For a movie named “Tangled,” Disney’s new animation feature is surprisingly smooth. The characters are beautifully rendered, as are several very moving scenes, which I’m sure Orion has emphasized enough. Princess Rapunzel has been kidnapped for the healing powers of her luscious blond hair, which may not be cut, and thus has lived her whole life in isolation, with only her ‘mother’ Gothel as a company. Of course, she has an adorable chameleon named Pascal as a sidekick, but she spends most of her time struggling to fill it up. Boredom is certainly a familiar feeling for the age-group this movie is targeted at, and this movie surely succeeds at curing it.
Going in, I didn’t realize “Tangled” was going to have singing; it’s been a long time since I saw a musical picture. However, the singing felt right at place; Mandy Moore did a surprisingly nice job of giving our princess her voice, as did all the other members of the cast. It’s actually very refreshing to get a song in the middle of a movie, to give it texture and a break from plain old speech. Gothel’s voice actress especially – Donna Murphy – gives an excellent performance of the line, “Mother knows best.” Even from the bright beginnings of the movie, there is a hint of menace in her voice; by the end, it has fully emerged as a beast, rasping its way to dominance.
The movie overall was adorable, pulling in an expressive horse, plenty of ragamuffins, and of course a dose of true love. Flynn Rider, a daring thief whose real name turns out to be Eugene Fitzherbert, stumbles upon Rapunzel and the two are whisked off through the forest in a quid pro quo relationship, alone together in a “Shrek”-like recipe for interaction. It’s cute stuff, and well set up.
At one point – to me, the climax of the movie – Rapunzel and Eugene sit on a rowboat, watching the sky fill up with paper lanterns (kong ming deng, if you’re familiar with them). Eugene surprises Rapunzel with their own set of paper lanterns, and this simple gesture is unbelievably touching. The entire scene (the same one Orion has gone on and on about) is so realistically rendered; the timing is carefully considered, so that it is perfect. In what could be a scene on scale of the hundreds of plants from “Curse of the Golden Flower,” lanterns outshine the stars with their fiery magnificence.
Overall – beautiful, wholesome, sweet; it’s no “Beauty and the Beast,” but it’s a hell of a lot better than some of the other stuff Disney has been putting out lately. See it to get a lift from the grind of finals week!
I have often scoffed at CGI, rejecting the visual experiences of crowd-pleasers like Avatar as gimmicky. Movies like Avatar, which use CGI in tandem with live-action, always struck me as silly. It was only when CGI was set apart, when the characters involved were caricatures of reality, that I enjoyed the film.
Tangled is by no means attempting to be realistic. Rapunzel’s eyes are half of her face, for crying out loud. But there is one scene that blurs the line between reality and dreams, a scene so beautiful I cried openly at its heart wrenching emotion. This scene also includes a song that may very well edge out “A Whole New World” for best Disney duet.
But before I try to describe this beautiful scene, a quick synopsis: Tangled is a creative interpretation of the classic tale of Rapunzel in which Rapunzel is abducted by a witch, not in exchange for some lettuce, but because she is imbued with the healing and rejuvenating powers of a magic golden flower. As an 18-year-old woman, Rapunzel longs to see the world outside of her tower, and one sight particularly interests her. Every year on her birthday, she sees a mass of bright lights in the sky, and she cannot help but feel like these lights have special significance for her. Tangled up in her quest (haha, do you see the pun?) to seek out the bright lights is the mischievous and notorious thief, Flynn Rider, who unfortunately happens upon the tower in which Rapunzel lives. Throw in a malevolent but surprisingly non-magical evil step-mother and a war stallion and we’ve got ourselves a fine tale.
[DO NOT READ THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH IF YOU FEEL THAT YOUR EXPERIENCE MAY BE NEGATIVELY IMPACTED BY IT]
Though this film might rub off as overly sweet to some, though the ending is a little tacked on, one truly beautiful scene makes the whole movie worth it all. I want you to understand; when I say beautiful I mean beautiful, not pretty, or cool. I mean beautiful, I mean that I saw a glimpse of true beauty, of true emotion in this film. The floating lights that Rapunzel sees each year is a festival held in her memory. After a day of memory, the whole city-kingdom lights a lantern and lets it loose on the winds in the hopes that the princess will see the lights and find her way home. Right before the king and queen light the first lantern and send it into the night, we are granted a glimpse of the frustration and sorrow in the king’s heart. We watch as he revisits 18 bitter years without his daughter, we watch as with hope he lights a lantern and sends it into darkness. And then the whole city lights up—what we witness can only be called magic. I cannot describe to you the emotions that ran through that scene, and I don’t really wish to. It’s something you have to experience for yourself.
Let others talk about the cute and very funny moments in this film. I need only to lift up this one example in order to justify my rating. This movie makes my all-time favorite list.