November 30, 2010

Movie Review: Tangled (2010)

tangled3_largeDisney looks to the past as it plays with the toys of the present. It is the Mouse House's 50th feature film and while it certainly looks like a modern film, what with the CG animation and 3D processing, its execution is much more reminiscent of the classic era with the Disney Princess subject matter, songs, and anthropomorphic animals. I think it is this "caught between two worlds" feel that holds the movie back from achieving greatness or at least getting into the ballpark with the studio's great films of the past. As it is, the movie is entertaining but never actually takes off. It'll make you smile, but will be soon forgotten.

Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) is kidnapped by the film's villain Mother Goethel (Donna Murphy) as an infant. She is held captive in a tall tower in a secluded part of the forest. Of course, young Rapunzel believes "mother" is protecting her from the outside world who would want to take her epic length hair. So there she stays, dreaming of the world around her with a funny little chameleon sidekick named Pascal.

While the movie begins with the story of a magical flower, a birth, and a kidnapping, the story gets underway not with Rapunzel, but with the male protagonist, much like the focus of the advertising campaign. Rider Flynn (Zachary Levi) is a thief who is on the run from the royal guard having just stolen the crown of the long missing princess. The chase finds him at the foot of the isolated tower I mentioned earlier. He climbs up in hopes of finding refuge. Of course, he runs smack into a young girl afraid of intruders.


Well, they make nice and he becomes her guide as she ventures into the world for the first time. What follows is adventure, action, singing and dancing, betrayal, more action, more adventure, true love, and a happy ending. Whoops. Sorry, didn't mean to give that away. It's not like you couldn't have predicted that yourself. The movie does take the fairy tale framework and make it a paint by numbers game. Still, it is enjoyable as it unfolds.

You know, I did not even know it was a musical before I the movie began. Not that I was disappointed, it helped play up the nostalgia factor. It is too bad it is just nostalgia and not something more substantial. The songs were moderately catchy, there is plenty of energy, and I did find myself smiling, but there was something missing. I cannot quite put my finger on it.


Actually, the biggest feeling I had as I left the theater was how the staging of the songs and many of the scenes felt like a Broadway show. I don't think they would have that hard of a time adapting this to the stage. I actually found it refreshingly simple. There is nothing convoluted about this movie, nothing complicated, nothing terribly hard to get into. It is simply a sweet natured film for the family. I only wish the Flynn beating himself up bit from the trailer was in the movie.

The best parts of the move have to include Pascal the chameleon, Maximus the horse, and the number performed at the pub with the scary unsavory types. If you are looking for a movie to take your family to, this would be a good choice. It is not great, but reminds one of the past while providing a good time for all.

Although, I have to wonder, would this have been better had it been animated by hand? Something tells me yes....


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