Disney’s 50th animated feature, Tangled, really wants to be ranked with their very best. While it has its moments of hilarity and sparkling computer animation, the story is a bit of a soulless journey through the tried-and-true classic Disney formula of big-eyed girls embarking upon a dangerous world. As written,Tangled is all glitter and gloss with only the faintest of traces of the art and magic that made the hand-drawn frames and adventure of The Princess & the Frog so fun and memorable.
Written by Dan Fogelman, Tangled is essentially an updated look on the story of Rapunzel as originally penned by the Brothers Grimm. Our sweet and naïve Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) is a Princess and, as a child, was kidnapped by Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) and raised to believe the outside world is a dangerous place. Truth is, Gothel is only interested in Rapunzel’s magic hair – which has been blessed by the sun with the powers to heal and reverse the aging process – and keeps the young woman hidden in a faraway tower from her true parents.
One day a charming thief named Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) discovers Rapunzel for himself and, after a brief entanglement between himself and her frying pan, the two strike a deal: he’ll show her what the outside looks like – especially the kingdom’s annual lantern release that is, ironically enough, released on the evening of her birthday – and, in return, she’ll give him back the tiara he stole. Panicked by the thought of being without Rapunzel’s magic hair, Gothel finds herself making a hideous deal with the notorious Stabbington Brothers (Ron Perlman) in an effort to bring her captive back.
In what is the film’s scripted best moment, Rapunzel’s mood shifts from excitement to guilt for being the stereotypical bad daughter and disobeying her “mother” by exploring the outside with the stranger at her side. With breakneck speed and edits, the scenes change from happy to sad and back to happy as Rapunzel’s mood changes. It’s hysterical and a promising bit of comedic magic that sadly isn’t capitalized upon throughout the rest of the overlong narrative.
I can praise this film’s animation all I want with this review; the lantern scene is among their finest ever put on film. It is beautiful and stunning and all things worthy of such glowing praise as its already received. Yet, just like a special effects-laden film of science fiction, the story matters first and foremost and here’s where the film falters. Most ofTangled is rather stoically paced with bits of familiar ground we’ve seen plenty of times before in these tales of young princes and princesses. It's also too long in getting to its climax; only originality warrants excess. Even the music – composed by Alan Menken and lyricist Glen Slater - seems uninspired as it’s all too often repeated by cast and music cues.
In this day and age of all things Pixar one would think that Disney would be stepping up their narrative game…not giving audiences the same old story and song and dance. Like I said, Tangled isn’t a horribly disappointing narrative…it’s just a very familiar one…with little, beyond how it looks, of that Disney magic.
MPAA Rating: PG for brief mild violence.
Director: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard
Writer: Dan Fogelman
Cast: Mandy Moore; Zachary Levi; Donna Murphy; Ron Perlman; Jeffrey Tambor; Brad Garrett
Genre: Animated | Kids | Family
Tagline: Get Tangled Up
Memorable Movie Quote: "You should know that this is the strangest thing I have ever done!"
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Official Site: adisney.go.com/disneypictures/tangled
Release Date: November 24, 2010
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: March 29, 2011
Synopsis: When the kingdom’s most wanted—and most charming—bandit Flynn Rider (voice of Zachary Levi) is taken hostage by Rapunzel (voice of Mandy Moore), a feisty teen with 70 feet of golden hair who’s looking for her ticket out of the tower where she’s been locked away for years, the unlikely duo sets off on a hilarious, hair-raising escapade filled with adventure, heart, humor and hair—lots of hair.
English SDH, French, Spanish (less)
English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German SDH (less)
Available on Blu-ray - March 28, 2011
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; French: DTS-HD HR 7.1; Spanish: DTS-HD HR 5.1; English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Now, here’s where the real magic lies. This is a beautiful transfer with a glorious sense of self and depth. Note, this isn’t the 3-D version, but – no worries – that same beauty is contained here, too. Bright and rich colors float out everywhere. The lushness of the animation is palpable and the Rococo look of the art is accurately replicated with this 1080p transfer from Walt Disney. Partnered with a rich and dynamic DTS-HD MA 7.1 lossless soundtrack, Disney keeps eyes and ears happy with this release.
There’s not a lot of material here. Surprising for a film as well received as this one was. What you do get are plenty of different openings, some storyboards to glance at, and your typical ‘Making-Of’ featurette.
- Deleted Scenes (12 min)
- Original Storybook Openings (7 min)
- 50th Animated Feature Countdown (2 min)
- Extended Songs (7 min)
- Untangled: The Making of a Fairy Tale (12 min)
- ‘Tangled’ Teasers (9 min)
- Discover Blu-ray 3D with Timon & Pumbaa (4 min)
- DVD copy