Tangled and Bioshock Infinite are Basically the Same Thing

Posted: January 30, 2016 by Jaden C. Kilmer in Article
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


You know Tangled as Disney’s first computer-animated princess movie. You know Bioshock Infinite as the third entry in the M-rated “Bioshock” franchise of first person shooters.

But did you know they’re basically the same thing?

Okay maybe it’s not a perfect fit, but the similarities are there- and prove that you can take inspiration from anything and apply it to anything, no matter how different they may be.

Exhibit A: The Encounter.

Tangled‘s version of Rapunzel is a modern update on the Disney princess formula. She still dreams of a world to explore outside of the tower she’s lived in her entire life, but when the “prince” comes, she doesn’t become a non-player. In fact, when dashing hero Flynn Ryder comes to her castle, it’s her that orchestrates her escape, not him. Hardly your traditional princess tale, the first meeting between our prince and princess results in Rapunzel knocking him out with a frying pan.

Bioshock Infinite also features a girl in a tower- who also doesn’t know she’s the daughter of the kingdom’s leader- who also dreams of the outside world- who also has a boundless optimism and spirit- who also doesn’t play second fiddle to her hero. And what happens when Elizabeth first meeting with the man that stumbles into her tower? She attacks him with a book of Quantum Mechanics

Exhibit B: The Dance.

Both long-haired, seventeen year old girls-previously-locked-in-a-tower-but-now-free-to-explore-the-world characters have a scene where they dance in a circle with a group of strangers. They look like mirror images of each other, Rapunzel’s hairstyle even being changed in the scene before so it looks similar to Elizabeth’s:


Exhibit C: The Powers

As if the girls weren’t similar enough already, they are also the strongest practitioners of magic in these stories. Rapunzel’s hair heals and reverses age, Elizabeth can, well, tear open holes in the space-time continuum. So one’s a bit stronger than the other, but both characters are somewhat-unique in their universe for their magical abilities. Rapunzel’s “mother” can siphon her magic, but can’t do spells of her own. Midway through Infinite, Elizabeth’s enemies use a contraption to reroute her powers and bring her “mother” back to life. (By the way, such a contraption would be called a “siphon.”)

Exhibit D: The “Prince.”

The girls are the strongest argument for why Tangled and Infinite are basically the same thing, but let’s not forget their male counterparts. Infinite’s Booker DeWitt and Tangled‘s Flynn Ryder fall into essentially the same archetype. TV Tropes has coined it as the deadpan snarker. Flynn suits it a bit more than Booker, probably out of necessity since Tangled is a comedy and Infinite is more action-adventure, but Booker gets in a few moments of snark as well. Take these exchanges:

From Tangled:                                                                     From Infinite:

(during a musical number)                                                              (during a dance)

Thug: What’s your dream?                                               Elizabeth: Come dance with me!

Flynn: Sorry boys, I don’t sing.                                          Booker: I don’t dance.

Moreover, both the guys come from less-than-scrupulous backgrounds, becoming better people during their adventure. Flynn is a wanted thief, Booker is a Pinkerton detective (a branch infamous for their violence) who has a debt to repay.

Exhibit E: The haircut.

This one’s simple enough. In both stories, the “princess” character gets an unwanted bob cut at the dramatic highpoint of the story. Part of this is simply that hair has always been a popular symbol in movies (especially animated ones,) but the results are undeniably similar.


Am I accusing one of these stories of ripping off the other? Of course not. I’m not even trying to say either of these stories are worse for their similarities. In fact, I’m going to argue the opposite. Infinite’s willingness to borrow fairy tale elements adds a light, humorous component to a game that would probably otherwise become too dark for its own good. And Tangled is possibly the best princess movie Disney’s ever done. We here at LAS may argue over its exact ranking, but most of us will agree it’s a modern classic.

And this is the lesson at the end of all these gifs and exhibits: It doesn’t matter what genre you’re writing. You can (and should) take inspiration from all kinds of genres. A fantasy story that’s inspired only by Lord of the Rings and Narnia is going to inevitably feel like a knock-off. A sci-fi that’s trying to copy the formula of Alien or Blade Runner is not going to beat Ridley Scott. It may seem strange to look somewhere other than your own story’s genre for inspiration. But if you keep an open mind, you will find you may get inspiration from the strangest of places.

And seriously. Can a man get a Rapunzel/Elizabeth crossover?


This awesome image was created by schatzina

  1. Lucy says:

    Woah! Your entries are really interesting and well-redacted (English isn’t my main language), keep it up!

    Liked by 2 people

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