It’s good to be the king! And by that I mean king of family oriented entertainment. For decades the House of Mouse has been pumping out animated classics. I was lucky enough to grow up during one of their renaissance periods, if you will. I not only got “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?,” “Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and The Beast,” “Aladdin” and of course “The Lion King,” but I got the Disney Afternoon block that included great shows like “Adventures of the Gummi Bears,” “Chip n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers,” “Duck Tales,” and my favorite “Gargoyles.” There were more films to be sure but none of them had the acclaim of the former titles and Disney kinda just did their thing. Then Pixar was created and hand drawn animation and traditional Disney storytelling fell by the wayside.
Thank goodness for the one-two combo of “Princess and the Frog” and “Tangled.” Though two different movies they both signaled a return to classic Disney form.
Now I’m not saying the Pixar films are bad. Not at all, but they are a completely different beast. And that is a good thing. Disney started doing their own CG films however with “Meet The Robinsons,” which was a good little flick, and they followed it up with “Bolt,” which was cute. But neither were classic Disney. “Tangled” is exactly that. Princess? Check. Dashing hero? Check. Evil Stepmother? Check. Cute hilarious animal friends? Check. See what I mean?!?
For those not in the know, “Tangled” tells the story of Rapunzel, who has spent her entire life stuck in a tower, and incidentally has spent that time learning just about any and everything you can possibly learn (she sings a song about her daily routine that shows all this) and longs for the outside world. Her “Mother” forbids this of course citing that people would do anything to get her and her hair (it has magical properties I won’t spoil). Enter Flynn Rider who is a dashing, and charming thief that the authorities always seem to mess up his wanted posters (can’t get the nose right). In short order Rapunzel has gotten Flynn to take her to the festival of lights that she has longed to see and watched from her window all these years. I won’t get into much more but what results is a funny, heartwarming, adventure full self discovery, action, and emotion.
The cast was really quite good, and made every character likeable, even the villain (often my favorite part of Disney films, Dr. Facilier in “Princess and the Frog” was AWESOME! But then again when isn’t Keith David?) wasn’t played as the overly evil archetype, but as a self-serving and very vain woman. Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi play Rapunzel and Flynn respectively with Donna Murphy providing the voice of Mother Gothel (the stepmother, though she’s never referred to as such). Brad Garrett and Ron Perlman also lend voices to a hook handed Bandit and the speaking Stabbington Brother (the physical antagonists of the film) respectively. But the true nod has to go to Maximus the horse, steed of the Captain of the Guard, and Pascal the Chameleon, Rapunzel’s pet and friend. They don’t speak but like Appu and Carpet from “Aladdin” they have tons of character and you will love every moment they’re on screen.
I really liked this film, from the characters to the songs, to the story, but I was truly blown away by the visuals. On Blu-Ray this thing is just a sight to behold. Lush backgrounds, grass that blows in the wind, and hair, sooo much hair. And don’t get me started on the water. Oh my goodness I just wanted to drink it, or go swimming. There is a scene where Rapunzel and Flynn are trapped in a cave filling up with water, and you can see that they are actually wet. It’s visible from their clothes, to their skin. They look less like animated characters and more like resin statues come to life. The detail is uncanny especially in the eyes and the mouth. Oh and without giving anything away, it’s scary how much Rapunzel looks like Mandy Moore by the end of the film. Bottom Line if you’re a Disney fan, have kids, or just like a good story this film is for you.
- 2 original storybook openings
- 50th Animated Countdown
- DVD features plus
- 3 deleted scenes
- The Making of a Fairy Tale
- 2 extended songs
- 9 Theatrical Teasers