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...
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.
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...
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? Um...no. Just no. And 'Fixer Upper' is blah. 'I've Got A Dream' is much better.
I LOVE 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 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.