Tangled: One of the Best Disney Films?

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Tangled (2010) is a family-oriented animated comedy by Walt Disney, directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard. The film stars the voices of Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, and Ron Perlman–in an animated adaptation of the Brother’s Grimm fairytale, Rapunzel.

I learned three things from this movie; a horse can jump from a castle tower without breaking every bone upon impact, the usual response from a group of nasty, cutthroat thugs after meeting a cute teenage girl has been replaced with singing and skillets, and in the old days, there were no Child Protective Services, or efficient Forensics teams. There were none at all.

To begin the review, I’ll get autobiographical. I have only done a few reviews, and no one really knows much about me, or my work. I enjoy Science Fiction and animation. I play video games, watch cartoons, but stay away from prime time television—so don’t ask my opinion of Glee, I haven’t seen it. I’m getting higher in age—with three kids, and a couple of dogs and cats. When taking my children to the movies, I found our choices to be limited. My sons and I ventured in to watch Tangled—it was actually the only one I truly wanted to see, anyway, so it worked out well. Now that the film is on DVD, I decided to watch it again, and write a review of what I discerned from doing so.

I’ll do a summary of what I gathered, however, I suspect some—if not, most of you—already know the basics. Tangled, the newest animated release from Disney, is a rework of Rapunzel—The Grimm fairy tale. It was a wise choice for them, seeing as how the original short story is just that, short. It gave the animators a lot of room to play around. The story of Rapunzel goes like this: a young girl, locked away in a tower, continuously grows very long, golden-blonde, hair. She awaits her prince—a thief, in this case, named Flynn Rider—to rescue her from the tower, and take her away to a happily-ever-after land for the rest of her days. Things would have been that simple, had this been made thirty or forty years ago. But now, we get all sorts of twists and turns in the plot.

Disney kept some of their clichés, however. The wicked stepmother, the handsome Prince, the beautiful, tortured girl with a higher purpose—they did, however, change the simply things, making them almost new. The primary villain, here, has a very specific reason for what she does, and she’s highly motivated to keep and maintain what she has. She’s also very subtle in her actions, a manipulator of sorts, instead of the evil sorceress taking over the world plot. In fact, all of the main characters in the film are a bit different, comparatively speaking, to the average Fairy Tale story. There are great scenes, and animal sidekicks that don’t talk—which is a massive positive in my eyes. They also created a plot that runs smoothly, and doesn’t wander off into entire scenes, that don’t really need to be in the film.

The facial expressions in the movie alone, made it worthwhile. I rarely watch an animated feature where each character’s emotion shows on his or her face. Rapunzel herself, especially, shows different emotions on her face than most cartoons characters actually feel in an entire series. It was fantastic, and I am glad I that I didn’t wait until the DVD release to enjoy it.

There wasn’t much about this film that I didn’t like—even my usual foible with Disney romances, their happening too quickly, isn’t a problem, here. While it does take place somewhat quickly, the main characters bonding through problems and daring feats taken place alongside each other, does show, and does provide a reason for the “Happily Ever After,” that doesn’t happen immediately.This was a plus in my book.  I have to comment on Maximus—the white horse—although not everyone will agree. He’s more of a sidekick than a typical Disney critter, yet he does do important things throughout the film. He also has some of the funniest moments in the movie. I won’t spoil anything, but Tangled would be a lesser movie without his presence.

Essentially, I’d give Tangled (2010) as many stars it could get, although I wouldn’t say it’s better than The Beauty and the Beast (1991), which I hold as Disney’s best animated film, I would rank it in, or near, the top five. Of course, should you not be able to stand Disney’s clichés, animation, or silly comedies in general, you still may not enjoy this.

However, I do think there is a very wide audience, ready to love it.

Tangled (2010) Rating: [xrr rating = 3/5]

All Image credit: IMDb

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