We’re back with another Disney+ animated battle. This week we are seeing which film is better between two films from the Disney Revival Era of animation: “Tangled” and “Raya and the Last Dragon.” They are two of Disney’s “princess” movies, so which is better? Let’s compare and find out.
The main character of “Tangled” is Rapunzel. This is the classic fairytale brought to the big screen. She was a princess kidnapped by Mother Gothel because her hair has the power to keep Mother Gothel young. Most of the story is about how things happen to her and happen around her. Yes, she shows some agency with Flynn Rider and uses a frying pan as a weapon very well, but a lot of the movie happens around her rather than directly because of her. Raya is the main character of “Raya and the Last Dragon.” She is the princess of one section of land, who is trying to find the last dragon and save the land. While things also happen to her and happen around her, she still drives the plot more than Rapunzel. Point to “Raya and the Last Dragon.”
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The villain in “Tangled” is Mother Gothel, a woman who was stealing plants from the King and Queen and when realizing all of the plants were used on Rapunzel’s hair, kidnapped Rapunzel so she could use her hair to keep young. The villain in “Raya and the Last Dragon” is quite different. First, Virana and Namaari are presented as villains whose selfish decisions lead to the destruction of Kumandra. But, the real problems are the Druun, evil spirits that ravage the land. All are worthy villains, even though when it matters Namaari proves that she isn’t so much a villain as a young adult who had been doing the bidding of her greedy mother. This is tough, but I think the Druun and Virana cause more havoc. Point to “Raya and the Last Dragon.”
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3. SUPPORTING CHARACTERS
In “Tangled,” several supporting characters make the film very enjoyable including Flynn Rider, Pascal, Maximus, and the Stabbington Brothers. In “Raya and the Last Dragon,” we learn about Sisu, Boun, Namaari, Tuk Tuk and so many others. But, when I look back on the two films, I remember the supporting characters of “Tangled” better. Point to “Tangled.”
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The music of “Tangled” felt like a return to the Disney Renaissance. Alan Menken wrote some great music to tell the story of this film with the most obvious being “I Can See the Light” during the lantern scene. The music in “Raya and the Last Dragon” also does a great job of advancing the story. It also introduces viewers to new cultures. But, it’s very difficult to beat Alan Menken in a battle of music. Point to “Tangled.”
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5. MEMORABLE MOMENTS
Here we are, once again, at the most subjective of these five categories. The things that I remember most about “Tangled” are the kidnapping, Rapunzel’s want song, the Stabbington Brothers, the lanterns, and Flynn sacrificing himself to save Rapunzel. In “Raya and the Last Dragon,” I remember teaching Raya to defend the gem, the attack on the heart, Fang preparing for battle, Sisu’s story of her family trusting her, Raya finally trusting Namaari and Namaari coming through against the Druun. Both are very memorable, but Raya is slightly more memorable. Point to “Raya and the Last Dragon.”
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So, “Raya and the Last Dragon” wins this battle, but it was very close. “Tangled” put up a good fight. These are two of my favorite films from Disney and two of the better films of the Disney Revival in my opinion. But which do you think is better?