Tangled (2010) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Tangled (2010)

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site Pre-Code.com

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Danny LIKEIt's a fairytale; there's lying, betrayal, violence, seduction and murder. There's singing and dancing, so it's good for kids, too.

Tangled is Disney Animation Studio's 50th film, and is a sweet mixture of everything that has brought them success over the years. There's a princess, a dashing young fellow, wacky animals, and even a grouchy old stepmother to plot her scheme.

What sets Tangled apart from the constant recycling of ancient Disney fare is a sense of modern timing and, at times, anarchical glee that never lowers itself to the depths of contrived postmodern zaniness that Dreamworks pictures have reveled in the for the last half decade.

The animation is smooth and crisp and has surprising beauty at times.

That gives Tangled a head start that it never wastes. The excellent acting from the lead voices and often delightful animation only keep it going until the credits role and, regretfully, it ends.

Plot-wise, it's the story of a young princess named Rapunzel  with magic hair trapped in a tower by an evil woman who wants to use the hair to maintain eternal youth. The woman, Mother Gothel, is a nasty lesson in passive-aggressiveness, and Donna Murphy, who does her voice, stops the show several times with some maliciously enjoyable songs. That she's not a witch and offers no enchantments on the princess besides some carefully times insults and machinations is both refreshing and a better lesson for moviegoers than any boisterous hunters and evil governors you could rub against one another.

Rapunzel herself is played with more spunk than any half dozen Disney heroines by Mandy Moore, and is wisely given more redeeming artistic and and intellectual characteristics than most of the Disney canon combined. Her lack of confidence is real and charming, and, personally, being a huge Disney princess nerd (I was raised with two sisters, so shut up), she's up there in terms of Mulan and Pocahontas insofar as me actually giving a damn about the characters themselves. Rapunzel also has a cute chameleon sidekick named Pascal who has a couple of good looks and a bit of wasted potential.

The third part of this equation is Flynn Rider, zippy thief and dashing, well, jerk, kind of. He's stolen the crown and is on the run with it when he stumbles upon Rapunzel's tower. He agrees to show her the kingdom for a few days after she hides the crown, and though he contrives some tricks at first, he's quickly won over by the girl's wide eyed charm and endless fascination with everything he'd taken for granted for so long.

It's really quite nice looking.

My only beef with Tangled is that it isn't enough musical by half. Flynn doesn't get a number, which seems strangely disappointing, and the film seems to be scared of ending with a big number that tunes like "I've Got a Dream" and "I See the Light" demand. It's a safer picture for the times than it should be, but for what it is and as a stepping stone of bringing princess films into the new decade, it's a step in the right direction.

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Posted by Danny

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