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Movie Review: Tangled

November 24, 2010

Tangled – A Walt Disney Pictures’ Release

http://adisney.go.com/disneypictures/tangled/

Release Date: November 24th

Rated PG for cartoon/animation action

Running time: 101 minutes

 

Nathan Greno (dir.)

Byron Howard (dir.)

 

Dan Fogelman (writer)

 

Based on the fairy tale, Rapunzel, by The Brothers Grimm

 

Alan Menkin (music)

 

Mandy Moore as Rapunzel (voice)

Zachary Levi as Flynn Ryder (voice)

Donna Murphy as Mother Gothel (voice)

Ron Perlman as The Stabbington Brothers (voice)

M.C. Gainey as Captain of the Guard (voice)

Jeffrey Tambor as Big Nose (voice)

Brad Garrett as Hook Hand (voice)

Paul F. Tompkins as Shorty (voice)

Richard Kiel as Vlad (voice)

©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(L-R) Pascal, Rapunzel, Flynn and Maximus in Walt Disney Pictures’ Tangled

 

Our reviews below:

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Tangled Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

Walt Disney Studios 50th animated film, Tangled, features beautiful visuals, an appealing soundtrack and memorably likable characters.  In other words, it plays as a studio classic through and through.

 

Raised from birth by the wicked Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy), Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) – along with her 70 feet of magical hair – has spent the last 18 years trapped in a tower.  By chance she meets rogue thief Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi), a charmer who’s desperately trying to stay one step ahead of the authorities.  Stuck in the tower, she cuts him a deal:  He can go free, but only if he takes her to see the thousands of lanterns that are floated above the kingdom once every year.

 

We’ve all, I’m sure, heard the fairy tale, but the classic story is told here with an appealing edge and a heroine that is able to stand up for herself, despite having been locked away from the world.  With an equally strong character arc, Flynn Rider proves an excellent counterpart to the headstrong young woman.

 

Parents should be warned that there are some genuinely dark moments that may prove too much for the youngest of kids, but like every Disney movie, comic relief comes in the form of animal sidekicks.  Rapunzel goes everywhere with her adorable pet chameleon Pascal, and they are aided on their journey by the lovable dog-like horse, Maximus.  With impeccable cartoon timing, there were many moments that had me laughing out loud.

 

The songs have the sound of classic Alan Menken, with the beautiful ‘I See The Light’ reminiscent of his theme from Beauty and the Beast.  The appropriately theatrical ‘Mother Knows Best’ and the ridiculously entertaining ‘I Have a Dream’ provide two other memorable moments.  Some have been critical of the soundtrack, but every song fits the film perfectly.

 

It’s admittedly not quite in the same league as last year’s outstanding 2D animated The Princess and the Frog, but few films are.  With an excellent soundtrack, beautiful animation, and an appealing heroine, Tangled is heartfelt and hilarious, playing as classic-Disney from beginning to end.

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Tangled Review By Erin V.

**** (out of 4)

With each new trailer, I knew this was going to be a really fun movie.  I’m pleased to say that Tangled completely lived up – and in some ways surpassed – my expectations.

 

After a short prologue, we meet up with Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), who has been stuck living in a tower with Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy), who claims she’s kept her there for ‘her own good.’  We quickly get both of their ideas of what they want through two songs – When Will My Life Begin (Rapunzel) and Mother Knows Best (Mother Gothel).  Both of the songs are well written and fun, setting the tone for the rest of the film.  It’s when a wanted thief named Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) – on the run from the castle guards – breaks into the tower looking for a place to hide, that Rapunzel finally decides to take a leap of faith and for her 18th birthday – against Mother Gothel’s knowledge and wishes – experience the outside world, bribing Flynn into being her (unwilling) guide.

 

Mother Gothel is the villain here, but it’s hard to tell how far she’ll actually go at the beginning.  Murphy does very well with the role and it’s theatrical songs, creating a character that we believe Rapunzel might have believed all these years, could in some way be sincere.  The interactions between Flynn and Rapunzel are genuine and develop in a believable fashion.  Both Levi and Moore are well cast and their song together – I See the Light – is well sung and could easily be an awards contender this year.  Speaking of the music, the score by Disney veteran Alan Menken is very good – I love the whole soundtrack, songs and score.  You can read my full thoughts on the music here.  The animation is also very well done.  There is a gorgeous scene (especially in 3D) with floating lanterns at night.  I also love the art direction and landscape design, with both it’s natural forest and city-type kingdom sets.  The characters are all fashioned in an appealing manner, and most of the time strike a nice balance between realism and cartoonism (the singing thugs in the pub are fun although purely cartoony).  A good example of this balance, is the castle horse Maximus, who makes it his mission throughout the film to try to catch Flynn Rider.  And Rapunzel’s pet chameleon Pascal is just charming and cute as well.

 

The idea of doing the story of Rapunzel in some form began over 65 years ago at Disney.  But until now, various creative teams just couldn’t get the story to work the way they wanted.  The story of Rapunzel, after all, is about someone locked in a tower.  The goal of the filmmakers, was to give Rapunzel a real reason to get out of the tower and have an adventure.  In screenwriting books, we often read, start your story as late as possible in your character’s lives.  Show us where they are now, and then spring the story forward with an incident that takes them out of their comfort zone.  That’s why I found Tangled really worked.  We know she’s been locked in a tower for 18 years – we want to see what happens when she leaves and experiences the outside world.

 

This is a great, and very current feeling take, on the classic fairy tale.  Rapunzel is far from just the princess waiting to be rescued.  She knows what she wants and can more than hold her own opposite Flynn.  Interestingly, this is a film where at first, Rapunzel is unaware she is a princess and Flynn is most certainly not a prince.  Thus, the story plays in a nice change, just like that of two people getting to know each other and themselves better along the way.  Unlike in some fairy tale films, as far as they know, class-wise, they’re equals.  If you were to describe it, this is almost more of a coming-of-age story for Rapunzel as she makes the decision to take control of her own life, as well as a bit of a road trip rom-com about two people who don’t necessarily want to be traveling together at first.  The script is very well written, providing us enough back story through actions and subtext into the characters, to understand and believe why they have the goals they do.

 

Please note, it is rated PG for a reason.  There are a few tense scenes that kids under 6 or 7 who can’t handle knowing if everything will be ok or not for at least 10 minutes will easily be frightened by.  But that being said, I think this will be enjoyed by a widely aged audience of both genders (all except the very young).

 

This is one of the films in theatres that is worth your price of admission right now.  I saw it in 3D, but it would hold up just fine in 2D.  Either way, take a chance on this one and go see it.

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Tangled Review By Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

Once again, Disney has created a fresh retelling of a classic fairy tale.  Tangled, their 50th animated movie, tells the story of Rapunzel.  In this version, she is depicted as a creative young woman who stands up for herself.  Her 18th birthday is approaching, and she can’t wait to leave the boring castle that Mother Gothel has kept her captive in.  She has always wanted to find out the origin of the floating stars that appear on her special day.

 

Meanwhile, a young thief, Flynn Rider, gets literally caught up in Rapunzel’s tower.  She will let him go on one condition: He’s to take her to the lights that she has always wondered about.  This leads the two on an exciting adventure.

 

Tangled is pure fun.  There are plenty of great musical numbers, as well as a good score.  The animation is excellent, and the characters are really memorable.  The acting is good, and the story, while predictable at times, is engaging and fun.

 

While there are some scenes which seemed to frighten the very young audience members, this movie will appeal to those ages 6 or 7 to adult.  There are a lot of funny moments involving Pascal, Rapunzel’s pet chameleon, and Maximus, a palace horse who thinks he’s a dog.

 

Tangled is a good, timeless movie which will be added to the list of Disney classics,  Go see this one.

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Tangled Review By Maureen

***1/2 (out of 4)

There’s Disney magic in the air when it comes to pretty princesses and fairy tales. This time the magic’s in the hair with Tangled, Disney’s 50th animated release. Based on the fairy tale, Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) the magically long-haired princess has been kept in a tower for nearly 18 years by an evil woman who Rapunzel knows as Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy).  Rapunzel longs to leave the tower, if only for a day, to see the floating lanterns that appear every year on her birthday.  Of course, Mother Gothel says no because as she sings in one of the many wonderful songs in Tangled, “Mother Knows Best.”

Tangled is set in medieval times but with modern-day attitudes.  Rapunzel isn’t rescued by a prince charming.  Instead she holds her own when it comes to dealing with charming thief Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi).  Together they make their way out of the tower so Rapunzel can see the magic lanterns for her 18th birthday.  Their adventure takes them to places such as the Snuggly Duckling Pub where one of the funniest and oddest musical numbers takes place.  Medieval thugs and their sensitive side dreams are laugh out loud funny.

 

Some of the adventure and story has darker elements making it scary for the under five crowd.  However there are many more lighter moments, wonderful songs, and an absolutely delightful horse, Maximus and Rapunzel’s adorable pet chameleon, Pascal, who never leaves her side.  There is something in Tangled to please young and old, male and female.  Tangled plays really well in 3D but will be just as charming in 2D.  This newest Disney princess movie is worth seeing in theatres especially with little princesses.

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Tangled Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Tangled is a comic Disney 3D take on the classic Rapunzel tale. When a flower whose magic has kept the wicked “Mother” Gothel (Donna Murphy) alive for centuries is taken to save the queen during childbirth, Gothel steals the baby princess Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), in whose long hair the magic now resides, and locks her up in a hidden tower to raise her as her own. Now 18, Rapunzel is restless, and when the thief Flynn Ryder (Zachary Levi) discovers the tower, she persuades him to take her away to the source of the mysterious lights that rise every year on her birthday. Despite the efforts of Gothel and Flynn’s enemies, Rapunzel and Flynn eventually find their destiny, with the help of the strange denizens of the Snuggly Duckling Pub.

 

Over the familiar whistling Mickey Mouse opening, we are informed that Tangled is the 50th Disney animated feature, and it is a worthy addition to the collection. Though at times perhaps a bit too dark for the preschool kids present, it is beautifully rendered with enough charm and humour to delight the rest of us. Even the inevitable smart Disney critters–a pet chameleon and loyal palace horse–are more witty than cute, and the Snuggly Duckling characters are downright surreal. The Alan Menken songs are fine but not as good as the Randy Newman music from last year’s Princess and the Frog.

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Consensus: With beautiful animation, appealing characters and an excellent soundtrack, Tangled is Walt Disney Pictures’ 50th animated film, and it plays as a heartfelt and hilarious studio classic from beginning to end. ***1/2 (Out of 4)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 8, 2011 2:52 am

    “There’s Disney magic in the air when it comes to pretty princesses and fairy tales. This time the magic’s in the hair with Tangled,” – I adore this phrase.

    Thanks for the insights. I am also reviewing it now.

    Like

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