The unofficial start for Disney’s apparent third ‘golden age’, Tangled may be better than Frozen but is still leagues behind Disney’s most recent Zootopia.
Tangled is a CGI animated Disney family adventure directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard. It stars Mandy Moore as the fair-tale Rapunzel, a stolen princess with long hair locked in a tower, whose life takes an unexpected direction when dashing rogue Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) arrives on the run from the law.
As an adaption of the classic Rapunzel tale, Tangled is very smart. The first 10 minutes do a perfect job of establishing the reason for her predicament, explaining away everything from the long hair to the princess title in a logical manner. When the plot properly gets started, its not quite as strong as those opening minutes, but still constitutes a rollicking adventure. Its not too predictable, throws some good twists in and clips along at a light pace. Sure, the ending is resolved with a magic ex machina, but beyond that this is a well constructed fairytale re-imagining.
Unfortunately, however, the characters aren’t at the level of the plotting. Moore and Levi are both passable as Rapunzel and Flynn but both have an air of mediocrity and a lack of enthusiasm for their parts. They aren’t bad per-se and have some good writing behind them, but they don’t elevate the characters to classic status like so many other good Disney characters.
The rest of the cast however fares much better. The villain, Mother Gothel (voiced by Donna Murphy) straddles the line between endearing and sinister in equal measures and steals every scene from the two leads. Equally memorable is the main comic-relief character. While far from the only source of humour in this film, the dog-like horse known as Maximus not only comes out of nowhere, but is absolutely hilarious in almost every scene. He sword-fights, follows scents, and is sassy like nobody’s business, and is just awesome.
Now to briefly mention the animation, and as much as I miss the beauty of the classic Disney style, the CGI still holds up very well. The characters are heavily animated to an almost cartoonish level as a clear after-effect of that previous era, but the movie maintains a pleasant style and great animation.
The biggest issue I have with the film other than the two leads is the songs. They’re just not memorable. At all. But outside of that, Tangled is a pleasantly enjoyable animated Disney film. Its not great in any one area and is nowhere near one of Disney’s best, but its still a perfectly solid contribution to the house of mouse’s repertoire.
General Audiences: Recommended
Film Buffs: Recommended