozen's songs.  The score, however, is phenomenal.  There are a few pieces I wish were in the soundtrack (notably, when Mother Gothel comes up the tower on Rapunzel's hair for the first time and when Rapunzel steps out of the shadows with the frying pan), but it's totally fine.  Each track is full of vivid imagery, emotion, and just plain gorgeousness.  I can't decide which soundtrack I like better.
Animation, Romance, and Plot
  • Animation - I honestly can't decide.  Tangled is so warm and full of colour and life and energy, but Frozen is beautiful in an icy, repressed way and the clothing, especially, is perfectly animated.  I'd say Frozen wins for sheer beauty, but Tangled wins for the human side of animating.  Facial expressions, body language, movement...
  • Romance - How can there be any question?  Tangled wins hands down.  BUT.  That's only because Frozen was focused on love between sisters (which can be even better than romantic love), while Kristoff/Anna/Hans was more of a subplot.  Both films are amazing for their unique portrayals of different kinds of love.  I believe Rapunzel and Eugene are the only Disney couple of actually sacrifice themselves for the other (well, Rapunzel was prepared to, but Eugene actually did it).  I find that very special.  And the sisterly love in Frozen is beautifully portrayed.
  • Plot - Here's where Frozen slips up.  In contrast to Tangled, whose plot is tight, streamlined, and enthralling (it's sort of a writer thing to notice it), Frozen's plot sags in several places.  I find I get bored for most of the middle act of Frozen - from 'Let It Go' to when Elsa is captured.  The reprise of 'FTFTIF' in the very middle does keep it from becoming too bad, but it's kind of bad if you're waiting and waiting for a musical number to liven things up.  Movie musicals should be able to carry the plot even when there isn't singing.  It's my biggest complaint with Frozen.
It was tough.  It was really tough.
I know some people (my mom included) won't agree with my decision, but this is my choice (kudos to you if you get the heartbreaking reference in the last four words of that sentence).  And I chose...

I love Frozen, but I believe Tangled will always have first place in my heart.  It was my first Disney princess movie (besides Snow White and Cinderella), and I love everything about it.  Story, romance, songs, characters, the epic ending...every part of it is perfect (or nearly so).  But, still, it's practically a tie with Frozen.  Frozen has my favorite animated character ever (Elsa...she even wins over Eugene O.o), some of my favorite songs, gorgeous visuals, and a heartwarming storyline.  They're both amazing movies with heart, drama, and loveable sidekicks.
The. End.



Una Mariah said...

Hi!! I nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award, Eva! :)

Alyssa Faith said...

First off, I've never seen Frozen and don't plan to, so I can't compare/contrast the two. However, Tangled is one of my favorite movies EVER! Tangled stays true to the Disney movies I grew up with in the 90's. So I'm pretty biased, lol. I've noticed from those talking about Frozen, the movie seems to veer off of the Disney I grew up with. Also I grew up hearing the tale of Rapunzel, so I knew I'd enjoy the film. When they were beginning to show trailers for Frozen, it just didn't appeal to me and I don't see what hoopla is about. And Zachary Levi voices I pretty much HAD to go see Tangled. Just my two cents! :)

payton marie said...

I am Team Frozen all the way!!! Yes, I do agree the "world" and "plot" are not nearly as well developed and explained as in Tangled, but still...that movie just gets me. The songs, animation, characters, um, Kristoff, who is pretty much my most favorite in the history of ever. Even though Flynn/Eugene is an amazing guy, I never really fangirled over him, or even Tangled for that matter. Adorable movie, don't get me wrong, I love it, but Frozen tops it no question. With Tangled I'm like, "Awww, that is such a cute movie" but with Frozen it's like, "CAN EVERY MOVIE BE THIS GOOD, PLEASE." And yeah, Kristoff is just the icing on the cupcake. Eva, I have heard you say you like Eugene better because you like self-sacrificing heroes... Well I just have to say that even though Kristoff never has the chance to actually offer his life in place of Anna's, he has several very self-sacrificing moments in the film, and I'm sure he would have died for her if need be, :) but this was a great comparison, m'dear! Both films are indeed gems. :) but hey you were asking me to choose... So I chose. ;)

payton marie said...

Oh, and why don't you like Fixer Upper??? It's not my favorite song to just listen to on my iPod, but it's one of my top favorite scenes in the film to watch. :) but maybe that's because it's all about Kristoff... *snarky laugh*

Caroline L. said...

This post makes me happy. Two of my top 5 Disney movies! =] And you wrote it a lovely non-bashing way! Hooray!!!!

I love all three girls so much. As dissimilar as they both are, I identify more with Rapunzel and Elsa than I do Anna. But they are all so great.

THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE EUGENE??? WHAT???? Wow. Cannot. Comprehend. I thought he seemed very different from a lot of past Disney heroes (not that there was anything wrong with them, either). If you can't tell, he is my very most favorite Disney hero EVAH. Kristoff is darling, too. Such a big, gruff teddy bear. Or valiant, pungent reindeer king!

Mother Gothel is a FABULOUS villain. She is very complex, which kept me guessing throughout the film the first time I saw it, and even now, I still debate inwardly about her motives. Plus, she is incredibly fun to watch -- all the drama and sass and great songs! Weasletown is just a greedy pig (or chicken with the face of a monkey!). And Hans... wow. Hans. I still haven't worked his character out in my mind. I find him incredible complex--never saw his betrayal coming in a million years. I'd love you to do a post about him sometime.

Sidekicks! Yay! so much fun! I love them all! Olaf most particularly! I can't help but laugh at every single thing he says.

The parents are great. I'm so excited that we finally get to see Disney parents alive and together with their children (even if its temporary). So many Disney characters are orphans or missing a parent, poor things.

DA MUSIK. SO GOOOOOOD. And I agree: Tangled wins in the score department, Frozen for the songs. Although "I See the Light" is now one of my favorite Disney love songs. The character development in Frozen's songs is absolutely amazing, especially "Let It Go" vs. the reprise, going from Elsa thinking she finally can be herself to realizing she's just escaped from one prison to shut herself into another. AUGH. SO AMAZING. Sorry you don't like "Fixer Upper." I didn't at first, either. I didn't like the trolls at all, in fact. But they have reeeeally grown on me, and I love that song now. Again, great lyrics, not just about Anna and Kristoff, but b/c the film focuses so much on sisterly love, they relate INCREDIBLY to Elsa.

And, as much as I love Frozen, I agree with it having plot issues. Things didn't fit or flow quite as perfectly as they could have, especially compared to the high standard of other great Disney films. I feel that Frozen focused veeeery heavily on the character development of Elsa and Anna (yay!) as opposed to other Disney movies. So, give and take. I wish Hans had been explained more, and I kept waiiiting for an ending song or reprise, but it never came. I wanted so much for Elsa to have a "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" reprise when she is sobbing over Anna's frozen statue. I felt that would have brought the plot full circle in a very satisfying, though heart-breaking way. But ah-well. Can't ask for absolute perfection!

Anyway, I love both soooo much. They both have a "Classic Disney" feel while exploring new things, which I really appreciate. There has to be new territory marked for the movies to keep being great. If they simply followed old formulas, the movies would be incredibly predictable, but the new twists and perspectives, within the Disney storytelling and flavor, are amazing in both films. Tangled is still probably my favorite Disney movie after Beauty and the Beast, with Frozen in an extreeeeemely close third.

Eva said...

Okay, I don't have time to answer every point of your lovely, long comment (I *love* long comments, though - it makes me so happy when people actually care enough about my posts to leave their thoughts), but I will tell you that I'm seriously thinking of doing an entire post about Hans, focusing on his motives and fan theories and all that good stuff. I really do like him, so it should be fun/easy :)

Natalie said...

This was really good!
I can't say I've chosen a "team". Tangled and Frozen are both REALLY good and I like different parts and aspects from both. They might be a tie on my list. :)
They're just such different stories, that it's so hard to choose a favorite. Tangled is definitely more light and fun, I think, while Frozen is heavier-but in a good way! :)

I do feel, like you said, that the story line in Tangled is better. Mostly because there were a lot of unanswered questions in Frozen! How did Elsa get her powers? What happened to Kirstoff's parents?

Also, what do you think of the whole theory that Anna and Elsa are Rapunzel's cousins and that their parents were on their way to Rapunzel and Eugene's wedding when their ship sank? I love it, but I'd love to hear your opinion too.

I could go on and on about these movies, but I'll keep this comment short. Great post!!

Caroline L. said...

Yes, yes! Please do! And if you do do a Hans post, I'll probably make a good long comment on that as well. ;]

O my. I didn't realized just HOW long my previous comment was. Hehe....

Eva said...

Natalie - I personally LOVE the Frozen/Tangled connection fan theory. It's completely plausible (the same cannot be said for many fan theories), has a viable timeline, and actually makes sense. I've basically accepted it as canon now :)

Natalie said...

Eva- Haha, me too. I just love that my two favorite Disney princess movies are connected in such a close way. :)

Eponine Castleonacloud said...

Hi Eva,
i do think that i like frozen a bit more, but of course people are entitled to their own opinions.(:
"All good things,all good things" (:
Since i really love your blog i have tagged you for the sunflower blogger is a link to it:

Mònica said...

(this is actually my sister, Libby, she wanted to comment but doesn't have her own blogger.)
I totally agree with your post! I do like frozen but tangled is my favorite movie! I really like your blog!

Hamlette said...

I just saw Tangled for the first time a couple of months ago, and thanks to recent repeat viewings (courtesy of my 2- and 4-year-old daughters), it has totally edged out Frozen as my favorite animated fairy tale. I'm really sad I missed it in the theater -- no idea what month it came out in 2010, but guessing I didn't go cuz I'd had a baby in February. Sniff. And yes, the soundtrack is great! I know it's gonna be a lot of fun to write to, too.

And Eugene... favorite Disney human male hero now. (Robin Hood is still first in my heart overall.)

Okay, going to stop reading your old posts now and go work on my daughters' Halloween costume: one Elsa and one Rapunzel, coming up!

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