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Tangled - Movie Review by A.D.Harris

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Last week I went to watch the latest attempt by 'Walt Disney Animations' to find the sparkle that the studio appeared to have lost. I remember the early nineties produced 'The Lion King' and 'Beauty and the Beast,' But when I think over the next fifteen years, the leading movies in animation have come from the minds of Pixar and Dream works amongst others. Disney highlights from that time such as 'Tarzan' and 'Lilo & Stitch' are lowly entries in the Mouse House's grand history; so it's well overdue that they re-found that Mickey magic.

So therefore I am happy to report that 'Tangled' is without a doubt the best Disney movie since Simba claimed back Pride Rock all those years ago in 1994. The movie has taken several key elements from times gone by to help it's cause, the traditional 'Princess' in distress storyline and the music of Alan Menken, who penned many of the great Disney tunes from the 80's and 90's.
The story follows Rapunzel, whose character is very similar to the fairytale, a girl with long glowing locks who spends her life inside a tower. The new twist Disney throws at the story, is that her mother was brought back to life during childbirth by a drop of the sun, which fell from the sky onto a flower, and brought unnaturally long life to those who chanted to it. The villain of the story, Mother Gothel was a woman who had for years kept herself young by the flowers power, but when it was taken and used to allow Rapunzel to be born, steals the baby when she discovers that her golden hair now holds the magical powers of that sundrop. It's all very Disney, and it's a great set up.
However, don't expect a typical fairytale, as the killer and winning touch the movie has comes in the form of the anti-hero and co-star 'Flynn Rider.' A charming thief who is wanted by the kingdom for stealing and all round being a bad guy, is a barn-stormer of a character, voiced by Zachary Levi who is best known for TV spy 'Chuck.' He adds the comic gold that Shrek found in 'Donkey', and often gives the movie it's best moments. As Flynn and Repunzel's lives collide, the movie heads into an adventure that's always funny, emotional and engaging; there is plenty of action, sword fights, villains and 'great escapes', but it is a love story at heart, and one of finding the place you are meant to be, and being there with the person you are supposed to be with. It may not quite beat Toy Story for this year's 'Animated Oscar', but it is hands down the best romance I've seen this year, and without a doubt the best fairytale I've seen in many a year.
The supporting cast works best when they don't speak, highlights being Pascal the chameleon and Maximus the horse, two excellent examples on how less is more. They are both visual; not a word utters from their mouths, and they are perhaps the best characters of the film behind the leading duo.
Unfortunately, this highlghts the disappointing average villains of the piece; Mother Gothel is not really evil, just a misguided selfish woman and she never comes across as anything other than that. The 'Stabbington Brothers' come closer to the arch-nemesis the movie craves, two brothers who were left for dead by Flynn and are on the hunt for revenge, Ron Perlman voice acting every growl and grunt he can. Sadly however, as the movie wears on they become more 'Jasper & Horace' slapstick sidekicks than the 'Cruella De Ville' villain, and comparing Mother Gothel to such a villain is almost a crime.
Also, when the final climax of the movie hits, it's over too soon and a little rushed, Disney focusing on the romance too much in a moment that should be tense and gripping.
However visually the movie is perhaps the best I have seen in animation barring Wall-E and UP, it is truly magical imagery. If there is a more beautiful piece of animation than the scenes when the king and queen light the hundreds of lanterns into the kingdom's sky then tell me, as I need to see it; the lantern scene was incredibly moving, the 3D for once being used to full effect, the world rolling off the screen into the auditorium.
I cannot recommend 'Tangled' any higher, its a visual treat, and a funny, heart warming fairytale brought to life in a way only Disney really knows how to do. I'm also expecting the West End and Broadway to have it on a stage near you as soon as they can.
So whilst you have the chance, get out the 3D specs and go get Tangled up in one of the best movies of the year. Disney is back where they belong; and if this is what the can produce, long may the Mouse House remain there...

8.5/10

Adam

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