Review: Tangled


Directed by: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard
Written by:Dan Fogelman
Starring: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Ron Perlman, Jeffrey Tambor, Brad Garrett
Released: January 6, 2011
Grade: B+

Walt Disney produced America’s first animated feature film in 1937.  Based on the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was a tremendous success.  It is regarded as one of the best animated films of all time.

A lot has changed over the past 73 years but Walt Disney Animation Studios (as it is known today) has stuck to its winning formula.  They have taken iconic stores and brought them to life on the big screen for both kids and adults to enjoy.  There are too many examples to name.

Tangled is a milestone in that it’s the 50th animated feature film within the Walt Disney Animated Classic series.  It too is based on a fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm – that of Rapunzel.  If you’re wondering why Disney didn’t call the film Rapunzel, apparently they were worried that it wouldn’t appeal to a young male audience.  Doesn’t make any sense to me but ok, I’ll go with it.

For those unfamiliar with the story, Rapunzel is a young lady who has spent her entire existence living atop a tall tower.  She has often wanted to leave home and see the world but her mother, Gothel, has other ideas.  She tells Rapunzel that it’s too dangerous and that she must stay hidden within the tower for her own safety.

What Rapunzel doesn’t know is that her mother is pure evil.  In fact, she’s not even her mother at all.  Rapunzel was born a princess to a nearby kingdom but was kidnapped by Gothel just after she was born.  Why you ask?  Rapunzel’s hair contains amazing powers and provided it is never cut, Gothel can use it to remain eternally youthful.

Upsetting the apple cart is a mischievous thief by the name of Flynn Ryder.  After stealing a valuable crown from the castle, he flees into the forest and comes across the well-hidden tower.  It’s a little rocky at first (evidenced by a frying pan to the head) but Flynn and Rapunzel become close.  With Gothel away on a short trip, the two sneak out and go in search of adventure.

I liked Tangled but I wouldn’t consider it in the upper echelon when ranking Disney’s best.  I saw the film almost a month ago and I struggle to remember many of the details when putting together this review.  My point is that it’s a nice way to spend two hours but it’s not that memorable.  It lacks the emotion that I remember from so many other animated classics.

Perhaps others feel the same way.  Tangled has battled its way to just $144m at the box-office in the United States over the past 5 weeks.  That’s well below what’s you’d expect from a Disney film.  It looks even worse when you compare it against its budget of $260m (making it the most expensive animated film ever made).  Maybe they should have stuck with Rapunzel as the title!

I feel like I’m being overly harsh because there’s still a lot to like about Tangled.  There’s a nice balance of action, suspense and comedy.  A feisty horse named Maximus will leave plenty of audience members smiling.  The quality of animation is superb… although I suggest you choose the 2D option if you’re looking to save a few dollars.  The extra effects aren’t worth it.  Damn!  I’ve just finished on another negative.  Perhaps we’ll just leave it at that.