Disney ‘Tangled’ Review

Disney’s Tangled apparently marks their 50th animated film. (They’re obviously not counting their multitude of sequels: Return to Neverland, Lion King 2, Pocahontas 2, Cinderella 2 & 3…though the less said about some of these the better…) There was, therefore, a lot of hype surrounding the release of this film. The question, did it, in my opinion, live up to expectation? Read on to find out…

THE PLOT

Tangled is, essentially, a re-worked version of the classic fairytale ‘Rapunzel’. The original concept of this film was altered early in production when the decision was made to widen Disney’s target audience of predominantly prepubescent girls to include boys. Thus a thieving hero, Flynn Rider, was introduced and the title was changed to Tangled in the hope that it would then appeal to more people.

Back-story: Baby Rapunzel was born with magic golden hair, thanks to a flower with healing, youth-restoring properties given to her mother in pregnancy. However, the magical properties of Rapunzel’s hair was so coveted by a certain woman, Mother Gothel, that she stole the infant and brought her up as her own in a hidden tower. Present: When Rapunzel sings whilst her hair is being brushed, her hair glows and restores Mother Gothel’s youth. Rapunzel spends her days alone, save for the company of her faithful chameleon, Pascal (where would Disney heroines be without their trusty animal companions?!) and Mother Gothel’s daily visits via Rapunzel’s 70 ft long hair. Forgot to mention: Rapunzel never cuts her hair, because if she did, it would turn brown and lose its magical qualities.

Enter Flynn Rider – the kingdom’s most wanted thief, on the run for stealing a crown. Rapunzel’s tower seems the ideal place to hide out…that is until he is knocked out by a frying pan and bound to a chair with her hair. She strikes a deal with him: if he takes her to see the floating lanterns which are released every year in the kingdom on her birthday, she will give him back the crown he stole, which she hid. Flynn agrees, albeit reluctantly, and only after all of his own tactics failed – namely “The Smoulder”.

So, Flynn and Rapunzel go on A Big Adventure, encountering ruffians with big dreams, bloodhound horses and palace soldiers. And of course, they fall in love. There is A Big Disney Showdown at the end, after Rapunzel is dragged back to her tower by Mother Gothel, discovers that she is the kingdom’s lost princess and Flynn valiantly tries to rescue her, in true Disney Hero fashion. In the end, Rapunzel’s hair is cut, Mother Gothel dies, Rapunzel heals Flynn (who was stabbed by Mummy G.) with a magic tear, she is reunited with her parents and everyone lives Happily Ever After. Ta Dah!

I liked the plot, with the equal focus on the hero and heroine. Of course, as it is Disney and a fairytale, the main storyline was pretty predictable, but I think it was the small details that really made this film a success for me, many of which I will mention later in this review.

THE HEROINE

Rapunzel was voiced by former teen pop star, Mandy Moore. I really like Moore’s characterisation – she made Rapunzel naïve yet intelligent, sweet and funny. Singing-wise, Mandy Moore doesn’t have a huge range and her voice tends to get rather breathy at the top and bottom, but she has a nice tone to her voice which I felt was well-suited to the character and the film.

Predictably, Rapunzel was very pretty – what Disney heroine isn’t?! However, I thought it was a nice and unique touch to have her constantly barefoot, an homage to Mandy Moore herself who apparently likes to perform sans footwear.

Now to the hair itself: obviously it had to be amazing – the best that CGI could produce. And there had to be 70 ft of it. I thought it was beautifully done – it looked very fluid and realistic and I really admire the animators who achieved such a wonderful head of hair for our heroine!

THE HERO

Flynn Rider (real name Eugene Fitzherbert) was far more interesting than most Disney girls’ love interests. It has to be said, for a cartoon, he was actually quite hot, and thus instantly tops my list of Fittest Disney Heroes, followed by Eric in ‘The Little Mermaid’ and Captain Shang in ‘Mulan’. He was voiced by Zachary Levi, who I thought did a very good job: he had great comic timing, yet handled the emotional scenes well and he has a great singing voice. I think he and Rapunzel made a good pair – they were well matched and had good chemistry.

OTHER CHARACTERS

Mother Gothel was an interesting villain – she was suitably evil with selfish motives, yet to Rapunzel she was ‘Mother’ and Rapunzel loved and depended on her until she found out her true colours. Mother Gothel was wonderfully voiced by Donna Murphy.

Animal characters, chameleon Pascal and horse Maximus, were hilarious, and probably two of my favourite characters. They didn’t speak, but their facial expressions and actions made me laugh out loud. I especially loved Maximus’s relentless hunt for Flynn, when he became horse-cum-bloodhound-cum-paper shredder.

MUSIC

Many people have said that they didn’t feel that Tangled’s score didn’t meet the standard of the Disney classics, but on the whole I have to disagree. I found the songs very catchy (‘Mother Knows Best’ was in my head for days) and I think that the background music in the lantern scene is beautiful. Perhaps Tangled’s songs won’t become as famous as songs such as ‘Part Of Your World’ and ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’, but they fitted the film and characters well and are now getting played repeatedly on my iPod.

DETAILS, DETAILS

As I said before, I think the little details make this film for me. For instance, the antics of Maximus and Pascal, witty one-liners: “They just can’t get my nose right!” “You’re being strangely cryptic as you wrap your magic hair around my injured hand…”

Also, The Lantern Scene. I love it. Apparently they were around 45,000 animated lanterns. When the King and Queen release their lantern and the whole kingdom starts to glow as everyone else follows suit, it is absolutely stunning to watch and the score matches it perfectly. That scene is, without a doubt, my favourite in the whole film.

CONCLUSION

Quite frankly, I love this film. Did you guess?! I am a firm believer that you are never too old for a Disney movie (and there is a Facebook group dedicated to people who share this belief) and in my opinion Tangled is a worthy celebration of Disney’s 50 animated films.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Betzy Celis
    Oct 15, 2011 @ 16:50:18

    I love this movie, I usually sing the Mother Gothel song… Flower gleam and glow, let your power shine, make the clock reverse, bring back what once was mine…

    Reply

  2. lucythegypsyj
    Mar 12, 2012 @ 22:07:20

    I loved this film too! Took my five year old cousin to the movies for a girls day out and I think I loved it as much as her. I also loved how the Mother Gothel was so passive aggressive, really added to her character. I felt quite a few people tore this movie up when it came to the music, but I thought it was quite catchy. I wasn’t disappointed..

    Reply

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