Tangled (3D) film review

CGI-animated Tangled is the 50th movie to come from Disney’s Animation Studios. It’s also a marvellous return to vintage fairytale form for the studio, easily topping 2009’s The Princess and the Frog in terms of overall enjoyability and immersion. Hell, it even got a couple of tears out of me.

Tangled (loosely) tells the story of Rapunzel, but with a surprising amount of psychological complexity. This isn’t the dumb blonde blabbermouth of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Rapunzel here – voiced by Mandy Moore – is a likeable young woman who lusts after the world outside her tower, but has also been raised to fear its dangers, resulting in some major emotional see-sawing and anxiety. Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) is the woman who keeps Rapunzel imprisoned for her own selfish gains, but cunningly does so through veiled manipulation (“Mother knows best”) instead of blatant cruelty. Gothel is definitely one of the most interesting ‘old school’ Disney villains to emerge in recent years. And as an added bonus she’s also one of the most ‘real,’ without magical powers to achieve her goals.

Of course, Tangled would be rather dull if it was entirely confined to a tower, and that’s where roguish thief Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) comes into play. After stumbling onto Rapunzel’s tower, he is blackmailed into helping the young woman – acting as her guide in the outside world so that she can achieve her dream of watching the kingdom’s annual release of sky lanterns.

There’s only one thing to bear in mind about Tangled and that’s the fact it’s a musical. The marketing material and trailers have omitted this piece of information, so it’s something of a shock when, within the first 2 minutes of screen time, the singing begins. Still though, after the first few jarring numbers the film strikes a much more natural balance between music and plot progression, and even modern audiences resistant to singing and dancing should overcome their prejudices, and have a good time.

One thing that Tangled does exceptionally well is remind audiences that Disney remains the master of expression and characterisation. There are multiple animation studios around the world turning out fantastic movies, but none can quite match Disney’s nuanced grasp of movement and facial expression. Both are used to maximum comic and emotional effect in Tangled, and it’s one of the reasons that Maximus, the dog-like white stallion, steals the show.

Tangled is an exceptionally beautiful film but it’s not worth watching in 3D. Surprisingly, the format adds nothing of value to the viewing experience, so you’re better off seeking the movie in standard 2D.

This said, if you love Disney movies, or just want some quality entertainment for the whole family, Tangled really delivers. Refreshingly, it’s a mainstream animated movie that prioritises character and engaging story above pop culture references and an all-star voice cast. Making it definitely worth a watch.


Cleric said…
Why does the male char look like Aladin? :P

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