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‘Frozen’ vs. ‘Tangled’ – What Are The Similarities?

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If you’ve been following any of the hype for Disney’s latest animated feature, Frozen, then you’ve probably seen some of the comparisons people are making to Tangled.  On the film’s Facebook page there are numerous peoples commenting “Is that Rapunzel?” or “She looks exactly like Rapunzel.”  Honestly, these comparisons are a little silly.  So, do Anna and Elsa look like Rapunzel? Is Frozen just “Tangled on Ice”?  We can only compare the two based on what we’ve seen of Frozen so far, but I feel like there’s enough material to go off of. Let’s take a look at some of these comparisons and see if they have any merit.

Character Models

Disney has a distinguishable style for their female animated characters: big eyes, thin lips, and a small nose. It seems like Ariel from The Little Mermaid started this “Disney look,” and it has continued since then.  The most notable comparison here is Rapunzel and Anna.  They both have those Disney facial features that are typical of a Disney Princess.  Do they look similar? Sure.  But they also look different enough that you can tell that it’s a different character. For instance, Anna’s eyes are slightly more upturned, her cheeks are a bit fuller, and her face is generally rounder. Rapunzel, on the other hand, has a more pointed chin, bigger and more rounded eyes, and a more pronounced nose.

Different faces in the Disney style.

Different faces in the Disney style.

There are also smaller details that differentiate the two characters.  Anna has more freckles than Rapunzel, and even has them on her shoulders.  Granted, we never saw Rapunzel’s shoulders, but the point is still there.  You can also notice Anna’s eyebrows wrinkling when they move, most notably in the “Party Is Over” clip you can find here. She also has prevalent neck muscles that appear when they speak.  I never saw these details on the character models in Tangled.  For the most part, Rapunzel’s skin looked a little plastic and unrealistic; it’s only when you get a real closeup that you can see some of the finer details like freckles. There’s no need for closeups to see the details on Anna’s character model, even just judging by a minute-long clip.  When I heard my friend tell me that the Disney animators used Rapunzel’s model for Anna and Elsa, I died a little bit inside.

Art Direction

The warm, lush environment of 'Tangled.'

The warm, lush environment of ‘Tangled.’

The world of Frozen differs greatly from Tangled, with its mountainous surroundings contrasting with the hilly environment of the 2010 film.  The color scheme of Frozen is also different–from the cool blue hues of the snow and ice versus Tangled’s warm and lush, green landscape.  Anna’s deep fuchsia cape is accented by decorative tulips on her dress, which varies in color greatly from Rapunzel’s pink/purple dress, lightly accented with decorative swirls and stripes.

Overall, I would say the animation is quite similar in style to Tangled.  Perhaps this was done purposely to make the film appear recognizable, so viewers could see a trailer and instantly know that it was a Disney film. Similar to how Disney’s princesses all have that certain look to them, Disney’s animated fairy tales of the 90s all had a recognizable animation style (that others tried to replicate, e.g., Anastasia).  Disney could be attempting something similar with their CG fairy tales — make them look similar to evoke that “Disney” feeling in their viewers.


We have heard very little of the music in Frozen, our biggest taste being of Idina Menzel’s power balled, “Let It Go.”  However, it’s easy to tell that the music is headed in a much more Broadway-influenced direction.  The film’s songwriters are Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, a pair who are most well-known for their work on Broadway hits The Book of Mormon and Avenue Q.  While these are both very adult-orientated shows, the two have also worked on the 2011 Disney animated film, Winnie The Pooh.  What we’ve heard of the music in Frozen are songs that sound like they came straight off the Great White Way (trying to facilitate the jump from film to Broadway, are you Disney?).  It should also be noted that everyone in the main cast of Frozen has been on Broadway at some point in their lives.

The music sounds so much different from anything in Tangled–the closest we got to Broadway was “Mother Knows Best,” if only because Broadway star Donna Murphy was the powerhouse vocalist for that song. Alan Menken and Glenn Slater took a much different approach to Tangled as compared to previous Disney musical efforts.  Menken tried to create a mixture of medieval music, 1960s folk rock, and a classic Disney feel for the film.  When all is said and done, the music of Tangled was not all that memorable.  Heck, I’ve heard a little over a minute of “Let It Go” from D23 (and what Chelsea sang for us), and I find myself humming, singing, and thinking about it constantly. That’s saying a lot for a film that hasn’t even been released yet.


This is probably the biggest aspect of the film that has been compared to Tangled. It all began when we found out the name had been changed from The Snow Queen to Frozen.  Suddenly, we all had flashbacks of Rapunzel being changed to Tangled in an attempt to lure in more boys to see what most would consider a “Disney Princess movie.”   Then the first teaser came along with Olaf and Sven.  “Why is that reindeer acting like a dog? They already did that with Maximus!” (Hint: reindeer actually do pant like dogs.) The comparisons increased when the first “real” trailer was released, which showed us the comedy (namely, Olaf) almost exclusively, and never showed us Elsa, the character who is the sole reason the entire film exists.

Both of these foreign posters are quite similar.

Both of these foreign posters are quite similar.

A look on the film’s Facebook page at that time would have shown you pictures of Olaf, Sven, Kristoff, and occasionally Anna.  But where was Elsa?  The same thing happened in Tangled’s promotional material: hide the princess, show the male lead doing some action-y stuff, and pray that no one found out that it was a musical until they had already purchased their ticket and contributed to the box office sales.  Tangled ended up being a huge success, taking in $200 million in the US box office.  Was it because of the marketing, or did people really enjoy the movie and spread the word to friends and family to go see it?  We can’t be sure, but whatever Disney did, it worked.

Interestingly enough, while Frozen followed this marketing formula for a while, Disney recently turned it around on us and gave us a the trailer we all wanted: the “Elsa trailer.”  It showed the reason for the plot, the adventure, a bit of comedy, and MUSIC.  In these last weeks leading up to Frozen, Disney doesn’t seem to care if their audience sees that their latest film is a musical and focuses on two princesses.  Maybe they’re using the old “bait and switch” tactic–they’ve already hooked their core audience with funny gags and ridiculous jokes, but now they’re showing the film’s true colors. All that’s left is to see if Frozen can live up to the success that Tangled brought to Disney, and I have a feeling it will.

Is Frozen going to be like Tangled?  Let us know what you think!

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About Stephen Erlandsen

Stephen is an art student at Fresno State University. Stephen's favorite animated films are Tangled, Beauty and the Beast, and Tarzan. His ultimate goal is to one day work for Disney. Follow Stephen on Twitter (@stephensweeps).
  • Brianna

    Great read! (And boy did those two posters make me cringe a bit at the similarities…) I LOVE Tangled. It’s one of my favorite Disney films (though nothing will surpass Aladdin in my eyes). So, of course, I’m dying for Frozen. It really drove me crazy when people started comparing Rapunzel and Anna. It’s very obvious they’re different characters simply designed in a similar style. The Disney style. The cast of characters is exceptionally different than Tangled. I mean, in Tangled we had Rapunzel, Flynn, Pascal, and Maximus. In Frozen we have TWO leading ladies, TWO leading men, a reindeer, and a TALKING SNOWMAN. Anyway, I’m stoked for the film! I love the sister motif, and I’d love to see a sister and brother motif in the future (Hansel and Gretel anyone?)

    • Daisy

      Tangled’s graphics are much better….even if it was made in 2010. I mean, they were aiming for a painterly look! Rapunzel’s hair, glittering. Gems glittering bright. Lots of sunlight. Fabrics have a lot of detail. Frozen certainly has amazing graphics too with it’s dramatic look. Blizzards, fog, snow and ice. But I think there is more to the graphics of Tangled. Both have advantages and disadvantages, like how Anna has freckles on her skin. But the ART, as art, of both movies are equally more than beautiful! I know Rapunzel’s skin is like “plastic” but what about Elsa’s? I also noticed that Frozen goes for a more cartoony look when it comes to characters. The characters in Tangled have realistic features.

      Frozen’s music was more powerful than Tangled’s (don’t get me wrong, I love Tangled’s music! Especially “When Will My Life Begin”). I also realized that Tangled has a better wrapped up story than Frozen. Frozen has a much shorter story, but still original and brilliant.

      All in all, I think both movies are equally good and original.

      • Not really sure why you responded to me? But my post was from before the film was even released. haha

  • Brandon Kelly

    While Tangled was a musical, it did not have a lot of songs. Tangled was more like Sleeping Beauty and Mulan in terms of amount of songs (Although both Sleeping Beauty and Tangled have more songs than Mulan). Frozen is going towards a broadway musical/operetta like Beauty and the Beast. The color scheme is different with both films. Tangled had a lush green tone mixed with yellows and browns. While Frozen has a lot of Blues, purples, grays and whites. Both Anna and Rapunzel definitely look different. The cast of characters have grown since Tangled. Tangled mainly focused on Rapunzel, Flynn, Gothel and a little bit of Pascal and Maximus. This one, we have Anna and Elsa’s, Anna and Kristoff, Anna, Hans and Elsa, Olaf and Sven etc. It is a more involved story with more characters. I think the reason both films are compared is because they are both 3-D CGI fairy tale musicals. They are both adventure stories and they both have princesses. Now Tangled’s marketing was very much like DreamWorks. Frozen started that way until the notable Elsa trailer came out which was more like 90s Disney Renaissance style trailer which was used in the marketing of The Princess and the Frog. Disney compared The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King with The Princess and the Frog in terms of the return of Hand-drawn animation. With Frozen, it is a continuation of the streak of successes with Tangled and Wreck It Ralph but Frozen is also returning to the Musical routes with The Lion King.

    • Mari

      Giants? I haven’t heard of that one – where did you find it?

      • Fadi Antwan

        Most of us know about it now. I think Disney confirmed it sometime earlier this year, maybe at D23 Expo? Not sure.

        • Mari

          Oh, okay! Evidently I’m not in the loop about much. 🙂 Do you know where I can find info about this?

          • TT

            theres not much info about it. no posters, no concept art, no nothing. we only know the general story:
            based on jack and the beanstalk, but centered on 2 giants and their relationship.
            I was happy they wont make an adaptation for jack and the beanstalk since they already have ‘fun and fancy free’. this is just loosely based like frozen, so im happy 🙂

          • Mari

            Disney seems to be focusing on non-romance relationships a lot. I wonder if this one will even have any romance at all?

            Oooo, maybe we’ll get a giant princess to go with the human princesses…… That would be cool!

          • Brandon Kelly

            Well as everyone explained above, Giants will be Jack and the Beanstalk. Disney did announce it but we don’t have any concept art to show.

  • Not Without

    Seems like Frozen is more like Wicked than anything else…

    • Liz

      I’m sure that Frozen is much better than Tangled.Now go for your shit.

      • anon

        What was the cause to say something so harsh? All they said is that it was similar to wicked which it was, they even quoted it during the scene where Elsa accidently reveals her powers. In fact, wasn’t the good witch named Elsa?
        If anything, you should at least give proof. Yes, Frozen was good but I beleive Tangled was better becasue it had more catchy music and less plot holes. Frozen seemed more suited for broadway, not an animated movie. I would have enjoyed it more if they had at least given us a backstory as to why Elsa had these powers.

        • Winnie


        • Elphaba… not Elsa

          Totally agree! BTW Did you realize that Frozen has, like, no evil villain songs? Well it doesn’t! (unless you count ‘Love is an Open Door’ a villain song….)

      • Winnie

        Really? -_-

      • Winnie

        FIY Wicked is a musical.

    • Manuel Orozco

      The only way they are similar other than Let It Go being Frozen’s Defying Gravity is Idina Menzel creating a equally misunderstanding character. But only one of the two earns a pitch perfect happy ending after a lot of bad luck.

  • Aliscen Khaw

    well i agree on everything except the music. hate to burst ur bubble but the songs are all so braodway-ish that i don’t feel its fresh at all==. i just heard 5 full songs from tumblr, n i wanna pull my hair out saying why?!WHY DISNEY?!== the only song i enjoyed was let it go, n little anna’s part in do u wanna build a snowman. but i still love frozen haha.( BUT THIS IS MY OPINION, pls don’t get it the wrong way, XD i don’t want to offend anyone)

    • Brianna

      Where on tumblr?? I want to listen!!! 🙂

      • Aliscen Khaw

        just go to tumblr and type disney frozen and scroll really down cause it was yesertday, this is my tumblr but it only has 3, i think the user took down kristoff’s song and fixer upper, cause that was quite blur. my tumblr, enjoy http://www.tumblr.com/blog/aliscenkhaw

  • Maria

    The part that annoys me most is when people say the movie will be BAD simply because the characters look similar to Rapunzel. I’ve seen a lot of people make comments about how they’re skipping Frozen based on ONE promotional picture of Anna and/or Elsa. :/ Like, seriously? What happened to not judging things by the way they look?

    • Frozen Fan

      I totally agree with you. Frozen has a completely different set, plot, mood, and characters. Remember not to judge a book by its cover!

  • Monica Rae Jennings

    To be honest I never really compared Frozen to Tangled.Sure they come from the same animation but I feel like it’s more headed towards a Broadway direction since some of the actors come from musical theater *cough India Menzel*. I think you guys should really talk about on why almost every single Tangled and Rise of the Guardians or ‘Big Four’ fan think Anna and Elsa are their children when Rapunzel is clearly married to Eugene/Flynn Rider and the only similarity Elsa has to Jack is their powers.

    • Interesting idea! I think the Tumblr fans do that mostly just to be creative/pretend what it would be like for characters from different movies to interact with each other. It’s just a way for them to play around with their favorite characters.

      • Gaia

        I agree with you.
        It’s amazing to think ‘what if…’ plots about fictional characters from different movies. People shouldn’t judge about it and leave them :).

  • Quigley Quagmire

    Frozen is the only animated movie around from Thanksgiving until MLK. Lack of competition, a snowy theme and good reception could help it reach $200 million in North America, but the generally unimpressive marketing and the ‘Hunger Games effect’ will mute its opening weekend earnings, in my opinion.

    • ?.?

      How’s $400 million? Haha, its fun going back through this site and reading comments.

  • TT

    somebody should make an article to compare ‘frozen’ to ‘beauty and the beast’, but do it after the film was released so u wont be spoiled. here r the things I found similar, if u don’t wanna be spoiled don’t read.
    1. two leading ladies have a love-hate relationship with the false antagonist
    2. wolves, with a leading lady and a leading man and an animal for transportation
    3. the villain is (SPOILER ALERT) a ‘handsome’ man
    4. the false antagonist is cursed by magic
    5. talking inanimate object(s)
    6. somebody is likely to die, but then revived by someone (not sure about this part tho)

  • Max den Hartog

    After seeing Frozen I can luckily say that Frozen isn’t anything like Tangled. The characters looked like Rapunzel on the leaked posters but the final designs don’t and
    while watching the movie I didn’t have the feeling Anna was Rapunzel.

    The songs in Frozen are very different from Tangled, they are much more Broadway than Tangled. So it has the big orchestra feeling Tangled didn’t have. And the story
    is so different from Tangled, yes they are going on a trip but on the way they
    meet completely different characters and the reason why the are going on a trip
    is also very different.

    For the people who still think Frozen is ‘Tangled 2’, go and see it, you won’t be disappointed!

    • Yeah

      Too many mirrors. They have the same story by more plot holes

  • Jones

    I simply don´t care – even if there are similarities, both movies are still a lightyear apart from what other studios turn out – sequels, prequels, even Pixar is quilty – everything looks and feels the same – but both Tangled and Frozen are unmistakingly Disney, there simply is no oher studio who does movies like Tangled or Frozen.
    Theycould be a bit more daring when it comes to the look – it´s sad how little of the gorgeous artwork for the movies is actually reflected in the finished CGI. With CGI at a point where one can do almost anything – let´s start using the medium! Let´s bring the feel of the artwork into the movies.
    There is only one thing that annoys me: the “modern” dialogue of the female leads… It feels out of place, could make the movies feel dated pretty quickly. All in all, it feels like a marketing thing – as if marketing people had told the screenwriters to insert that kind of suppposedly “hip” lines. But the trick to make a greta and timeless movie is to ignore what marketing tells you the audience wants, because a.) marketing people do notn have a clue, and b.) theaudience does not know what they want, and you never, never ever ask kids about what they want – never!

  • Kaleigh

    Raiponce! XD
    Truthfully, Anna and Rapunzel do look the same to me. I saw a GIF that flashed Anna, Elsa, and Rapunzel over and over, and all three of them look very similar. I read that the similarities are because computer animation is hard. If two female characters are on the screen at the same time, they will have very similar facial features at the same time due to animation difficulties.

  • votemom

    LOVE tangled. LIKE frozen. i think tangled as some of the best music ever of a disney movie. frozen music is very broadwayish.

    • DisneyLover

      I’d have to agree; I enjoyed Frozen a lot (some really funny moments), but Tangled was definitely better.

      • Sparkle

        I personally enjoyed Frozen more. I didn’t really care that the music was ‘Broadway-ish’. In fact, I like listening to that music more.

        • ForeverElsa

          I like ‘Broadway-ish’ music. I think Frozen’s music is definitely better than Tangled’s. Other than ‘When Will My Life Begin’ and maybe ‘Mother Knows Best’, Tangled’s songs aren’t very good.

    • Claire

      I agree! I like Tangled better, Frozen was great, but I liked Tangled better 🙂

  • Disney Fan

    It truly is irritating to hear so many people complain that Rapunzel and Anna look to similar. They are probably not even comparing them in actual pictures of the characters.

  • Laura Lakey

    They aren’t the same at all

  • Laura Lakey

    Frozen has different people and Anna has a face that is fuller than rapunzel

  • Hailey

    may i just point out i have seen frozen around…hmm 7 times now? 6/7 of those times i saw it in theaters. i payed my own money to see it that many times. (maybe once or twice i movie hopped… I’m 16 OK! i don’t money to see it 7 times!) i have all the music on my phone! i cried, laughed, and sang along to every. single. time. i enjoyed tangled. but I’m legit Obsessing over Frozen. i have never obsessed over anything like time before (minus Anime’s) i want to be Elsa! anyone who thinks Frozen is anything like tangled needs to go see the move. its better then tangled also in the sense that ***spoiler*** Anna is not saved by a guy! she is saved from the love of her sister. it shows that true love is not only something that is romantic. its deeper then that. and that’s why its amazing. “is move is raciest.” I’m sorry to brake it to you guys but the movie takes place in Sweden. if you didn’t know this… there is not a lot of black people there.. so they are just being correct. “this move focuses more on romance then friendship.” um no more like family! try again. on the outside it may seem like its mostly romance but you have to look deeper. Anna only is looking for love because she is lonely from her sister pushing her away.

    OK i think I’m done being angry…
    one last thing…
    Frozen is up for two Oscars 🙂 thought i’d just say that

    • ClaireValdez

      Cool 🙂 I’ve watched Frozen about 3 times (twice in Spanish class, in Spanish). And I got the DVD for Tangled so I watched it almost twenty times and I’m not even exaggerating.

  • Fart


  • moi

    okay, i really did enjoy frozen. I liked the whole sister idea, and that anna wasnt saved by a guy, i also enjoyed the fact that anna was wrong in the first place, that she didnt know true love, (a lesson). Although, tangled had THE BEST comedy. I LOVEEEDDDD pascal and maximus in tangled. lol, and flynn ryder, that was hilarious! i also liked that part in tangled when she climbs down the tower, and starts singing. later, she wont stop being undecissive about her descision. HONESTLY, I really did prefer TANGLED! it was the best!!!!!!!!!!!! although, good job on frozen! and nice songs! but tangled, it will be hard to beat the success of that (in my opinion). 😀

  • hnming

    If any of you ever watch opera, “Tangled” is Mozart’s “The Magic Flute”. “Frozen” is Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman”. Both are very different films and I love them both!

  • I really enjoyed Tangled when I first watched it. I truly loved Rapunzel’s hair, it was so pretty and long. I especially liked how it glowed. Amazing, right? And Flynn Rider (Eugene Fitzherbert, rather) is a funny character. Particularly his prickly relationship with Maximus, which makes me laugh every time I watch it. Mother Gothel was an excellent villain, too. Some of its music was okay, too, but it wasn’t the best.
    But Frozen beats Tangled by far. The characters’ designs were much more realistic, and many of the things looked so real, like Elsa’s ice palace. And the personalities of the characters were much better developed. Rapunzel has wonderful character, with her compassionate heart and optimistic spirit. And Flynn Rider has an interesting backstory, a little bit, and he’s funny like I said earlier. Maximus is okay, but there’s hardly anything we learn about Pascal.
    In contrast, Frozen’s characters are so much better. Anna has her natural optimism and the courage to chase Elsa into a frozen wilderness where she could easily get lost or freeze to death. And alongside that, her restlessness, as she is trapped inside a dark castle most of her life. But her loyalty for her sister that led her to sacrifice her life for Elsa was admirable. Much better writing than any character in Tangled. Elsa isolates herself from her sister and the world because she is afraid she would hurt anyone. And I also like the free spirit and joy she shows in Let it Go, where she finally lets go of her powers and escapes from her fears at last. Olaf is just hilarious, making occasional jokes to keep up everyone’s spirits. And Hans’ motives to trick Anna into marrying him and killing Elsa were quite interesting as well.
    The music in Frozen is just so much better. Yes, it sounds very much like Broadway music. But of course, you have to remember, many of the actors have been on Broadway in their lives before (Like Idina Menzel). Let it Go was one of the most beautiful and most heart-warming songs I’ve ever heard. Since the first time I listened to this song, I find myself singing it, humming it, and I just can’t get it out of my head. Do You Want to Build a Snowman was an awesome song too, and it expresses Anna’s feelings at being alone and bored her whole life as she longs to play in the snow with Elsa again. And For the First Time in Forever and Love is an Open Door were all well-written songs. Not to mention In Summer, sung by Olaf, who dreams of experiencing summer.

  • Anture

    They mentioned they cursed Elsa with ice powers in the beginning of the movie.

  • lizzi

    Rapunzels face looks more natural from the side compared to Elsa and Anna’s face is kind of off from the side, their nose is waaay to far down from their eyes lol.

  • Manuel Orozco

    Tangled and Frozen are not as great as almost every Disney fan says it is. But they are equally on par with each other. They are both beautifully animated, filled with memorable characters, heartwarming and packed with memorable musical moments. They have a mixed batch of songs but they keep the story going in not perfect but wonderful fashion. Anna and Rapunzel may have a resemblance but their uniqueness beneath their optimism stands out in a crowd of divas. PS I’m loving Tangled the Series on Disney Channel so far