Tangled is one of those movies that you didn’t realize how bad you’ve been waiting to see it until you sit down and watch the first few scenes. Disney has finally gone back to what it knows best, and brought us a modern princess movie for this generation as it’s 50th animated film.
I always liked Disney movies growing up. The princesses, fairies, genies, animal sidekicks, and (of course) the dashing princes who ride in on their white horses to save the day. That was also quite a few years ago. Nowadays everyone expects so much out of kid’s movies, that a pretty singing princess who must be rescued by a prince won’t fly with most parents as quality storytelling. The female character roles have gotten more liberal over the years, going from the damsel in distress to a sassy, do-it-yourself female lead turning into a frog. Traditionally though, if you’re a princess in the Disney world (or fixing to marry a prince to get the position), you are in desperate need of a man to sweep in and save you from whatever evil godmother/witch/fairy that oppresses you. This time, it’s a little different.
“When the kingdom’s most wanted – and most charming – bandit, Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) hides out in a mysterious tower, he’s taken hostage by Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), a beautiful and feisty tower-bound teen with 70 feet of magical, golden hair. Flynn’s curious captor, who’s looking for her ticket out of the tower where she’s been locked away for years, strikes a deal with the handsome thief, and the unlikely duo set off on an action-packed escape – complete with a super-cop horse, an overprotective chameleon, and gruff gang of pub thugs.” –Disney
At first, it seems like Rapunzel is just like Snow White, Cinderella, or Aurora: she sings, cleans, talks to animals, and is in no way used to male attention. Turns out she knows no other way of life, having been locked in a tower her whole life. Disney made a great choice picking Mandy Moore to play Rapunzel’s voice. She really brought the character to life, making Rapunzel charming, adorable, hyper, and very innocent. Plus, that gal has a great set of pipes. Our dashing hero is NOT a prince for once; he’s a thief of all things. He doesn’t ride in on a white horse, but he has one chasing him down instead. Levi does a great job being a little cheesy when he needs to be, and truly charming the rest of the time as Flynn. Honestly, all the actors had some really great chemistry for this being an animated film.
The princess is adorable, the thief is charming, and the animal characters are a laugh riot, but the best part about Tangled is the humor. Rapunzel is not used to being rescued or protected, and that gets our characters into plenty of funny situations. One of my favorite moments was when Rapunzel and Flynn end up in The Cuddly Duckling – a pub where ruffians hang out. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but it’s so funny…you just have to see it. The “Pub Thugs” are really great characters – each cleverly thought out. Another great thing about this princess movie is that our lead characters don’t fall madly in love upon first site. To me, that seems much more realistic than some Disney movies of the past, and more in line with modern society. Also, the princess doesn’t need her ‘prince’ to come riding in to save the day – in fact, she saves him more than a few times.
There were plenty of well timed comedic moments (balanced with a little romance) and plenty of action scenes. This kept things moving and didn’t leave any drab spots. I was a little worried when I found out Tangled was a musical – I have thought that animated musicals were just a little outdated for our generation of children. Disney surprised me again by making the songs light, funny, short, and to the point. There were never more than a few minutes long, and they didn’t distract from the flow of the movie one bit.
Truly, if you see Tangled over the Thanksgiving holiday, you have to spend the extra money to see it in 3D. Disney has followed the example of other recent 3D movies by not using the special effects as a gimmick. The 3D technology is used to make the animations come to life. Nothing reached out of the screen or was thrown at the audience – instead we saw amazing visual backgrounds and high-speed chases like we’ve never seen them. There was one particularly beautiful moment when they are on a boat at night with thousands of glowing lanterns being released into the sky. The graphics were so beautiful – the water so realistic – that it appeared the two heroes were floating in a see of twinkling stars. It was beautiful. Speaking of beautiful, Rapunzel’s 70 feet of hair is a thing of majesty. CGI hair usually looks a little strange. I think Disney knew this, and considering their heroine has so much of it, they figured out how to do it right.
Tangled is just plain fun. It’s humor is appropriate for every age, and will have you almost falling out of your seat at times. The graphics are beautiful, the characters engaging, and the acting is phenomenal. There wasn’t one thing I didn’t like about this film. Really, this movie made me a believer in the Disney animated franchise once more. I love, love, love it! I can’t wait to own it on Disney Blu-ray, buy the Limited Edition Barbies, and the Rapunzel bust with growing/glowing hair action. Sign me up, Disney!
I give Tangled 5 “frying pans” out of 5.