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)