If You Think “Frozen” is Better Than “Tangled,” You’re About as Trustworthy as Mother Gothel


Leah Alder

In this author’s opinion, “Tangled” is clearly superior in this Disney battle.

Disney princess movies are all arguably extremely successful, with children and adults alike storming theaters to see them and having their very own favorite they personally relate to or aspire to be like. The 2013 hit “Frozen” in particular was the first film by Walt Disney to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and had young children all over the world screaming the lyrics to “Let it Go.” But it is in this author’s very strong opinion that not only is 2010’s “Tangled” better than “Frozen,” but it is the entire length of Rapunzel’s hair higher than it.

The first category this author is addressing and comparing between these two movies is the soundtrack. “Frozen” obviously has one of the most popular Disney songs of all time in it, “Let it Go,” sung by the amazing Broadway alumni Idina Menzel. But, this author argues that none of the other songs in this movie stand out, or are as vocally impressive as that hit. Kristen Bell is most definitely not known for her singing ability, and although good, is not the most interesting in the majority of songs in the movie. This author also thinks that although “Let it Go” is a very good song, and might have deserved the hype shortly after the release of the film, is extremely overplayed and overrated to the point that this author absolutely hates it.

To further the point, one on the “Frozen” side might argue that if it wasn’t as good as people thought, it wouldn’t have reached the level of attention and obsession it did. But, we have to remember our audience. The majority of die-hard “Let it Go” fans are small children who can’t often fully comprehend the quality of a song, so they automatically hold it on a high pedestal for being easy to remember with easy lyrics and melody.

With “Tangled,” however, this author finds it super hard to rank all of the songs with them all being of high quality and excellence. Unlike the “Frozen” soundtrack, a whole song in a part of the movie is entirely instrumental but is still so exciting to listen to and never gets old, like all of the other songs in the movie. This author could listen to any song on the soundtrack on repeat for days on end and never get tired of it. Additionally, Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi as Rapunzel and Flynn Rider are equally as talented, both being highly musically-inclined, and have voices that ascend this author to a state of euphoria. Their execution of not only the notes and melodies but pouring all of their emotion into every single line they sing is immaculate. With that said, the “Tangled” soundtrack is heaps and bounds above that of “Frozen.”

The next category will be the plot/story. The first movie this author is judging is “Frozen.” This movie has more plot twists than most Disney movies, which makes it quite interesting, and furthers the story and theme, with more characters being developed as less trustworthy than previously thought, like Hans’s real motivations for marrying Anna, and the overall theme being one that Disney had not yet addressed when in the presence of a damsel in distress. The message at the end of this film is that multiple forms of love exist and that not everyone should always look for romance or someone to save them, and this message is delivered through Elsa unfreezing Anna’s frozen heart with an act of true love, or a hug. This idea is extremely unique to Disney princess movies in particular and therefore, to be fair, sets the movie apart. It also makes the story better and is what makes the film in this author’s opinion more commendable and memorable.

“Tangled,” however, has a better story. There are a lot of moments that vary in emotion because as it goes on, you develop an emotional connection to the characters and care about what happens, which always helps this author determine whether a movie is great or not. For example, immediately following an intimate scene between Rapunzel and Flynn, Mother Gothel appears and immediately changes the feel of it from sweet to eerie. It also has amazing flow and it only helps that it has two plot twists that this author would argue are bigger than anything that transpired in “Frozen.” The first is when Flynn chops off Rapunzel’s hair before he dies to make Rapunzel no longer of value to Mother Gothel and set her free, and the second is when Rapunzel revives Flynn with her tears as opposed to her hair, which unknowingly to her also possessed healing powers. It is these twists and how the movie progresses that make it unforgettable.

The third and final category judging these two movies will be characters/character development. Anna and Elsa in “Frozen” both possess qualities that are admirable, but generic. They’re adventurous and independent, and of course, kind and compassionate, which makes them beautiful, but they fall short when becoming connected to the author when viewing the film. They also don’t seem to develop a deep enough connection that makes sense to the characters around them, such as Anna and Kristoff. Both are kind of silly, and they match each other’s personalities a little bit, but nothing about the experiences they had with each other in the movie nor their “chemistry” made the author fall in love with them as a couple. Olaf is also of course lovable and charming and funny, but he’s everything that the basic fantasy sidekick is in a Disney princess movie. He didn’t really add anything to the story except for the fact that he connected Elsa and Anna to their childhood and served as comedic relief.

Moving on to Rapunzel, the lead in “Tangled,” she was also kind of generic. Also accepting and kind, she was everything a Disney princess should be. But it was her connection to Flynn Rider and how he changed her that made her memorable and so loved.

This is perfectly demonstrated in these moments between the two. When Flynn and Rapunzel were stuck under the rocks that collapsed at the water mill behind The Snuggly Duckling, Flynn revealed that his real name is Eugene Fitzherbert, and then in a later moment elaborates on why he changed it when Rapunzel asked. He explains that when he was a poor little orphan, he was obsessed with this character in this book with that name, and Rapunzel continued to help him realize that he was amazing the way he was. This immediately leads them to develop a fondness for each other, which only progresses as the movie goes on through small things that were little, but impactful.

Rapunzel also had tons of character development in “Tangled,” from going from a naive teen who knew nothing of the world or what was in it except the lies she was told, to a courageous ingenue who is open to new things and is brave now that she is educated. In this author’s opinion, this is one of the only couples in the Disney princess movies that had visible flaws that were resolved by their love interest and had clear true love for each other.

Mother Gothel is another character who didn’t necessarily have character development but was a great character in itself. She was clearly evil, and with the context at the beginning of the movie of her enslavement of Rapunzel due to her healing powers and ability to make her young again, was finally given a reason as to why Rapunzel was kept in that tower until days before her 18th birthday. She was an extremely believable Disney villain and an interesting antagonist that this author loved to hate with all of her motives being explained, leading any viewer to see her as a completely evil character.

One could argue that both Pascal and Maximus were the same broad sidekicks as Olaf and Sven in “Frozen,” but they both played way more of a role in “Tangled” despite having those same personality traits. Pascal ended up dramatically changing the plot at the end of the movie when he made Mother Gothel trip and fall out the window of the tower to her death. As for Maximus, he was the very factor that led Flynn to even find Rapunzel, which obviously is a huge plot point. All in all, every single character in “Tangled” played a huge defining role in the plot and story, and in their roles, led the viewers and this author through a series of events that captivated the audience and connected them emotionally.

With these three categories and this author’s opinion in judging them, “Tangled” is most definitely the superior movie in this comparison in their opinion. Combining soundtrack, plot/story, and characters/character development, “Tangled” reaches above and beyond what “Frozen” had to offer in these same classifications. To this author, “Tangled” will always be a prime example of a well-rounded and magical Disney princess movie that is effortlessly timeless.