TANGLED Movie Review
I will admit that I am a bit of what you could call a “Disney snob.” Growing up on such classics as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King, I normally find it hard to appreciate what animation seems to be in the 21st century – 3D and computer generated characters and new stories that don’t hold the same punch that the old classics did. So, it should be said that when I walked into Walt Disney’s newest animated film, TANGLED, I had my usual set of doubts. It is truly a compliment, then, that I walked out of the theatre with a wonderful sense of happiness and satisfaction, thinking of how I wanted to return with family and friends.
Simply put, Tangled seeks to continue what the 2009 film The Princess and the Frog started – a strong return to the age of Disney renaissance animation, which made the industry so popular in the early 1990’s. The good news is that the movie succeeds – and the result is an age-old fairy tale that touches on the modern world by infusing the Disney magic of witty banter, colorful characters and beautiful animation that will charm both kids and adults alike.
The film’s main character, Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore) is a teenager who has been trapped in a tower by the villainous Mother Gothel (voiced by Donna Murphy) for most of her teenage life. Rapunzel’s magic mane, gifted to her as a child, holds a healing power from a magic flower that Mother Gothel had been using to stay young. When the flower was used by Rapunzel’s mother to heal her illness, she passed the power onto her daughter. Driven by the desire to stay young and escape mortality, Mother Gothel locks Rapunzel up to keep her from escaping and experiencing life in the outside world. When a young bandit, Flynn Rider (voiced by Zachary Levi) accidentally finds her tower while looking for a place to hide, Rapunzel takes him captive and convinces him to be her guide as she navigates the outside world she has never seen. Realizing that there is life that lies beyond the castle walls, she soon becomes aware of what it means to come into her own and experience what life has to offer.
The film provides the audience with the usual Disney laughs, along with toned-down humor, and comedic timing and Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi do a commendable job lending just the right amount of emotion to their respective animated characters. Kids particularly will love the antics of Rapunzel’s hair, which, at 70 feet long, could be its own character in the way it seems to take on an almost humorous life of its own. Adults, on the other hand, will appreciate subtle moments of humor that Disney so cleverly works into the screenplay.
It is easy to appreciate the fact that the movie is smartly written, but what truly won me over was, in fact, the 3D animation. The animators used the technology to create lush landscapes and bright colors, designed to easily draw the audience into the movie while also drawing them into the emotional state of the characters. Additionally, Alan Menken, Disney lyricist extraordinaire, creates music that reminds us he still has a gift for lyrics that are heartfelt and poignant, especially when expressed by Moore’s princess-like voice.
Tangled is not only a must-see for all ages, it is a film that will remind you what it feels like having fun at the movies again. It is also a reminder to us as a general movie-goer that Disney does best when sticking to what it is known for – updating classic fairy tales that put them on the map so many years ago.