Film review: TangledBy Kim Francis
February 02, 2011
Disney might want to re-think its reported decision not to adapt any more fairy tales since its latest – Tangled – has already managed to haul seriously big bucks across the pond and also looks set to see the pounds piling in here.
Based on the well-loved story of Rapunzel and marking the 50th animated feature from the famous studio, Tangled takes several liberties with the traditional tale to give it richness and bring it up to date.
That isn’t to say it abandons tradition all together. Indeed, it captures the tone and charm of the old-fashioned Brothers Grimm tale while making it appeal to a modern audience and, of course, sprinkling it with Disney magic.
The story of Rapunzel told in Tangled is set up as follows: a piece of sunlight falls from the sky and where it falls grows a flower.
An old crone passes by and discovers said flower has magical properties that bestow youth and beauty on whoever taps into its powers. Meanwhile, the queen of the land grows ill.
The flower is retrieved by palace flunkies to restore Queen to health. Queen has baby. Resulting princess inherits flower power. Old crone steals princess and imprisons her in a tower… and that’s where we properly get to know Disney’s Rapunzel, voiced by Mandy Moore.
Of course, if you hadn’t guessed, the magical properties lie in Rapunzel’s flowing golden tresses – and to unlock the powers, Rapunzel’s ‘evil stepmother’, Mother Gothel (the old crone who kidnaps her, voiced by Donna Murphy), must sing to the hair regularly (of course).
However, as Rapunzel grows up and becomes restless, she starts to question her existence. An encounter with roguish thief
Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) leads her on an adventure of discovery as she attempts tofind a meaning to her life.
Legendary Disney animator Glen Keane has called Tangled Disney’s greatest ever animation – high praise indeed, but it’s easy to see why. Aside from its glorious animation, which many will find brought even more vividly to life by the 3D format, it’s a perfect family film. It’s sweet, funny and involving with inventive touches and an irreverence typical of entertainment.
Flynn Rider is an atypical Disney antihero but works in the context of this re-telling as the perfect foil for a feisty and sparky Rapunzel, while the horse, Maximus – who behaves like a dog – outshines every other character.
Clearly made with love coupled with a respect for traditional storytelling, Tangled commendably refuses to shy away from the fairy tale’s typical dark streak and includes a truly evil ‘stepmother’ character, a menacing tone and relatively grisly scenes of death.
Tangled is a triumph for Disney – a family movie that hits just the right note for modern times.