Ok, I realize that I’m VERY late to be joining this party, but guys, “Tangled” was SO GOOD. Yeah, I know, I was shocked too! Just wait, I’ll explain. Ok, first off, reasons why I doubted it for so long: Disney animated movies from the past four years: “Bolt” and “The Princess and The Frog”. So upon hearing that they were making just another movie in which a handsome prince saves the beautiful princess, I wasn’t so thrilled. But apparently I was wrong.
This is actually a really well told story. A familiar one too, as you can probably guess from the start. Here’s how it goes. So there’s a kingdom, and its queen is dying as she’s on the verge of having her baby. The entire kingdom goes out looking for a flower which holds the power to heal or de-age anybody who sings to it, and then touches it. So the flower heals the queen, and also gives its power to her newborn daughter. Her golden hair heals anybody, but when a lock is cut, it turns brown and loses its power. So a selfish woman steals the baby (Rapunzal) and locks her away in a tower to raise as her own, so that the woman can stay young forever. The kingdom is devastated by the loss of the princess, and releases hundreds of floating lanterns on her birthday every year to honor her.
So now we get to meet the eighteen year old Rapunzel, who is (obviously) bored and wants to go out into the world for once in her life. Her “mother” (who it is hinted at is actually rather emotionally abusive, which is an interesting turn for Disney) tries everything in her power to keep Rapunzel from going out, by manipulating her into wanting to stay in, using guilt and backhanded insults. The characters are actually really well done; they seem much more real than any Disney princess I’ve ever seen. Meanwhile, we’re introduced to Flynn Rider, who is a thief on the run after stealing the princess’s crown from the kingdom. He happens upon the tower and is attacked by Rapunzel (I know right?!), who then makes Flynn a deal. She will let him go, with the crown, if first he takes her to see the lanterns up close.
Along the way they meet a pub full of thieves and bandits who, as it turns out, all have secret dreams to be piano players, florists, interior designers, and mimes. They sing about it. It’s actually one of the funniest parts of the movie. Rapunzel and Flynn are being pursued however, by several groups of people. Rapunzel is chased by her mother, and Flynn is being hunted by the police of the kingdom, and two other thieves he double crossed. However, the movie avoids the usual “on the run” clichés, which is very relieving, because we’ve grown so attached to Rapunzel by this time that we just really want her to see the floating lanterns. She isn’t interested in Flynn, who is barely interested in her, until very late in the movie – after they realize they can trust each other, and after Flynn has delivered on his promise.
The movie not only is written well, with good characters, it actually looks incredible as well. At times its borderline Pixar. Easily the best part of the movie is the lantern scene, which is so gorgeous I had to rewind a couple times. It’s honestly worth it to watch just for that one scene. The characters – obviously humans – look very well done, they have extremely expressive eyes and facial expressions which I felt help me really connect with these characters and see them more as people than animations. This is also helped by the excellent voice acting by the main characters. Mandy Moore voices Rapunzel, and does the best jobs I’ve ever heard in a non-Pixar production. Zach Levi (the guy from “Chuck”) voices Flynn and is great as well. By the way, the movie is technically a musical, but only has a few songs in it, most of which are at the beginning. The songs, by the wonderful Alan Menken, are short and sweet, very catchy and reminiscent of classic Disney songs (I definitely heard a couple of melodies from Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, which makes sense as he wrote both). Honestly, I could’ve done with another song or two, but loved the ones that were in there. Full disclosure: I’ve been listening to the soundtrack on repeat for several weeks.
Really what I’m saying is this movie was way better than I ever thought. Give it a try, it’s streaming on Netflix! It’s the perfect feel good movie for a rainy weekend.
Images Tangled a Walt Disney Pictures (c) courtesy
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