Disney’s Tangled is the studio’s best computer animated effort yet and continues to show that John Lasseter’s control over the Mouse House animation team is a brilliant move in the right direction. Having said that, there is still room for improvement in Tangled but as it stands it is still a very entertaining and attractive family offering.
A retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale, the story follows the tale’s title character whom is unknowingly being held captive in a secluded tower by a centuries old witch(?) who exploits the magic powers of Rapunzel’s hair. Rapunzel’s hair was enchanted with the ability to heal/give ever lasting youth to its touch after summoning its power with a song and the witch, Gothel, will do anything to keep the hair within her grasps. Painting a terrifying and treacherous picture of the world outside the tower Gothel’s grip on Rapunzel is beginning to wane as she gets older and longs for life outside her secluded hideaway. Enter Flynn Ryder, a thief on the run after stealing Rapunzel’s waiting crown if she ever returns to her royal family she was stolen from as a baby. Ryder stumbles upon Rapunzel’s hideaway and he is forced by her to take her to see the annual lights that appear on her birthday every year in the night sky. The two set out on their journey and an unexpected relationship forms between the two.
Now let’s just get my complaints out of the way. First of all, the film’s story is extremely slim and they stretch the material quite a bit to fill a ninety minute movie. This causes some pacing issues in the later half of the film as well and there could have been a another song or action beat to help things move a bit faster. In fact, take away the action beats and songs and this movie is over in a bout 45-50 minutes long. This isn’t a problem though as the action and the songs are both assembled quite well, just goes to show how much filler there is in the film.
Speaking of those songs, they are very catchy and enjoyable, I even found myself humming one after the movie, but I don’t think any of them are destined to become classic songs in the Disney animated catalog. The action in the film is very fun and creative though and major props to the creative and animation team for using Rapunzel’s hair so dynamically and creatively interesting. The animation in the film is also quite brilliant and while computer animated it still has a hand drawn look to it that really works with the vibrant color scheme they use. The 3-D is also very well done here and while not flashy it gives the film a little more life. One last bit of praise, they do a great job at getting comic relief out of Maximus the horse and Pascal the iguana without overkill that strikes just the right balance for the characters.
The voice cast is sparse but solid with Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi leading the way. Moore’s Rapunzel is sweet, smart and just enough aloof to strike that right balance so that we can believe she isn’t an idiot but capable of being fooled enough to stay in the tower. Moore’s best moment is a great montage of glee/guilt Rapunzel has upon immediately leaving her tower; just great stuff. Levi brings a charming arrogance to the role of Flynn that is fun and likable and one of the funnier animated characters to come out of a Disney movie in a while. The rest of the cast does a serviceable job but everyone is upstaged by the animators and their work with Maximus and Pascal.
In the end, Tangled is a fun and entertaining fairy tale for the holiday season that everyone can enjoy. While Disney Animation has a long way to go before reaching Pixar’s greatness, having John Lasseter steering the ship over there seems to turning out better and better animated films every time out. Tangled is the best Disney Animation entry in a while, besting last years Princess and the Frog for that crown, and should not be missed by anyone interested.
Tangled is a B-