'Tangled' (dir/s: Nathan Greno/Bryon Howard, 2010/2011), Cert: PG
The giants at Disney are now calling it a day with their Princess features. After 49 films, they have made one more to make a perfect 50, and this is that film. ‘Tangled’ is a re-telling of the Brothers Grimm’s classic ‘Rapunzel’ and is now the most expensive animated feature, and indeed film ever made with a budget of $260 million (more expensive than ‘Avatar’ (2009)), so Disney have given audiences an extremely high expectation of this movie, but can they go out with a bang, or will it merely fizzle out?
Blonde and beautiful Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore) is locked away in her tower where she’s spent all her life. Her evil ‘mother’ Gothel (voiced by Donna Murphy) claims it’s for her own good and safety but Rapunzel wants to live. 18 year old girls want to see the world and find themselves. Known for her famously long hair, she is made to suffer in solitude whilst her mother flees each day to take care of business. Every year on her birthday, an array of sky lanterns swallow the air and take her breath away. She believes they are meant for her and is desperate to witness them from outside her bedroom window. When she stumbles across a thief, who happens to be hiding in her room, she bargains with him and asks him to take her to the lantern show. His name is Flynn Rider (voiced by Zachary Levi); a brave and cocky young man who whisks Rapunzel away so she can truly find out who she is.
Disney has that special touch when it comes to re-telling fairy tales. They twist and tweak each part to make what starts out as a fairly dark and destructive story into a family friendly extravaganza laced with beautiful imagery, hilarious jokes and memorable songs, and they have hit the ball out of the park with ‘Tangled’.
Everything seems perfect; the animation is jaw-dropping, the characters are emotional, side-splitting and dimensional, and the story is as timeless as the Grimm’s original. This is a truly stunning feat of animated filmmaking, and they deserve a great pat on the back, as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Animated for which they didn’t get.
|Still from 'Tangled' (dir/s: Nathan Greno/Bryon Howard, 2010/2011)|
‘Tangled’ finds that lovely balance between classic and ironic storytelling; all the original cogs are there and continue to turn; a romance ensues and challenges have to be overcome, but then there’s a fresh approach with witty dialogue and fun poked at certain ideologies of characters and people of that era. In a way, little parts feel like ‘Shrek’ (2001) in how they express comedy through traditional folklore, but ‘Tangled’ never tries to enforce comedy for adults like the DreamWorks picture. It understands comic timing and expression which makes it funny for all ages without having to be risqué to keep older viewers entertained.
This film is also in 3D which I didn’t see, I watched it in 2D and found it just as enriching and incredible as I’m sure the 3D version was meant to be. I can imagine certain scenes being magical in 3D such as the goosebump-enducing lantern sequence but it was still utterly beautiful in two dimensions. As I said earlier, the songs are wonderful too making this modern picture feel like a true Disney classic, and I’m certain in a few years time, many will be referring to it as just that.
I found the voice casting rather odd considering how big the film’s budget was but every cast member provides perfectly suited and great voicing. Moore is a very capable singer and she truly expresses that through these brilliantly original songs. Murphy sounds perfectly chilling as she sings her songs too making Mother Gothel a traditional and proper Disney villain.
For me however, the stars of this movie didn’t sing, in fact they didn’t even talk. They are Pascal the Chameleon and Maximus the Horse. Usually Disney animals talk and provide verbal comedy but these two reminded me of the best silent comedian of all, Gromit. The pair has such gorgeous facial expressions and mannerisms that left me and fellow viewers in stitches. They are absurdly charming, heart-warming and will leave you consistently smiling. These two can provide more laughs in one look that Adam Sandler can in an entire movie.
So yes, Disney has really ended an era with a bang, and a mighty big one at that. ‘Tangled’ is a modern masterpiece and other animated films this year are going to have to be incredible to be better than this.
A perfect film for all audiences of all ages. An exquisite movie that blossoms in beauty, creativity and that classic Disney magic.
By Chris Haydon