Disney’s Tangled succeeds

Tangled takes long hair to the extreme, transforming the tale of Rapunzel into an exciting adventure. The original Rapunzel story is evident, but Tangled adds its own flair. The presentation of script, scenery and sound creates a compelling film out of something as simple as a girl with long hair trapped in a tower. Even though Tangled is Disney’s first 3D departure from their roots in classic 2D animation, it stands strong as proof that that Disney still knows how to make good animations.
The combination of talent involved in Tangled comes together nicely. The voice acting is excellent, especially by leads Mandy Moore as princess Rapunzel and Zachary Levi as the handsome thief Flynn Rider. Donna Murphy and Ron Perlman provide a striking villainous presence, voicing the manipulative Mother Gothel and the rogue Stabbington brothers, respectively. Most impressively, all of the voice actors perform their own singing roles.
The soundtrack is well-done thanks to Alan Menken, a longtime Disney movie composer responsible for classics such as Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. Following the tradition of Disney animated features, characters in Tangled will spontaneously burst into song. The number and pacing of these songs feels just right, delivering emotion and character development through smooth transitions into music. Rather than being overwhelming and distracting, all of the music contributes to the narrative. Rapunzel’s first song is especially charming, describing the daily rituals she employs to counteract the boredom of being trapped in a tower for her entire life.
The animators involved in Tangled also deserve special praise. The animation is flowing, the visuals are beautiful, and the character design is unique and interesting. The resulting art style is vibrant, colorful and scenic. Not surprisingly considering the subject matter, the hair is especially well-rendered.
With the great vocal talent, music and visuals, the story of Tangled is the final component that brings everything together. It is full of action, comedy, romance, and villainy. Extreme liberties are taken with the source material, but such has always been the case with Disney’s fairy tale adaptations. In this case, the replacement of the classic-yet-boring “prince charming” with a witty rogue opens up interesting narrative possibilities and creates a more complex relationship dynamic between his character and the princess. The Disney formula is clearly evident throughout the film, even down to the quirky animal companions (in this case, a horse and a chameleon). However, while the formula is old and predictable, it is unashamedly so, delivering a happy, fun adventure for audiences to enjoy.
Tangled is delightful in its light-hearted charm. It is not particularly deep, yet it is not shallow either. The characters and story are interesting, and the execution is superb from music to art style. More than most, Tangled is simply a fun movie, and that makes it worthwhile.


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