Tangled carries on the tradition of Disney princess movies
I grew up during the golden age of the Disney princess. From Ariel to Belle to Jasmine, my childhood was filled with big-eyed, tiny-waisted damsels in distress who always fell in love with a boy outside of their sheltered world, or outside of their species in some cases. Let’s face it, nobody does animated fairy tales like Disney.Tangled takes the next logical step for Disney princesses with the classic formula done in snazzy new 3D computer animation.
The film is about classic fairy tale princess Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), who is kidnapped and trapped in a tower by aging witch Gothel (Donna Murphy), who seeks to use her magical golden hair to stay forever young. Believing Gothel to be her overprotective mother, Rapunzel followers her orders to never leave the tower. Of course, Rapunzel dreams of seeing the world, particularly the origination of the “lights” she sees every year on her birthday. That’s when she meets Flynn Ryder (Zachary Levi), a smooth talking thief who stumbles upon her secluded tower while fleeing from guards. The two strike up a deal and Rapunzel finally climbs down and sets out to find the lights. Along the way, they fall in love, but several extraneous circumstances pull them apart (natch!) until Flynn’s life in in jeopardy and Rapunzel saves him. Of course, they get married and live happily ever after in the end.
Disney has been using this formula to tell fairy tales for 50 years, and they’re damn good at it. The narrative songs had me looking back nostalgically at some of my childhood favorites, like Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, which always introduced characters, outlined the plot and pushed the story forward through melody. The songs are short, simple and serve their purpose flawlessly.
Friendly animal sidekicks are also classic Disney and this film has an adorable chameleon and a comedic horse to keep our main characters company and no doubt sell more than a few toys.
Watching a classic Disney fairy tale done in 3D can be a bit odd at first. Because I grew up in the era of 2D hand-drawn characters in movies like , a world with this much visual depth and detail didn’t seem to fit with the smaller musical numbers. As the film went on, I got used to the enhanced style and really appreciated the way they kept with the traditional character traits they always use, for example, Rapunzel’s giant eyes or Flynn’s square jaw and broad shoulders. It was quite interesting to see these basic forms done in smooth 3D.
All in all, Tangled seems like a perfect bookend for a line of Disney fairytales that have spanned half a century.