Since everyone said that Disney’s latest “princess movie,” Tangled, was such an awesome film, I decided to give it a go. Anyone claiming that I watched this for my #2 girl-voice crush Mandy Moore (Grey DeLisle, of course, is #1–too bad she was replaced in voicing Gothel) is totally saying it wrong.

The film, all in all was good–it had an engaging plot, beautiful colors, and the proper funnies. But if I expected something as magnificent–no other term for it–as The Lion King, or even as quaint as Aladdin and Anastasia (which, by the way, is not Disney), then Tangled comes across as a huge disappointment. Despite stunning visuals and beautiful Mandy Moore songs, I felt that the film had not much to offer besides teh shinies and role reversals (feisty girl, ditzy guy, badarse horse). Also, the film’s resolution did not satisfy me: I didn’t appreciate Rapunzel and Flynn’s happily ever after narrated in such a cavalierly summarized manner. And the geek in me protested the generic nature of Rapunzel’s kingdom: where was it? As she and Flynn browsed books, a map corresponding our world was shown–so shouldn’t it follow that the kingdom was a real kingdom like France or Germany? (At least Princess Diaries had tried to depict fictional Genovia as situated geographically and politically in the real world.)

But my biggest beef is against Disney’s obsession with animal friends and the overly optimistic “fulfill your dreams!” clause. The latter pervades this movie so much that I cannot help but whine: I’ve seen all this before! And in every post-90s Disney productions! (Of course, Camp Rock and High School Musical were, strictly speaking, Disney Channel–but still.) Moreover, the issue regarding the title change (and the attendant decentralization of the “princess” theme to suit a young male audience) irked me: the decision seemed too commercial. If Disney hopes to recapture its former glory, then I say that it is trying to do so in the wrong way. The Lion King (the first movie, at any rate) worked because it found the delicate balance between adults and children, reality and fantasy. True, there was fun and singing and “Hakuna Matata”, but it also represented very real tragedies, such as death and loss of innocence. Perhaps this delicate balance was Disney’s true magic, that which was the source of the whimsical beauty of its heyday films–and this is what Tangled lacks.

This is not to say, however, that Tangled does not have its moments of brilliance. Amid the parade of good (as in good enough) episodes was the scene where Rapunzel and Flynn were together in a boat even as the King and Queen, their hearts heavy, set the first lantern off–and then the courtyard, then the castle, and then the entire kingdom glowed in light as people expressed their sympathy for the parents who have lost their princess. That scene brought together the perfect song, the perfect colors, and the perfect mood to create the perfect scene, and as Rapunzel saw the lanterns literally fill the night I must admit that I was moved. Really moved.

Perhaps, just perhaps, Tangled could have been a magnificent story if it focused more on that magic, that which I cannot name and yet brought a tear into my eye, instead of the unnecessary swashbuckling and pub confessions. On the flip side, perhaps this is me saying that there is hope still for Disney, after all.

Also, have I already said that awesome Mandy Moore music was awesome?

Rating: 6/10 (Fun and Enjoyable)

2 Responses to “Tangled”

  1. Ms. Maio Sud Says:

    Forgive me for submitting my (disasterous) comment without proof-reading it first. Here is how it was supposed to read:
    I will never understand why so many people think that The Lion King was so great. I HATED it. It was BORING, boring, & did I mention BORING? Not to mention very ANNOYING at times- especially the whole “Hakuna Matada” craze when the movie came out. VOMITOUS. Tangled wasn’t the greatest, but it was VERY GOOD. It was so VISUALLY STUNNING that it didn’t even matter it had some plot flaws, & the one thing I agree with you on- the boat scene- was SO BEAUTIFUL & MOVING it actually took my breath away (& I get the same feeling every single time I see it- which has been over 10 times already- I have a 7 yr. old daughter). The song was so moving, I couldn’t believe how absolutely beautiful Mandy Moore’s voice sounded! (Even the guy who played Flynn Rider sounded great!) I thought Mandy’s voice sounded great in all the songs in fact, but this song was exceptional- sheer perfection. I’ve never been a fan of Mandy’s as I despise bubbly pop music & never found her voice particularly great, but she really does sound amazing & her vocals were outstanding in this movie- she also did a great job with Rapunzel’s voice & character too. The Lion King gave me no such feeling- except for extreme boredom & annoyance. So on the whole I really liked Tangled, it wasn’t perfection, (but really- what Disney movie is?) but the stunning visuals, color, overall beauty of the film, & Mandy Moore’s performance for me makes Tangled a much better & way more entertaining animated Disney film than The (dull & boring) Lion King. In my humble opinion… ;o)

    • Well, if you’re going to claim The Lion King was a boring movie, please indicate what scenes seem to drag on indefinitely without any sort of purpose. As for “Hakuna Matata,” the idea in the movie is to 1) provide a refreshing break from the seriousness of Mufasa’s murder, and 2) more importantly, to present Simba with a choice: to spend his life in idyll/idle tranquility, or to return and fulfill his duty as heir. As for the craze after the film’s debut… well, de gustibus non est disputandum.

      Moore’s voice is good, and the visual in Tangled *is* superb, so in itself I must say that, in itself, the film was a success. But… I rest my case.

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