Tangled, Disney’s Rapunzel makeover, was a fun afternoon at the movies. The star for me was Zachary Levi (Chuck) as Flynn Rider, the charming rogue who serves as Rapunzel’s guide into the big wide world. He does bravado, uncertainty, comedy, and growing emotion all well; he even sings! Mandy Moore as the princess is just fine, but I expected as much from her.
Zachary Levi as Flynn Rider and Mandy Moore as Rapunzel
I liked the character’s makeover into spunky teen ready to start her adult life; it added a bit more universality to the “princess trapped in the tower” idea. She’s much more of a protagonist than prize here. This works remarkably well as a screwball comedy as well as a fairy tale. Especially once Rapunzel starts swinging her frying pan. (I was afraid she was going to give someone brain damage!) There’s also a touching subplot that brought a tear to my eye just through the skilled animation of particular supporting characters.
Rapunzel protects herself
We watched it in a theater full of kids, which meant that during the quieter, personal moments, they got antsy. They were much more entertained by the action scenes (impressive, although one reminded me of a particular ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park) and comedy bits, of which there are many. Although the music is by Alan Menken (lyrics by Glenn Slater), none of the songs seemed like they’d become standards or pop hits. The first one, during which Rapunzel cleans up her tower, was too closely reminiscent of Enchanted. But they do their purpose, carrying along the emotional impacts.
Rapunzel does some cleaning
Tangled's lovely light effects
KC wished that it would have been done as hand-drawn animation, instead of the 3-D computer generation, because everyone looked a little plastic, but the various floating light effects that make up a big part of the plot probably wouldn’t have been as successful. (Although again, during a water trip sequence, I kept thinking “this is going to be Disney’s next firework show”. I’m so jaded!) I particularly liked Pascal, the pet chameleon. He’s a cute commenter and sidekick, as intended. I haven’t even mentioned the horse that wants to be a dog! I left the theater wanting the DVD, to see the making-ofs and background information.
I’m glad to hear that the movie is doing extraordinarily well. Maybe this will cause the bean-counters to rethink their ideas that female-centered movies don’t sell. (Although more likely, they’ll just decide that the changes they made worked. Did you know this is the first princess movie to be rated PG?) Either way, congratulations to Disney — this is their 50th Animated Feature! You can see the trailers here.