Most little girls who are not outside playing in the dirt with the boys are busy fantasizing about growing up to be a princess, so the next logical step in that train of thought when Disney classics mix in is which Disney princess they would like to be. Some prefer a pumpkin carriage to a ball to dance the night away with a prince, while others may lean towards flying across the sky on a magic carpet. With the release of Tangled, it looks like there are going to be more girls growing their hair long, waiting for the day for a prince to come along and ask her to let it down for him.
Other than the classic line: “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair” I’m sure I am not alone in saying that I really couldn’t elaborate on the story of this long haired girl locked away in a tower. As a matter of fact, I actually had to google it just to see what it was all about, and turns out it’s a Grimm one from time to time (oh ho ho play on words…). Working the good ol’ Disney magic, the story of Rapunzel is changed up to form a happier, exciting adventure story. Plus, we have a new male lead. Everyone knows the damsel being saved by a Prince is so 2D.
To help market the film to a wider audience than the Disney princess girls, a thief is thrown into the story in the prince’s place, sharing the screen time and level of importance to the story as Rapunzel. Even with the chosen profession, Flynn Ryder is still given the good guy treatment, with the additional help of Zachary Levi in creating a charismatic charmer who is loved from the get go even if he is only reluctantly helping Rapunzel travel across the kingdom due to blackmail (clearly also not the typical actions of a Disney princess). Mandy Moore acts opposite of Levi as Rapunzel, the girl who has been stashed away for safe keeping in a tower of difficult accessibility. Obviously a girl of vocal talents, Moore shows that her talents do not end at singing alone, but also include acting as she embarks on an adventure full of a wide range of emotions thanks to Rapunzel’s innocence in the face of this bright new world.
Speaking of the casting, seeing Moore’s name connected to the film should have hinted at the real nature of the film (seeing as it being a Disney film managed to slip my mind), yet it is still surprising when Rapunzel breaks out into song early in the film. Without any hint of it in the marketing, color me baffled by the amount of musical outbursts during the first portion of the movie. Following a group number with a misunderstood collection of henchmen, the singing wanes as the usual story progression tactics takeover, and though it helps that a few songs are actually only thought as opposed to being vocalized out loud during the plot of the film, the musical aspect never completely feels comfortably integrated into the rest of the adventure story.
Though these musical numbers caused a high level of disturbance in my focus, the animation brought me right back into the movie. Each set and environment is beautifully colored to further the fairytale aesthetics of the story, creating a nice background for the fantastically animated action sequences and character driven bits to take place in, only furthered in appearance by the choice to go with 3D. The animation is always fun from the physically comedic sections to the fast paced chase scenes, with a lot of detail work going into creating animated (in the other sense of the word) characters to latch onto. In addition to Ryder and Rapunzel, two animals are given a lot of attention and screen time. Both the antagonistic horse and Rapunzel’s chameleon are distinctly personified in most of their personality traits and expressions (though the horse leans a little more towards the other trusted companion to man), and anytime they are on screen it is pretty much guaranteed to be stolen by them. I mean, who doesn’t want a cuddly chameleon with an attitude?
Tangled may be marketed towards the younger generations, but as Toy Story 3 brought out the child who grew up with the first Toy Story films years ago, Tangled harks back to the glory days of the Disney princess films, creating something truly special for kids of all ages.
Final Grade: B+