Typically, Disney CGI doesn’t work without Pixar’s involvement. So, why does Tangled have that ‘Classic’ Disney feel-good vibe that’s been missing from some of their more recent efforts (Bolt, Chicken Little)?
Truthfully, I can’t answer that. What I can tell you is that the film is genuinely heartfelt (if not a little predictable but what Disney film isn’t?). The cast, songs, animation and story all have their plus points so there’s not much for me to really pick at.
The premise, a rather neat way of retelling the Rapunzel fairytale, is about a young girl, trapped in a tower, really long hair... yeah, you know that story. Here though, Rapunzel is a “Lost Princess” whose hair possesses magical qualities. Sounds contrived but it isn’t. It’s actually a very clever way of explaining why she never got a haircut. Long story short? A Drop of sun fell to earth, created a magic flower, old woman used flower to stay young, Queen became ill, King had flower found and used it to cure wife. Because the queen was up the duff at this point, the magic of the flower transferred to her unborn child... you guessed it... Rapunzel.
The old woman wants to stay young forever so she takes Rapunzel and hides her in a secret tower... Whilst there, every year on her birthday, she sees thousands of lights burning brightly in the sky (released by the royal family so that Rapunzel may one day find her way home) and it’s her dream to find out what they are. Then, we meet Flynn Rider... handsome, charming, selfish, greedy... you know, how almost every Disney male is portrayed until he wins the heart of the girl and changes his wicked ways. He is blackmailed into taking Rapunzel to see the lights and their paths are forever enTangled.
Now to the nitty gritty...
As I’ve said, the film is a very solid outing for Disney. It’s charming, well written, funny and has enough to entertain adults as well as kids. The locations are beautiful and the main characters are given decent back stories that make you care... even the old woman that kidnaps Rapunzel. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I thought, in her own twisted way, she had genuine concern for Rapunzel. Granted, any concern she may have had was thrown to wind in honour of the more traditional bad guy traits like greed and vanity.
Flynn had that Indiana Jones swagger about him... Imagine indie when he was 20 and the world filled him with wonder... and Rapunzel, although she was meant to be almost 18, she was more like a 14 year old. Which I thought was a good thing as she’d been kept in a tower for her whole life and hadn’t had the chance to gain any ‘Life Experience’.
My favourite character in the film was the one with no lines... Maximus otherwise known as Max. The loyal steed of the head guard was downright brilliant. Whoever had the idea to give him the same personality as a police dog deserves major kudos. Max was hilarious... even though he had no lines, he was perfectly understood as every movement and facial expression was so over top, you couldn’t help but fall in love with him... just like an absurdly adorable puppy. I defy anyone to watch this movie and not smile when he’s on screen.
I only have 1 major issue with the film really and it’s about the continuity. Think back to those lights in sky... If they were released EVERY single year and Flynn knew about them, why was unable to connect the dots between the fact that the Lost Princess went missing eighteen years ago and that it is now Rapunzel’s eighteenth birthday? Oh, and the fact the name hasn’t changed should have given him some idea as to who she really was or are we meant to just assume that he really is that stupid?
The music is appropriate and entertaining but none of the songs have the lasting appeal of some of the older classics (The Lion King, The Little Mermaid and The Jungle Book).
The visuals are truly stunning. Every backdrop is inspired and created with a lot of love and detail. There is one moment that could quite possibly be THE most beautiful thing ever created with a computer and that's the 'Lantern' scene... utterly unbelievable. At the age of 25, a love song with pretty images shouldn't bring me to tears but it did. It really is a magical moment.
Overall, the film is very enjoyable but don’t expect any Inception style thinking to be required. This is about as cheesy as it gets but in the best way possible. It really is good to have a little Disney magic back on the big screen.
Score: 8 out of 10
Please comment and follow me on Twitter... @PortmanReview