Now THIS is a fun topic for comparison. It’s not something you normally think of when analyzing princess movies. But we’re going to tackle this as our fourth debate topic in this series. Like the good host I am, Aaron will give you his case first, followed by my rebuttal. Then I’ll sweep him away with my case for Frozen’s sidekicks, and Aaron will attempt a rebuttal 🙂 Here we go!
Aaron – Tangled’s Sidekicks
Every role is important – even sidekicks.
All good actors and writers understand this. They also know a solid supporting role can steal the show. Though often used for a variety of reasons, the overall purpose of sidekicks should always contribute to the story, otherwise they’re just filler characters and the audience/readers get the vibe something is missing.
Again, we’re in luck on this debate topic because these two films (in certain aspects) mirror one another. Let’s first look at Maximus – the captain of the guard’s noble steed in Tangled.
Maximus begins as a character seeing the world in plain old good and evil. He hunts Flynn, battles Flynn, and is relentless in his quest to do the right thing. But when Rapunzel helps Maximus understand people are more than what they seem, that even bad boys like Flynn Rider can change, Maximus does what memorable characters do – he changes.
When he sees Flynn taken in chains, Maximus rallies the rogues and thieves. He leads the rescue charge and breaks Flynn out of prison, then bears him off to rescue Rapunzel. In fact, everything would have turned sour – (Flynn executed, Rapunzel imprisoned by Gothel) – if not for the actions of Maximus.
Meanwhile, here’s what Sven does in Frozen:
- Provides companionship for Kristoff (some might argue he offers more than that, if you believe the love trolls).
- Gives the carrot nose back to Olaf.
The only thing Sven offers his story is a beast of burden – (pulling the sleigh, and carrying Kristoff back to Arendelle). Actually, I could even argue Sven contributes nothing at all because:
1) The sleigh crashes and yet Anna/Kristoff still make it to Elsa’s castle.
2) His carrying Kristoff to “save the day” fails.
But let’s move on to Round 2 and compare princess sidekicks – Olaf vs. Pascal.
We’ll start with Olaf because, much like the last argument, this character is dumb. Literally. Gene loves scripture, and it just so happens I have one for Olaf: Proverbs 17:28 – “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.” I get it though – Olaf is a lovable loser and makes kids laugh. Fine. Does he shape or alter the course of events in the story?
Meanwhile, across the pond, we have Pascal – the feisty chameleon. Whether changing the color of his skin to evoke emotion, or providing comic relief through a simple deadpan look, Pascal conveys all the information we need without ever saying a word.
But that’s not even his greatest achievement.
Like Maximus, Pascal serves a greater purpose in this story. More than companionship or comic relief, Pascal is the true hero, cementing his awesomeness in one defining moment.
He kills the villain.
Gene and Fro-hards can argue all they want that Gothel would have died anyway. Doesn’t matter. You know why? That little chameleon made sure she kicked the bucket when he tripped her out a tower window.
So remember, folks, while the two meaningful and relevant characters in Tangled busied themselves shaping the plot and moving events forward, here’s what their Frozen counterparts contributed.
Before I really get into it I want to pause and take note of what Aaron has done. While I tried to be as fair as possible in my comparison below, Aaron is purposefully tilting the scales in his favor with an unfair matchup right from the start. Just remember who’s trying to be fair to you all in this debate.
I think perhaps the best approach to dismantling Aaron’s effort here is good, old-fashioned, line by line ridicule. Here we go…
“Maximus does what memorable characters do – he changes”
Ahhh yes, the old “all change is good change” argument. Talk about an empty vessel. Also, memorable good.
“When he sees Flynn taken in chains, Maximus rallies the rogues and thieves.”
Right. A mute horse is able to explain to illiterate drunkards that Flynn is in prison, and exactly how to free him.
Aaron thinks quoting scripture will win him some points, and in doing so takes Proverbs 17:28 completely out of context. Aaron, I’ve already called you the Kanye West of this debate, don’t make me call you Joel Osteen as well!
In reference to Pascal, Aaron champions him for tripping and thereby killing Gothel. I’m soooo glad he brought this up, as I ran out of room to dismantle that preposterous action in my article. Imagine yourself trying to trip someone 300 times your size. A chameleon weighs around 150 grams. For you Westerners, it takes over 450 grams to equal a pound. This dude weighs one-third of a pound, and we’re to believe he can pull some loose hair hard enough to trip a full-grown woman?!? Ridiculous!
“But it’s an animated movie, Gene.” Yes it is, but do you see people floating around or conjuring up strength potions left and right? No! It’s a fictional world but it’s grounded in basic physical laws. Which include the impossibility of a 1/3 lb. chameleon tripping a 100 pound woman!
Gene – Frozen’s Sidekicks
This topic is an interesting one to use as a comparison. When people think of princess movies, I doubt that sidekicks are something that immediately come to mind. But they actually are present in nearly every princess story. Snow White had her dwarves, Ariel had Sebastian and Flounder, Belle had all the household items brought to life, etc. When taking our featured films into consideration we note the following: Tangled has Maximus and Pascal, while Frozen has Olaf and Sven.
I think the fairest way to compare each duo might be to match them up in order of prominence in each film. I think most would agree that Olaf and Maximus own the title of most prominent in their respective films. Let’s conclude with that matchup and first turn our attention to Sven the reindeer and Pascal the chameleon.
Sven vs. Pascal
Pascal is the exclusive sidekick/friend of Rapunzel, while Sven is that of Kristoff. Each have been with their friend since childhood, and while neither of them speak on their own, they are each spoken for in ways that would lead one to believe that they agree with everything their respective friends say for them. For the purposes of the story, they both are mainly contributing to the comedic value, however they each add a small element of guidance early on. Pascal encourages Rapunzel to ask Gothel to see the lights, while Sven pushes Kristoff to continue leading Anna to her sister despite the destruction of his sleigh. To be honest there is little to no separation between these two characters and how they impact their stories or the main characters. So in all fairness we must call this a draw and move onto the more interesting comparison.
Maximus vs. Olaf
Let me start by saying that Maximus is just about the coolest horse in all of animation. Whether sword fighting or sniffing out escape routes, he serves honorably and hilariously as the extension of the royal guard. But he’s no Olaf.
I want to point out that Frozen’s warm-hearted snowman stands alone as the only sidekick in either film that can actually talk. I could elaborate on this, and how Olaf is the only sidekick in either film that is given the screen time and the personality to put his innermost desires to song with “In Summer”, but unfortunately I have a word count to stick to.
If talking were the only unique trait found in Olaf you may think that a moot point. But he has another unique trait that sets him apart: Olaf is the only sidekick in either movie that was created during the movie. Actually, he was created twice. Once of course during Elsa’s “Let it Go” moment when he was actually given consciousness, but prior to that he was created in an inanimate form when Elsa was a little girl playing with her sister. His very existence is both a revelation to Elsa of the extent of her powers, as well as a reminder of a time when she used her powers out of love and kindness and fun. Olaf is the very evidence of the good nature hiding within Elsa, and is therefore an integral element to the story. Olaf plays a role in Elsa’s arc. That can’t really be said of Maximus for either Flynn or Rapunzel. Unfortunately Elsa still turns from that reality and continues to seclude herself out of fear, but Olaf’s affect is clearly there nonetheless.
I can already hear you Tangled minions out there protesting, “But Maximus rescues our thief-turned-hero Flynn from prison!” Well, sort of. He has the help of the ruffians who actually do most of the work. And how a mute horse is able to make them understand that Flynn is in prison and needs rescuing, well your guess is as good as mine. I’ll grant you this point: Maximus is pivotal in Flynn escaping prison. But don’t pretend that Olaf falls woefully short by comparison. Hans locks Anna in a room and leaves her for dead. She cannot escape and barely has the strength to stand. Olaf, all on his own, picks the lock and frees her from her imminent death. On top of that he sees Kristoff and Sven racing across the fiord, notifies Anna, which leads her to go to him, which puts her in the position to save her sister. None of that is possible without Olaf (again, all on his own) freeing Anna from her imprisonment.
I’d like to inform our readers that during an initial conversation about sidekicks, Gene couldn’t remember the reindeer’s name in Frozen. Don’t feel too bad for him though – not many people can.
All right, Gene, first, Elsa’s revelation of her powers occurs when she shoots her sister in the heart, not Olaf’s creation. Speaking of …
“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
Methinks Elsa should’ve listened to that Jurassic Park quote before creating (and abandoning) Olaf with barely any thought – just like the Frozen storytellers.
I also love how Gene accused me of mischaracterization yesterday, then pits Sven and Pascal as equals today. And, like yesterday, he asks you forget things I’ve mentioned that damage his case. To quote his argument for Sven:
“In all fairness, we must call this a draw and move onto the more interesting comparison.”
Gene – when you can’t find any way to argue your case and resort to pleading with readers to call the debate topic a draw, it’s a good sign you’ve lost.
But since he’s conceded things, I will too. Gene’s tried to argue all week how “original” Frozen is. Admittedly, they are in one matter – it’s the first animated Disney film hinting of a *ahem* ‘closer than friends’ relationship between man and animal…
Lest Gene cry foul at my claim, here’s his “love” trolls discussing Sven and Kristoff’s relationship:
Trolls: So he’s got a few flaws.
Female Troll 2: Like his peculiar brain dear,
Male Trolls 2: His thing with the reindeer,
Troll Duet: That’s a little outside of nature’s laws!
Kristoff: This is not about me!
I dunno about you, but Kristoff seems awfully defensive to my mind…
Ahh…you were right, Gene. I guess Sven did have a purpose in this story.
Well that was fun. Even though Aaron got a little perverted at the end! As usual, we want to hear from you. Apart from your overall view of the movies, and taking only the arguments given here into consideration, who would you say won this debate topic?