"Frozen" versus "Brave"













I doubt that this will mean anything to you if you haven't seen both of the movies referenced here so read on at your own risk of spoilers and pointless analysis.
I should say here and now that I'm getting tired of people talking about how great "Frozen" is. Yes, we get it, you liked the snowman and the fact that there is an inkling of some rational thought inside the picture. Romance takes a back seat for the movie, but by no means is it gone for good. No, that wouldn't make any sense.
Still "Frozen" resembles another movie that came out a few years prior: "Brave". The similarities between the two movies are very striking. Both deal with a tom-boy-ish princess, both make comments about how men and marriages aren't necessary, both are about family love instead of romantic love, both are set in a far off, magical lands, and both involve a quest to reunite the princesses with their families. Add these to the cute sidekicks (triplets that turn into bears and a talking snowman—both sidekick-like characters have been altered by magic), the fearsome beasts (a huge bear and a giant snow-monster) and the two movies don't seem that far apart.



"Frozen" more so than "Brave" has been and is being praised as a feminist movie and if it's not feminism that's being exemplified, it's certainly progressiveness at the least. Think about it—the main character isn't the main character, romance is ditched in place of sisterly love (but it does come back), and comments are made about how foolish it is to marry someone you just met...preach on, "Frozen". But I think that all the film is good for is having a fun time. The moral of the film is non-existent. If it's saying that sisterly love is better than sexual romance (or whatever you wish to call it), then why do we have to have a romance at the end? One of our characters gets happily married while the other one (who is probably emotionally unstable) is left alone with the barren remnants of her cold heart—yes, that's a little harsh, but that's what I see. You don't need a man—just kidding!—you need a man.
I say to "Frozen": hmmmmmm.












Yet for all these people who are posting article after article about how wonderful "Frozen" is because it's so "progressive", I ask you to remember Pixar's film "Brave". In it, we have a princess who doesn't need a man and never gets one, but that's okay. Her parents want her to marry for political gain, but she harnesses her true independence, knowing who she is, and says no. Her stubbornness and lack of compromise, her unwillingness to obey her parents turn their relationship sour and she accidentally transforms her mother into a bear—oops!












Right from the start, "Brave" has something that "Frozen" doesn't: parents. Disney loves killing off the progenitors and it happens again in "Frozen". In fact, the only Disney flicks where both parents are alive and present throughout the entirety of the film are "101 Dalmatians" and "Peter Pan". Neither of these are considered to be Disney classics. Think back on your favorite, where were the parents? For me, it's "The Lion King" in which a jealous brother carelessly tosses his kin to his death and a son runs away from home, away from his mother.
"Brave" bravely (see what I did there?) tackles the subject that Disney has long shied away from—conflict with parents. Merida and her mother trade sparring words. They fight, sometimes physically, and the end of the film is about a resolution in mother-daughter realtionships. You could argue that the physical mending is not necessary, but instead it is a metaphor. Merida has to race against the clock to keep her mother from permanently turning into a beast—a beast that she made. The bond that was broken is possibly just their relationship and doesn't refer to a meager tapestry.
So in this case, "Brave" wins simply because it doesn't backtrack on its own statement. At the movie's closing, Merida remains unmarried and she and her mother have a closer relationship. This film isn't saying that everything will be perfect from now on. No, more conflict will arise; but for the present, everything is fine.
"Frozen" tried too hard. You have the statements condemning a fast marriage (even though a fast marriage is implied by the movie's final frames) and then there's all the politics. Supposedly, this film is revolutionary for a few reasons—how it treats the sisters and the little things that sneak into the background. I heard opinions about how the film is supportive of gay marriage—a gay relationship at least—and they show this by hiding it in a minor character who barely shows up at all. Wouldn't it be bolder, more controversial and more politically forward to make a lead character who was a homosexual? For instance, what's so frightening about a princess who is a lesbian?......oooooh, the taboo subject. Though Jonathan Groff is openly gay, he voices a straight character.
In the same way that people shy away from a gay prince, "Frozen" shies away from its own sentiments. Elsa is the magical princess who will probably spend the rest of her days in sweet, sweet isolation. Perhaps she wants to be alone—so here "Frozen" might have the upper hand.
Besides one begin a musical and one not, the differences of the two movies start to become more and more obvious when you look closer.  Though both deal with family love (as I've stated and will continue to state) "Brave" is truly about a family loving each other through the bumps in the road











 while "Frozen" is exclusively about the love between sisters...and their lovers.














But the people have spoken and "Frozen" continues to rake in the box office dough.
It's the best contender for the animated feature Oscar and "Let it Go" has a good chance for a golden statue as well. Even though both movies deal with acceptance of responsibilities, "Brave" tackles the subject much less obtusely. Merida struggles under the rule of her parents and she goes out into the woods to see what she can do to change that. What she meets there is her destiny—the main and almost offensively blatant point of "Brave" is that a good princess will obey her parents. But not only that,  good parents will listen to their children; because the end is about a compromise. Merida has to give some and the parents have to give some. She's not free to do as she pleases, and they don't treat her as if she hadn't reached her independence yet.
"Frozen" witnesses a girl, grief-stricken by being "different" plunging into the icy tundra and turning the landscape white, just trying to be alone. She thinks that she can escape her responsibility by not communicating with her sister—but her sister comes for her anyway. Destiny calls to Merida; but it knocks on Elsa's front door.
I don't judge "Frozen" for trying to be a little more rational, I judge it for failing at being rational and I judge it for being just an "okay" movie. By cinematic standards, every character is needed in "Brave" and "Frozen" is filled with people that just take up screen time.
There are filler songs, like the beginning ice-breaking song in "Frozen". It in no way influences the rest of the movie or has any forbearance on what we're about to see—it's just there to be there. Only after the song is finished do we get an introduction to the characters and the people who sang the song vanish for the rest of the movie, presenting the idea that the Kristoff is an outcast as well, operating on the outskirts of society.
It could boil down to me simply liking "Brave" more, I'm allowed to do that. I see it as a more complete and better done film—not one that truncates its own point before its fully made. If you like "Frozen"—good for you...I'm happy for you. There's nothing evil in the picture and I'm sure that it will endear itself to many children for years to come.
But please, please stop making it seem like "Frozen" is a renaissance in children's movie making—because that's just nonsense.












P.S.
This is a whole lot scarier than anything seen in "Frozen". So the villain count goes to "Brave" again...though Merida could be her own worst enemy.
Alright, now I'm done.



25 comments:

  1. AGREE!!!! Entirely.
    Frozen fans are kinda crazy though, I hope you don't get death threats.

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  2. Frozen sucks and my 3 1/2 yo is obsessed! Damn heat wave was the only reason she ever saw a Disney Princess. Maybe Brave will bring her back or at least distract her and I can call her Isla again instead of Elsa!!!

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  3. I agree that the parent-child relationship that Brave addresses is more significant than the sisterly relationship. Frozen commands the admiration of children due to treacherous component of the plot. The same is true for The Lion King where deception of the uncle is a surprise. Children understand the betrayal at this level and enjoy the suspense when the protagonist must overcome the treachery

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    1. Articulate, succinct, vulgar, yet not rife with profanity. A stunning example of condensation and the appropriate display of anger directed at a children's movie. Brief, but filled with emotion...congratulation! This has been the most enjoyable and blindingly original comment I've read all week!

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    2. Mr. Jones, that comment is pure gold.

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  5. I watched Frozen first and I loved it for Elsa, for how people don't accept her for her ice-magic even though it's not her fault. Yesterday I watched Brave. It deals with the problems of generation gap, making your own choices, lapse of judgement and of course, being brave. The songs in brave are also beautiful. Yes, Frozen is a really good movie, but I think as a whole Brave is much better. And I really appreciated that a love story wasn't added in the movie. It is a much more feminist movie in my opinion.

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    1. I agree wholeheartedly! Thanks for reading!

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  6. And Merida doesn't need any magical powers or singing to be an awesome princess...

    Unlike Elsa

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    1. Exactly! Elsa is only popular for her 'Let it Go' song, but Merida didn't do much singing (there is a flashback of her and her mom singing). Also Merida doesn't need any powers to look cool (pun intended)

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  7. FINALLY! Oh, this matters a GREAT deal! I am so glad my girls, rest of my family and I aren't CRAZY for thinking Frozen stunk! Frozen or as I like to call it "Frost" fell flat...so much so, right through the ice as it were! To add to your list....."Frost" doesnt have Billy Connolly or Mumford and Sons. That alone is enough to call "Frost" a fail! Thanks for posting what we have been saying along!

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    1. I'm glad you agree. Thanks for reading!

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  8. THANK YOU. Frozen took on a deep issue and I was so upset that it was so poorly written, and with so many unnecessary (and one dimensional) characters. I really wish that Disney had taken more care with a character like Elsa. It was just underdeveloped and the ending for me was deeply unsatisfying. I'd avoided Brave because I was disappointed in Tangled, but I just watched it and was like WHY??? How did I miss it? And how did Frozen get so much attention? I get SO MUCH CRAP for not liking Frozen. I love that Disney is taking female characters in a new direction... but that doesn't mean I have to love their poorly written films. Films like that deserve to be better.

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    1. I am glad that kids like it, even though I wouldn't consider it a complete work of art. Every little girl I know wanted to be Elsa. The jury is out on whether the story is going to encourage them to grow into more compassionate people for those that are different, and more accepting of their own differences, as well. I saw that they were trying to send that message, but the story-telling didn't make it seem authentic. It didn't give it that... mythological bigness that made me absorb messages from film when I was a child. Instead of standing on its own, the story felt a bit manipulative. To reach wider audiences, especially those that might resist that sort of message, a story, to me, has to reach that level of bigness and stand on its own. Disney had been able to do that several times, and I'm always rooting for them to do it again.

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    2. Wow, yes, I agree. Thanks for reading!

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  9. Thank you! Yes, I love Frozen, but I'm such a nineties fan - I felt that the plot had a big fat gap saying 'look at me'. It's as if the producers didn't have any more ideas, and filled it with yawn-boring Anna and Kristoff. Personally, I think a prophecy (only slightly adjusted since Elsa becomes a protagonist instead of an antagonist in the final product) would have been more interesting.
    Have you seen the show Once Upon A Time? They've added Frozen, but ALSO the Original Snow Queen. I find that plot more interesting in the show than the Frozen one - the protagonist, Emma knew her but her memories were wiped away. I watched last night's episode, and it was revealed that the Original Snow Queen (played by Lost's Elizabeth Mitchell) was in charge of the care home Emma lived in when she was fifteen. Plus, I think Emma and Hook (damn, he's sexy - never thought I'd say that in my life XD) will end up being Gerda and Kai from Hans Christian Andersen's tale.
    I love Merida, she's so unique! She got even more praise than Elsa, the only thing the critics said about Elsa was about her appearance being 'overly sexualized' or something. Merida looked like a NORMAL girl (well, except for her head XD).

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    1. Thank you for reading! I agree that I think Elsa looks a little too perfect (then again what Disney princess does not?). I personally don't watch "Once Upon a Time" but I have several friends that do and they seem polarized on the issue of bringing Elsa into the picture, so it's very interesting to hear your point of view.

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  10. I absolutely, 100% agree with you. I've been saying this for awhile. Everyone's saying how amazing it is that Frozen portrays a princess that "doesn't need a man"... except that the actual princess of the movie, Anna, ends up with the man and its the Queen, Elsa, that doesn't. So I mean you could say at least one main character doesn't need a man, but as you said and I've been saying too, Merida did it before Frozen. You could go and say that Mulan didn't "need" a man either if you can say Frozen portrays not needing a man. Mulan didn't "need' Shang. She went to war for her family's honor and then ended up falling in love, like Anna ended up falling in love. Brave is one of the best Disney films and more true to it's not needing a man and family love is very important theme than Frozen was.

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  11. Thank You sooooooooooo very much for creating this article!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm not just saying that because Brave is one of my all time Disney Princess movies but just everything about it has so many concepts of life, love and family relationships that Frozen clearly lacks. It even lacks the character development; it's like they weren't in the mood when they started working on the movie to create different looking female characters as well as male characters (Hans and Kristoff) and they just said "Screw it we're tired of making Disney Princesses and now a Queen so let's just make them look the same as Rapunzel", but you all might not agree on me with that concept and that's okay. Tangled is also better than Frozen and again I'm not just saying that because Tangled is another one of my all time favorite Disney Princess movies as well but it gives you a true fairy tale feel. I'm not gonna lie though Anna and Elsa's castle looks out of place and you can disagree on me with that as well. Tangled and Brave both have castles that match the entire settings of their movies and that's what the concept artists for Brave said they wanted to do for her castle instead of a Cinderella style castle. I think that there is more to cry about in Brave than there is in Frozen and if you ever watch Once Upon A Time which is in its 5th season then you might cry but not until the second part of the 2 hour special. I agree with on the concept of family in this movie even The Incredibles is the same way too but that's how Pixar is; they capture the hearts of people with their stories that are all original!!!!!!! Also Frozen fans are the worst because they get super offended when you tell them that you don't like or hate Frozen or you haven't seen the movie and they gasp at you like you're a sinner or other reasons and they also bicker at you at times. They're fine when you tell them that you haven't seen The Princess and The Frog and Tangled and it's weird if a guy watches any of the two movies but when it comes to Frozen it's fine. Frozen is a girl movie and it should stay that way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  12. I mean't Brave is one of my all time favorite Disney Princess and Pixar movies!!!!!

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  13. Even though The Incredibles is the same way sorry about that!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  14. I think Merida looks like a beautiful girl, not a normal one!!!!!!!!!!!

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  15. I think Merida looks like a beautiful girl, not a normal one!!!!!!!!!!!

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