Tangled vs. Frozen: How They're Secretly the Same Movie

On November 27, 2013, Disney released their 53rd animated feature film: Frozen. Based incredibly loosely on Hans Christian Anderson's pants-shitting nightmare story The Snow Queen - minus all the kidnapping, pedophilia and Satan, of course - Frozen has been hailed as the greatest animated movie to come out of Disney studios since the Spice Girls broke up. Audiences seem to agree - the film has raked in $813 million dollars worldwide, making it the second-highest-grossing Disney film ever released.

Yeah, yeah, we get it Simba, you're #1.

If you haven't seen Frozen yet, you need to. Immediately. For two good reasons:
  1. Until you've seen Frozen, you are an empty, joyless shell of the person you will be after viewing this film. Seriously. You are a skin-wrapped void where fond memories of an animated talking snowman, a self-aware reindeer and Disney's greatest song ever should be.
  2. If you haven't watched Frozen, this blog post is going to be a gigantic festival of spoilers.

You know you wanted to see this again.

Even if you haven't seen the full movie, it only takes one glance at a poster to recognize that Frozen is animated in the exact same style as Disney's first successful foray into 3D animation - Tangled. Both films feature protagonist with wide doe eyes, impossibly long eyelashes, tiny chins and whole lot of sideburns. It's not exactly hard to understand why; right from the beginning, it's obvious that the two movies were created with the same artists, programmers and sentient pieces of software that Disney rely on. Know what else Frozen and Tangled have in common?

Their entire freaking plot.

Subtle, Disney. Subtle.

On the surface, the two films couldn't be more different: Tangled is a heartwarming re-telling of Rapunzel (without the blindness or unplanned childbirth), and Frozen is a heartwarming re-telling of The Ice Queen (without enslaved children with chunks of mirror lodged in their eyes). Rapunzel is smothered by her overbearing mother and wants a glimpse of a royal castle. Princesses Anna and Elsa grew up in isolation without parents, and Anna dreams of stepping foot outside the royal castle. Totally different. But when you put on your nitpicking hat and really dissect the stories, you'll find that Rapunzel's story is just a combination of Anna and Elsa's stories. 

Don't believe it? Let's see if this sounds familiar:

The story starts with a young princess, who spends her entire childhood shut up in a castle/tower/stone structure of some sort. She was involved in a mysterious incident as a young child, and her parents desperately try to conceal her supernatural powers from the outside world. From a young age, she knows that there will be terrible - albeit non-specific - consequences if her magical abilities are ever revealed.

"Uncontrollable Ice Queen powers" might be slightly more difficult to hide than glowing hair.

And so the young princess grows up naive and restless, yearning for a chance to step outside her stone walls and take part in the world outside. She tries to while away the long hours with art (either painting it or conversing with it), but it's a poor substitute for human contact.

One of these girls is marginally crazier than the other one.

Everything changes, of course, when the princess reaches a milestone birthday and technically becomes an adult. For the first time, her world opens up, and everything she's been missing out on is there for her to explore. Of course, her newfound freedom is only temporary - she only has one day (Princess Anna) or three days (Rapunzel) to fulfill all her hopes and dreams before returning to isolation. No sooner is she left alone, however, than she has an unorthodox chance meeting with a man with well-groomed facial hair. 

If Flynn Rider and Prince Hans combined their facial hair, they'd almost have a full beard.

The princess sets off on a grand adventure to, er, find herself, or resolve her lifelong angst, or whatever it is she's doing. Shortly after setting out, she and her incredibly reluctant travel companion wind up at a dimly-lit establishment in the middle of nowhere, where the princess gets some unlikely help from a large, burly, potato-shaped man. 

A large, burly, potato-shaped man who is definitely in touch with his feminine side. 

The princess reaches the apex of her journey, and learns to lighten up and embrace the quirky teenager/palace-dwelling ice monarch that she truly is inside. In a weirdly specific shared plot point, she undergoes a personal transformation and becomes exponentially hotter with an elaborate braided hairdo. 

Either the animating software came with a "screw it, let's slap a braid on her" button, or someone at Disney has a braid fetish.

With her inner Zooey Deschanel character unveiled, the braided princess takes a long, hard look at her travel companion and realizes that he makes her feel all tingly inside. He's a scruffy, orphaned commoner from the wrong side of the tracks, and he's locked in an unnatural, empathetic bromance with a sassy ungulate, so by modern Disney standards, he's obviously her soulmate.

Next time, Disney, I demand a movie about a scruffy Canadian lumberjack and his beloved moose.

Just as it looks like the princess is about to board the 'happy ending' train and ride off into the sunset, with true love and large hoofed animal in tow, she's tricked into leaving his side and returning home. Things take yet another weirdly specific turn when the princess bravely sacrifices herself to prevent a traitor from her past from stabbing her loved one to death. 

Wow, that Flynn picture does not look so good out of context.

Disney isn't quite ready to actually have a princess suffer for her actions and spend the rest of her life as a dark-haired commoner with a dead boyfriend, or as a girl-shaped chunk of ice; naturally, everything works out for the better, and the princess re-claims her place as the most beloved member of the royal family. Most importantly, at long last, she's is finally in a place where she's happy and truly being herself. And how do we know that? Why, it's because her hair has finally returned to its natural colour, of course! And she even gets to kiss the guy!

Disney: masters of recycling.

Now, don't get me wrong. Disney can spruce up this same formula with cute characters and catchy songs from now until the heat death of the universe, and I will watch every family-friendly moment of it, assuming that I possess biological immortality I was otherwise unaware of. But there is a formula there. 

Like a lobster. Technically, these little fuckers can live forever.

What do you think? Are Tangled and Frozen two fancy re-tellings of the same story? Or am I on a special kind of crazy pills this week? Please, do let me know.

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