Ah, love. Gene and I figured since this is what most Disney princess films hearken back to, we might as well start here. Let's get at it!
Tangled vs. Frozen - LOVE STORY
Team Frozen - Gene's Argument
If I were to give you a pencil and paper and ask you to come up with a love story for a fairytale revolving around a princess, you may come up with something resembling the tales of Snow White and Cinderella. Typical princess finds prince + some drama keeping them apart = love. Or maybe you come up with a bit of a rebel story where the princess goes "slumming" and falls for the average Joe with a heart of gold who just doesn't know it yet.
Who could blame you? These are the type of love stories we've been told all our lives. They're traditional, they're normal, they're safe.
None of those words would ever be used to describe the central love story in Frozen.
Now don't get me wrong, Frozen does have some of that. Anna and Kristoff fit quite well into that classic mold of royalty falling for commonality. And if that were the central love story in Frozen, I wouldn't have an argument here.
But it isn't.
I said in my opening statement yesterday that Frozen seeks to go for more than that tale as old as time. That it rides on the backs of all the standard romances that have typified princess tales for generations. And when you consider that Kristoff is literally ushering Anna to her sister, and that Anna herself thinks that true love is simply kissing the guy she loves, you begin to see that Frozen is exposing within its story. That there is a greater love than just what we're used to seeing out of Disney princesses.
To be sure, this is the fullest expression of true love. There's nothing else a person can do for the one they love that would mean as much.
And (clears throat, summons President Obama impersonation) let me be clear, I would never say that Eugene and Rapunzel don't love each other. The problem is we just don't see it in such clear terms as we do in Frozen. Sure, Eugene cuts off Rapunzel's hair which indirectly, possibly, could maybe mean that he dies. But he's not doing that to save her life the way Anna literally steps in front of the blade for Elsa. He's just "rescuing" her from servitude to a woman which she was certainly more than capable of escaping from down the road.
Twenty five years from now Tangled's love story will be lost in the crowd of your standard princess fairytales, while Frozen will still be the measuring stick of telling stories of true, sacrificial love.
We all dream of true love. And if we're shooting for reality then we're probably envisioning someone who will take us along with them on an enlightening trip of self-discovery. Not unlike Tangled. But if we're shooting for exceptional, then we're aiming for someone who would sacrifice their very existence so that we may live. That is why Frozen's love story is exceptional and superior to all others, Tangled included.
Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this; than to lay down one's life for his friends." (Jn. 15:13). Now Aaron, unless you would propose that Jesus is wrong in this respect, I think this particular case is pretty much settled.
Team Tangled - Aaron's Rebuttal
Okay, I'll bite.
I believe Jesus healed people and even raised a man from the dead, Gene. Sound like anyone else you know? Perhaps a certain golden-haired princess with flowing locks?
What Gene should know, (and better than most - we attended the same church growing up), is I too can quote scripture. Like this one from the book of Disney, chapter 8, verses 3-4: Ye, beware a frozen heart, brethren, lest ye be banished among the cold and soulless. Rather, let you see the light and be healed.
I do agree with Gene’s point of self-sacrifice, especially as it’s one Frozen copied from Tangled.
But unlike Anna, Flynn has a character arc, turning from his evil ways into a good man. You might know of a similar story, Gene. I think his name was once Saul before he saw the light. (Acts 9:1-19, and Acts 13:9).
I also love the mention Rapunzel could’ve escaped Mother Gothel down the road without Flynn’s help. Because we all know Elsa is helpless. It’s not like she could create a giant scary snowman to defend her, or freeze metal chains to escape from prison, or turn her entire kingdom/surrounding landscape into a glacier.
But, yeah, she needed Anna’s help to escape Hans for sure.
True love takes two to tango, Geno, so let’s examine the sisterly love in Frozen and how it’s reciprocated. Should we look at Elsa:
Team Tangled - Aaron's Argument
I think this an unfair category - I’m practically tripping over myself with all the love in Tangled.
Oh...What’s that you say? The love interest isn’t a prince?
You say he’s more of a thieving rogue who looks something like this:
Perhaps Tangled teaches us love isn’t solely for royalty. That the common man, and yes even a thieving rogue, can find love. That is, if they realize the error of their ways and make amends to the person they’ve come to appreciate.
But such a thing can only come after spending time with one another. Say, for example, a first date in a restaurant, a near death experience, a day full of festivities in the capital, or a thoughtful show of affection by taking your lady love out in a boat to have the best seat available for something she’s dreamed of all her life.
Unlike Anna falling in love at the drop of a hat, Rapunzel made it clear from the very first sighting of Flynn Rider that his smoldering Blue Steel had no power over her. He had to earn her affections.
Which is how it should be.
If there’s one thing about love I’ll teach my daughter after watching these two films, it will be to model Rapunzel - Aim for his head, darling.
The second lesson I'll teach her is look at the outcomes of these two very different relationships: Anna gave her affections over willy-nilly. She had no barriers. Offered no chase. Just take me to marry or lose me-
Oh. Right. She didn’t even say lose me forever…
Rapunzel showed Flynn they were equals - she gained the upper hand on him by taking him prisoner, convinced him to take her where she wanted to go, rescued them from drowning, do you need me to go on?
And lest you think I’m cherry-picking on Frozen and the “real” love story was between Anna and Kristoff. Here’s how capable she proved herself to him:
But love is also about family. One of the best lessons my parents taught me was you don’t just marry the girl, son. You marry the family too.
So boys and girls, I’ll present you with two options. And know that you’ll be dealing with these folks the rest of your life. Would you rather marry into a family that has:
Team Frozen - Gene's Rebuttal
It should be obvious to anyone reading that Aaron's first handful of jabs regarding all the "love" in Tangled are terribly misleading.
Suddenly the curtains are drawn back. My eyes are now opened and I can see the error of my ways! All this time I thought only royalty could have true love...said no one ever.
Who on earth ever thought love was only for royalty? I've heard the ‘royalty falls for common man’ story already....
Of course, this seems like a decent argument when he's comparing it to Anna and Hans. But as I so eloquently explained, that isn't the actual love story that Frozen promotes. It's not even close. Aaron misses the entire point of the true sacrificial love that Frozen champions, and so comparisons to any other love connection that happen to occur within it are misplaced.
Finally, Aaron tries to convince us that Rapunzel is some kind of hero of feminism in showing Flynn that they're equals. Equals, like when she took him prisoner. Equals, like when she convinced (read blackmailed) him to escort her around. Equals, like when she employs magical powers to save his ordinary life. Sounds less to me like equals and more like either a domineering and demanding little girl, or a weak pushover of a guy.
In the end it's still clear, in fact moreso now, that Frozen's love story stands head and shoulders, and ever flowing hair above any other. Especially that of Tangled.
We'll be at Gene's site tomorrow, Let There Be Movies, so be sure to pop on over there and read what we have to say about the villains of these two films.
Oh, and since Gene and I are at an impasse, we need you to help us decide who should win this debate topic. Please vote for who you think argued their case better. Again, not which film you like best, but rather which argument you found more convincing.
Thanks for reading! See ya tomorrow!
Author. Actor. Rascal.