Well look who decided to show up and put out a flick worthy of people’s expectations. Walt Disney Pictures – specifically Animations – dug deep into its vault of numerous fairy tales and found just the right one to update for today’s audiences. Tangled summons back the magic the studio has been missing for almost a year now.
One could make the argument that by sticking to animations, Disney really can’t miss. That may be true, yet the studio has been hampered by poor storytelling as of late. This time around, the entire production was built around the story. It’s pretty clear with this year’s Alice in Wonderland for example, the story wasn’t the foundation. So now that the studio has went back to the correct formula, here’s what you’re getting kids.
Mother Gothel (voiced by Donna Murphy) is tired of looking old and decrepit. To remedy this, she is seeking out a golden flower that has the power to restore her beauty. The old bag finds the elusive flower but realizes that the spell is only temporary. So she’s going to have to refill the tank every so often. Meanwhile, in nearby kingdom, a Queen is dying while giving birth to her daughter. During the process, the King’s royal guard locates the last remaining golden flower and uses it to heal the Queen right as the kid is about to pop out. The golden flower saves the day and the King and Queen have a golden haired daughter they name Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore).
When the old bag returns for a refill, she notices the King’s army took the flower and she desperately wants it back. What the King and Queen are unaware of is the power of the golden flower lives in their newly born daughter‘s locks of hair. The old bag gets wind of this and does the unthinkable in kidnapping the newborn princess. By committing this act, the old bag is young and vibrant and raises Rapunzel as her own. For eighteen years, she fills Rapunzel’s extremely long-haired head with lies about how she can never leave their home – a secluded tower far off in the woods. Rapunzel can no longer take the confines of being stuck in a tower with only twenty-five yards of hair to play with. And the company of a sarcastic chameleon. After a run-in with a bandit in Flynn Rider (voiced by Zachary Levi), she makes a deal with the handsome thief who reluctantly agrees to show her the outside world.
The story is focused on Rapunzel and Flynn, but it introduces a bunch of prototypical support players found in Disney flicks. Mentioned above was Rapunzel’s only friend who’s a chameleon. The little green guy doesn’t talk but his mannerisms are quite humorous in every scene. Same for the royal guard’s lead horse Maximus. Once again, we have animals with larger-than-life personas that added to the comedic value of the script. The human aspect introduces us to a bunch of tough guys (barbarians) with a heart. The lead barbarian is voiced by Brad Garrett who gets to have some fun in a few sequences. There’s also a drunk old man dressed like cupid and pair of thuggish brothers (voiced by Ron Perlman) who are hired by Mother Gothel/Old bag to bring back Rupunzel. All bring a unique presence that add to just about every aspect of this flick.
Since Disney regurgitates themes found in their past animated flicks, expect to hear a decent amount of musical numbers. The Rapunzel character is more-or-less a version of Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Fortunately, the execution of the musical numbers are around the same levels as Little Mermaid. Mother Gothel/Old bag also gets to flex the vocal chords and her persona will remind one of Ursula from Little Mermaid as well. The storylines depicted in Mermaid and Tangled are fairly similar. Our other lead, Flynn Rider, is a kid’s version of Captain Jack Sparrow. No matter what the situation, he keeps the mood light and is always looking out for himself. The grouping of these characters enables the script to venture away from the source just enough to amuse both the younger and older audiences.
As far as the 3D effect is concerned…Chances are it won’t make too much of a difference if you choose not to pay the extra cash. Aside from one touching scene, the 3D is negligible. That said, the detail put into every scene and/or set-piece is a joy to explore.
Overall, Tangled is that true family animation one has come to expect from Disney. The kids will be into this the entire way through. For the adults, if Aladdin and The Little Mermaid brought a smile to your face, then Tangled will do the same for it brings that same magic back both visually and emotionally.