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Tangled (2010)

Walt Disney's 2010 animated film based on the classic fairy tale of Rapunzel.

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A Hair-Raising Fairy Tale

  • Nov 25, 2010
Rating:
+4
One of the pleasures of watching "The Princess and the Frog" a year ago was in knowing that Disney was getting back in touch with their roots. They gave us a traditional hand-drawn animated film, a process they had abandoned after the 2004 release of "Home on the Range." It was like witnessing a glorious rebirth, the resurrection of a seemingly lost art form. My hope what that it would once again become custom for animated films to be done by hand. It may be painstaking, but can you deny the beautiful results? The backgrounds. The form of the line. The coloring. The lighting. The mattes. Alas, it wasn't to be; for "Tangled," Disney has once again discarded pencil and paper for a computer screen. They have also released it in 3D, a cinematic beast that cannot be tamed.

But please, don't get the wrong idea. "Tangled" is not a bad movie at all. It's funny, sweet, and adventurous, and it's strong in character, story, and theme. And like all the good Disney animated films, hand-drawn or otherwise, it puts a refreshingly modern twist on a classic fairy tale, "Rapunzel" in this case. It also employs a major talent that "The Princess and the Frog" would have greatly benefited from: Composer Alan Menken, who - along with lyricists such as Tim Rice, Stephen Schwartz, and the late Howard Ashman - was a key figure of the Disney Renaissance, having composed such memorable tunes as "Be Our Guest," "Under the Sea," and "Colors of the Wind." His ear for melody compliments Disney so well, it's almost a shame it isn't like it was in the Golden Age of Hollywood, when cast and crew were contractually obligated to work for a specific studio.

"Tangled" begins with the story of a golden flower that sprouted when a drop of sunshine fell to Earth. It glowed like fire and possessed magical rejuvenating properties when sung to. A vain old crone named Mother Gothel (voiced by Donna Murphy) depended on it to continuously restore her youth, and so it remained for several centuries until the Queen of the kingdom fell ill while pregnant; upon drinking an elixir made from that golden flower, not only was the Queen brought back to health, she also gave birth to a daughter with magical golden hair. Gothel, desperate to reclaim her immortal good looks, is forced to kidnap the infant princess, since cutting her hair off robs it of its healing powers. And so the princess was raised as Gothel's own in an isolated tower, where she was conditioned to be fearful of the outside world while her hair continued to grow longer and longer and longer.

We meet this princess, the innocent Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore), on the verge of her eighteenth birthday. Although she takes Gothel's lies at face value, she remains curious about an annual event held off in the distant kingdom: The releasing of hundreds of floating lanterns, which Rapunzel has figured out are not stars. Is it a coincidence that this event takes place on her birthday? She would like to find out. Here enters the film's narrator, Flynn Rider (voiced by Zachery Levi), a handsome, smooth-talking bandit who seeks refuge in Rapunzel's tower after robbing the King and the Queen. Upon coming to after being whacked in the head with a frying pan several times, he and Rapunzel strike a deal: If he promises to take her to see the lantern ceremony on her birthday, she promises to return his stolen loot, which she has hidden from him. And so begins Rapunzel's first venture away from home, a journey that will include chases, encounters, escapes, revelations, and yes, even romance.

It's traditional for an animated film to feature supporting players that are funnier and more memorable than the protagonists. "Tangled" provides us with several such characters, including Rapunzel's pet chameleon, Pascal, and a royal horse named Maximus, who has the nose of dog, the reflexes of a cat, and - when in the presence of Flynn - the personality of a mean older brother. We're also given a number of pub-crawling thugs who secretly harbor sentimental hopes and dreams. One of them, voiced by Brad Garrett, has always wanted to be a concert pianist, despite having a hook for a hand. Inspired by Rapunzel's innocence, they all reveal their desires during the film's best song, a hilarious showstopper called "I Got a Dream."

"Tangled" is, in short, a pleasant, entertaining, competent animated film, a decent addition to the Disney animated-feature canon. Even so, I would have preferred to once again watch a traditional cel animated film. Perhaps I'm remember with longing the days of glorious labor-intensive productions like "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," and classics like "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Pinocchio," and "Sleeping Beauty." Simply looking at these movies is an experience unto themselves. I also think that the film's original title of "Rapunzel" would not have altered its success in any way, despite Disney's belief that "The Princess and the Frog" lost out on a potential viewership of young boys. Forget about marketing and demographics - just focus on the story.

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November 26, 2010
Great review, Chris. I saw this also and I dunno, for me there was something missing. I was optimistic with the Disney approach but it just didn't sit well with me (then again I am not much into musicals, but liked their past movies). Your last paragraph is somehow the way I felt too, after all, 2D was what made them famous (any comparison to other Disney movies would be a given). Liked your review, but reading it, it almost sounds as if the flick didn't deserve a 4 from you.
November 27, 2010
I think I spent a little too much time complaining about the computer animation, especially since that's how just about all animated films are made nowadays. But after seeing the return to traditional animation with "The Princess and the Frog," I guess I realized how much I missed that approach.
 
November 26, 2010
Very good review. I'm glad you rated this film high enough without comparing it harshly to other Disney films. I love Disney's work; even their mediocre stuff is fun to watch (not that this is mediocre, but you know what I mean). Thanks.
 
November 26, 2010
Great review and I want to see this one!!
 
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More Tangled reviews
review by . November 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
An Intended
It has been quite a long time since I’ve seen a Disney movie in theaters. As far as I remember the last great Disney movie I’ve seen in cinemas was “The Lion King” and the rest of Disney’s outings such as “Mulan” and “Pocahantas” I’ve only seen on video. Well, seeing as I was convinced by a friend to see a more light-hearted fare this week, I agreed to see “TANGLED”. It is the 50th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated …
review by . April 12, 2011
posted in Awesomeness
Much like a Disney bluebird, another $10 flutters away from my wallet, serial numbers flapping while Alexander Hilton stares out at me coldly. Tangled is a triple-threat to my attention span, simultaneously making me sleepy, itchy and a little hungry during the middle. The tap-tap-tap sound you can hear is another nail being driven in the coffin containing my terminally ill love for the movie industry.      On the positive side, nobody can accuse Mandy Moore of mumbling. Cranking …
review by . November 28, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Tangled is the new animated film from Disney and I loved it.  This movie is a reboot of the Rapunzel.  She is a girl with long magical golden hair.  She is voiced by Mandy Moore.  She is a princess who gets kidnapped as a baby by an evil stepmother.  She lives and is trapped in a tower for eighteen years.  She longs to explore the world.  She gets her chance  with the help of a thief named Flynn Rider.  He is voiced by Zachary Levi.  I love the …
review by . March 18, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Summer is around the corner, let's get those hair out of the way!
It's a typical Disney film and you can expect all that you can expect out of a Disney film.    Tangled is the 21st century Rapunzel and if you've not read the outline of the story, then it's a highly enjoyable film. I watched this on my 2nd half of my 5 hour flight from Singapore to Shanghai last night, after spending an enjoyable first half on Love and Other Drugs. Despite the harsh reality of the first half of my journey, the 2nd half was a lot lighter and still pretty …
review by . January 12, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
After a stint of about two decades, wherein fans of the old Disney movies nostalgically lamented the gradual decline of Disney, the studio which once brought us such classics as Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast appears to have kicked its mojo back into gear with its latest feature, Tangled. The computer-animated film, based on the well-known German fairy tale “Rapunzel,” follows Disney’s tried and true formula -- and lo’ and behold, the recipe still produces magic. Tangled …
review by . February 05, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
In the late 80's Disney put out The Little Mermaid.  The film more or less established a formula for Disney that they pretty much kept running with through the 90's.  You take a simple existing story or fairy tale or myth... you make it kid friendly (none of these Disney classics really followed the original tales that particularly well) and then you add in a few songs and a love story of some sort.  This made Disney films like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast …
review by . May 01, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****     Disney has always had a reputation, which is the same for me or anyone else really, that has me wondering what they'll cook up next. They always have something on the stove; something good, and sometimes even great. Now, you can't have a good animated film just by having good animation; you need something more. "Tangled" is an animated feature that adds a clever little ingredient, giving it a nice taste, thus bringing it from the potential "animated, goofy …
review by . January 07, 2011
I was not terribly enthusiastic about seeing TANGLED, and in fact, I didn't see it for several weeks. But a slow Sunday afternoon came around, and having seen pretty much everything elseā€¦I was coaxed into attending. And now the film is on my Top 10 for 2010 list!    This is a Disney picture, with the graphic sensibilities of a Pixar film. I know the two companies are allied, but what I mean is this: Pixar has had the corner on smart, modern looking, genre-twisting films. Nary …
review by . January 22, 2011
Tangled is another attempt to get back to the classic disney formula of stunning visuals accompanied by sweeping snarky coming-of-age romances and great musical numbers, and may I say they definitely succeeded. This is far from Disney's best movie, but definitely not their worst. Plus, for me its currently tied with Meet the Robinsons for best non-pixar disney CGI movie. This is also quite a different type of princess movie, it being sort of an adventure movie as well. Despite princessdom being …
review by . April 10, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
A Tale About Long Hair Helps Disney Find Its Roots
   Long-time readers (sufferers as the case may be) of my critical efforts may have noticed a certain pattern whereby I locate, for purpose of review, animated feature films so obscure that even the individuals responsible for their creation have long forgotten about them.  Usually (but not always), it isn’t very difficult for me to find fault in these works but alas, to insure the accuracy of my whole scale of judgment, I proudly visit the latest, greatest, high-budgeted, …
About the reviewer
Chris Pandolfi ()
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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Tangled
is an upcoming 2010 American 3D animated musical film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and starring the voices of Mandy Mooreand Zachary Levi. It will be the 50th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, planned for release on November 24, 2010, the day before Thanksgiving. The story is largely based on the classic German fairy tale Rapunzel by the Brothers Grimm.
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Details

Genre: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Release Date: November 24, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG
Screen Writer: Dan Fogelman
Studio: Walt Disney Studios
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