4 Dec

Title: Tangled
Nathan Greno and Byron Howard
Dan Fogelman, based on the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm
Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Brad Garrett, Ron Perlman, Jeffrey Tambor
MPAA Rating:
PG, brief mild violence
100 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating:
Rotten Tomatoes:

Tangled was widely celebrated by Disney as the 50th animated feature film they have made. A stunning accomplishment by any standards, but one that’s even more breathtaking once you start looking at the films that form part of that legendary canon. In fact, just look at the first five films the Walt Disney Animation Studios released and you’ll know just how amazing these people are: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Bambi. Five films that stand as classics to this very day, and that are the first five films in a list that also includes other timeless classics like Peter Pan, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. As I said, legendary stuff indeed.

So yes, the animated films Disney has made are some of the most amazing landmarks in animation in history. Though to be fair, in the new millenium the results haven’t been as outstanding, and I’m gonna do a rundown of how the past ten years have gone for the company, so bear with me for a while: Fantasia 2000 was pretty neat but was based on an existing property, Dinosaur I didn’t like, The Emperor’s New Groove was quite cool but wasn’t as good as the old Disney films, Atlantis: The Lost Empire was disappointing, Lilo & Stitch was actually quite awesome, Treasure Planet was okay at its best, Brother Bear I didn’t care for at all, Home on the Range I actually thought was horrible, Chicken Little was perceived as cute but the film was definitely below average, Meet the Robinsons I would’ve been fine without, Bolt was quite allright but nothing spectacular, and last year’s The Princess and the Frog I actually really liked and thought it went back to what made Disney such a great animation studio in the first place, which was great to see.

So yes, an exhaustive recap of what the past decade has been for the house the mouse built, but I did it to just explore how so-so the 2000’s were in comparison to the 1990’s which, excluding the first one released during that decade which was The Rescuers Down Under in 1990, produced 8 films which were all seriously awesome. The last decade on the other hand, only had two films that I would include in Disney’s best-of, Lilo & Stitch and The Princess and the Frog.

Tangled, however, I would also include on that list, and I thought was a very charming film, that while isn’t as good as some of the classics Disney has made in the past, is certainly the best one to come out in this millennium, and has some seriously wicked visuals to go along with one very entertaining story.

And this is a great addition to that legendary canon because when we think Disney fairytales we many times think about “Be Our Guest” or “Under the Sea” and many other amazing musical numbers that have been implanted into our memories forever thanks to Disney. And Tangled has a few musical numbers, which may not be as legendary as the aforementioned ones are, but they’re still really fun and totally have that magical Disney feeling to them.

You obviously know how the story of Tangled will go, but that’s really okay, because it’s how it’s told that matters the most, and in Tangled it’s all told with great flair and outstanding visuals. And that’s why this is such a good movie, because we get connected to it, and it grows on us as it goes along, it all looks simply gorgeous and it has a big heart in it, much like those old Disney staples do, in the end it’s just a very sweet film.

If you watched the trailers and the TV spots one got the impression that Tangled was an action-adventure/comedy sorta film, they didn’t showcase the musical side of it. That’s probably because they showcased the musical side of The Princess and the Frog when they were advertising that one, and while that one was ultimately rather profitable, it made just over $100 million domestically, probably because some people were put off thinking it was just a musical. Tangled, on the other hand, has lured in people not from the musical side but from the one that has a broader appeal, and has made a killing at the box office standing at about $75 million domestically after a week, and once in the theaters audiences have loved the musical side of it, awarding it the first A+ CinemaScore grade of the year. So yes, Tangled is pretty good.

And it’s so good precisely because it manages to blend that mix of action and comedy and music and fairy tales and everything else so damn well. A film about a princess that has a cool leading man to appeal to us males, and a film with original Alan Menken songs that wasn’t being advertised as a musical but that worked as one for everyone that saw it.

You probably know the story by now. Rapunzel, a princess, was stolen away as a young child by a horrible woman who keeps her locked up in a high tower because the hair of Rapunzel keeps her forever young. And our princess, armed with her ridiculously long hair which is beautifully animated, only wants to go out and see the world, and see up close those lanterns floating in the sky she’s seen only from afar from her tower . Which ultimately happens once Flynn Rider, our male hero voiced by Zachary Levi from TV’s Chuck, comes along.

The film after that is jam-packed, with action scenes and music and some funny dialogue between our protagonists and even funnier non-spoken stuff by Maximus, the horse that pairs up with them. This is just a good ol’ animated Disney film, it has a lot of heart, and the animation is seriously superb, just wait until Rapunzel gets to see those lanterns, the amount of attention this film pays to detail is terrific. And the appeal Tangled has is really broad, it has something for everyone that can go see it, and it’s armed with new ways in which to recreate the neat magic from the past.

Grade: A-


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