Even though I will concede that, yes, there are some slight differences between the Frozen girls and Rapunzel, there are zero changes in the faces of Anna and Elsa. Zero. They have the same facial structure, the same eyes eyes, the same nose, the same mouth…and while we’re at it, the same body too, with the exception of Elsa being a little taller. The only differences are in skin tone and surface details, such as freckles and makeup (which, as I’ll cover in a moment, don’t fulfill even the most rudimentary basics of good character design — but we’ll get to that). So, how did this happen? How did a design mistake that would get you called out in a beginning animation class end up in a major Disney release?
In my opinion, the answer isn’t necessarily limited time, which was certainly a factor in Frozen, or laziness, or the fact that they’re all CG characters (sorry, 2D animation advocates, but lots of 3D girls do not look identical). To me, this speaks to a disturbing trend in Disney’s general approach towards designing female characters.
But first, some context…