Disney’s last feature, The Princess and The Frog was by all accounts a critical and box office success but was deemed by some to be alienating certain members of its audience – namely boys. For its 50th animated feature, Disney needed a big hitter. A film that celebrated all that was best about Disney whilst appealing to as broad an audience as possible. After all, if Toy Story 3 could do it…
Tangled is a retelling of the Grimm fairytale Rapunzel. It starts by giving us a concise back story and then puts us firmly in the action of Rapunzel’s day to day routine. From this point on, it is clear we are going to get a modern, sassy version that is highlighted by Alan Menken’s fabulous score.
The characters are all well developed. From scoundrel to leading man, Flynn Rider has all the charm, one liners and smoulder a romantic lead needs. Mother Gothel feels like she is straight out of a musical such as Chicago. She is sassy, villanous and has the best song in the film (Mother Knows Best – which should have been nominated instead of I See The Light). The film is almost stolen by Maximus, the horse who thinks he is a dog. Amazing what you can do with a character who has no lines and relies on physical comedy. Rare these days and so much fun.
This has the feel of something larger than the usual Disney machine. I can almost imagine this on stage within the next couple of years. The script is well written, doesn’t patronise and is genuinely funny throughout without falling back on repetition or gimmicks. The outcome is heartfelt and the result is surprisingly satisfying.
The name change from Rapunzel to Tangled has been seen by some as a cheap marketing ploy but the fact of the matter is this story has something for everyone and after The Princess and The Frog, whats wrong with ensuring the boys aren’t put off by the title. After all, it was one of Quentin Tarantino‘s favourite movies of 2010!
The main plus point Tangled has in its corner is that there are no big names voicing any of the characters. The reliance on big names to carry animated films these days is that you invariably picture the actor whilst watching the movie. No matter how hard it is, I still picture Tom Hanks whilst watching Toy Story. This isn’t the case here. Whilst Mandy Moore has a profile, she isn’t an overbearing personality that hampers the film. You get to enjoy the film without distractions. Added to which, it’s great to have a truly family orientated film out at a time when family films are desperately needed.
A triumph for Disney’s half century and one of their best.
The trailer for Tangled is here.