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Tangled (2010)

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Score: 8/10

Genre: Fairy Tale and Musical Running Time: 1 hr. 40 min.

Release Date: November 24th, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG

Director: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard Actors: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Brad Garrett, Jeffrey Tambor, Ron Perlman

A

t its finest moments, “Tangled” emanates the nostalgic feel of classic 2-D animated Disney films.  The main hero looks like Aladdin and Prince Charming, while the heroine resembles Ariel (in the boat during “Kiss the Girl”) and Aurora (in the cottage).  Full songs burst forth from protagonists and antagonists alike at various points and many of the supporting characters provide extreme silliness and abundant comic relief.  There’s even a signature evil witch to supply the majority of wickedness.  Though several of the character designs are rather bland and over-caricaturized, their vivid animations interact well with the wild action, allowing “Tangled” to retain its wholesome family entertainment with endearing personalities and a cleverly expanded (and much lighter) interpretation of the Rapunzel fairy tale.

Unknowingly stolen from birth and confined to a tall, secluded tower throughout her childhood, young Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) longs to explore the outside world and visit the nearby kingdom for her 18th birthday.  Her “mother” Gothel (Donna Murphy), however, forbids her to leave the safety of their home for fear of others exploiting the healing powers of the young girl’s enchanted golden hair.  When roguish bandit Flynn Ryder (Zachary Levi) stumbles upon Rapunzel’s steeple, the rebellious teen spies her chance to finally fulfill her dreams, bartering with the thief to escort her to the King’s castle.  But the manipulating Gothel won’t see her precious possession slip away so easily and devises a plan to recapture the wayward youth, intent on keeping her imprisoned forever.

“Tangled” is an entertaining twist on the famous Grimm’s tale, mixing various versions of the story with a noticeable Disney flair and teen-oriented dialogue. The presentation of the film harkens back to the days of traditional animation, most noticeably in the resemblance of character designs. Oddly, there are also some elements of the live action “Enchanted” weaved in. Like most of the computer animated films released in the last couple of years, the characters are all caricatures, assembled in such a way that they look like they could have been hand drawn, while the movements feature plenty of unnatural, playful squashes and stretches. The environments and textures receive the super realistic treatment instead.

Although formulaic, with the standard heart-wrenching sacrifice and poignant climax, action-filled escape sequences, broad-shouldered thugs, scary-but-kind warriors, cuddly little animal sidekicks (and a dog-like noble horse), a decent villainess, overlong happily-ever-after conclusion and mimes (well, maybe not the mimes), “Tangled” maintains a steady sense of comedy, romance, adventure, and drama. Since Mandy Moore voices Rapunzel, several songs are included (along with the standard lyrical turns by the leading man, villainess, and background characters) that work to bridge gaps in the story, like a montage. One particular routine is thrown in to help the protagonists out of a bind, which both pulls the audience out of the seriousness of the situation and also reminds them that in the world of a Disney cartoon, rarely are predicaments sinister. It’s not quite on the level of Pixar’s approach to more frightening debacles, but the fantasy is pleasant and convincing.

– The Massie Twins

 



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