I was excited when I heard Disney was doing a film based on the Rapunzel fairy tale. I remember reading several different versions of it when I was young and really enjoying it (despite the not-so-happy endings in some of those versions). I was also a fan of the Chuck series at the time, so I was interested to see how Zachary Levi (who plays Flynn) would do in the part. Tangled didn’t disappoint.
After her mother drinks a medicine made from a magical flower in order to save her life, Rapunzel (voiced by singer Mandy Moore) is born with magical hair and stolen away by Gothel, a greedy witch. Every year on her birthday, the king and queen (and everyone else in the kingdom) light floating lanterns and release them into the sky to remind them of the light that was stolen from their lives when Rapunzel was kidnapped. Rapunzel, locked in her tower deep in the woods, sees these lanterns every year and is very curious why they only appear on her birthday.
Flynn climbs into her tower to escape the law after stealing the princess’ crown from the castle, and is promptly knocked out by Rapunzel. After he regains consciousness, she convinces him to take her to the castle in exchange for her returning the crown afterward. After Rapunzel tricks Gothel into going on a long trip to get a birthday present for her, Rapunzel and Flynn sneak out of the tower and head off toward the castle.
I really liked the story in Tangled. The pacing is steady and never too fast, and the characters are each unique (some more unique than others) and memorable. Levi and Moore do an excellent job with their characters, and their banter is interesting, amusing, and believable. Gothel (voice by Donna Murphy) is an excellent antagonist and helps the story move long very well toward a satisfying conclusion. Maximus (voiced by Frank Welker) is hilarious as the very righteous and formidable horse of the head of the King’s Guard.
The animation is very beautiful, and it is interesting to watch this film and compare it to the more recent Frozen, just to see how far Disney has come in their animation capabilities. When Tangled first came out, it was right at the forefront of 3D-style animation, and I was floored at all the little details they included. Comparing it to Frozen, which came out three years later, I am truly amazed at the improvements they have made in character movement, facial expressions, skin and hair details, and just generally giving the artists better tools which allow them to be artists.
The only part I felt was lacking was in the music. While there were a few memorable songs (“I’ve Got a Dream” was pretty catchy), none of them really stayed with me outside of “I See the Light”, sung by Levi and Moore. That song was moving and made it onto my “favorite music from films” list, but much of the other music didn’t even wiggle the needle on my gauge. This was only a slight drawback, though, because everything else about the film was excellent.
I highly recommend everyone see Tangled at least once. I have been very impressed with Disney as of late, and I look forward to seeing many more excellent animated features (and shorts!) from them in the future. Story is king!
Release Date: November 24, 2010 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (some social drinking in a pub)
Violence: 2 (stabbing, threats of violence, some comic violence)