In 2012, Pixar’s Brave flashed on the big screen for the first time. A year-and-a-half later, Disney unveiled Frozen to audiences all around the world. Brave takes place in medieval Scotland while Frozen seems to take place in mid-1800s Norway. The stories happen in two completely dissimilar locations. However, looking beyond these differences reveals two remarkably similar fairy tales–which begs the question:
Did Brave Inspire Frozen?
Notice the similarities between the two films:
Each tale begins with the main characters as children.
- Merida is gifted her first bow and arrow as a child and practices archery for the first time. The scene shows little Merida laughing and playing with her mother (the queen), indicating that they had a close relationship at this time.
- Elsa, casting ice and snow from her hands, turns the inside of the castle into a winter wonderland for her and her sister, Anna to play. Together, they built a snowman and turned the place into an ice skating rink. This would be one of the last times Elsa was allowed to play with Anna.
Both films events begin with a family dispute, caused by a main character’s special ability.
- Brave’s redheaded protagonist, Merida avoided betrothal by handily beating her suitors in her favorite sport: archery. Merida’s actions strained–and nearly broke–her relationship with her mother (the queen). Her mother did not believe that a princess like Merida should be practicing archery. Archery, after all, is un-ladylike.
- In Frozen, princess Elsa possesses the ability to cast ice and snow out of thin air. She accidentally used this ability on her sister, Anna. Her parents (the king and the queen) reacted by splitting her off from the family and confining her to her room. Elsa spent the rest of her childhood separated from Anna.
One of the main characters is affected by a spell.
- Merida got more than she bargained for when she asked for a spell to “change” her mom. The spell changed her mom into a bear, which Merida did not expect.
- The spell that Elsa accidentally cast slowly froze Anna from the inside out.
In an attempt to cure the spell, the main characters journey into the woods:
- Merida visits the same house where she initially bought the spell. She finds that the witch who sold it to her is on vacation. The witch left a holographic message (powered by a spell in a simmering cauldron) revealing that the clock is ticking on the spell. Merida has until the “second sunrise” to cure it. Otherwise, her mother will be a bear forever.
- Kristoff, Olaf, Anna and Sven journey into the snowy woods until they find the trolls that raised Kristoff (and cured Anna the first time) The gang consults with the elder troll, who reveals that if the spell isn’t cured soon, Anna will freeze forever.
Both spells are cured by an act of true love–which mends a tattered relationship.
- Merida mends her mother’s tapestry (she sliced it with a sword in the beginning). After this didn’t cure the spell by itself, Merida broke down, cried and began hugging the giant bear her mom turned into. Through tears of pain, she confessed that she loved her, she wished she’d listened to her and that she needed her back. This breaks the spell, reuniting the duo. Weathering the struggles of the spell strengthened Merida’s relationship with her mother and brought them closer together than ever before.
- Anna–seconds away from freezing to death–sees Hans (evil guy) with his sword raised into the air with Elsa on the ground. Just as he plunges his sword downward, Anna jumps in front to take the blow. Just before the sword hits her hand, she freezes solid. The sword shatters as it smashes into her hand. Elsa is ecstatic to see her sister, but is soon realizes that she’s solid as ice. Devastated, she clings onto her frozen sister, sobbing. Unexpectedly, Anna begins to thaw–until the color returns to her face and she’s back to normal. The spell is cured! The pain of losing Anna followed by the joy of getting her back strengthened Elsa’s relationship with her sister and brought them closer together than ever before.
Observing these similarities and noting that Brave was released a full year-and-a-half before Frozen, do you believe that Brave inspired Frozen? Or are all these similarities merely convenient coincidences?
This post was written by Andy Carr. You can contact Andy via his email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks Andy.