Disney’s Tangled bears about as much resemblance to the original Rapunzel fairy tale as I do to Angelina Jolie. That’s something one comes to expect from Disney. Be it The Little Mermaid or Aladdin, they take a familiar tale and, well, tangle it a little.
Here, Rapunzel is not the daughter of a beleaguered woman who was craving rampion from a neighboring witch’s garden. She is, instead, a princess born after her pregnant mother is healed by a magical flower. The properties of that flower end up blossoming within little Rapunzel, and she is kidnapped and raised in a tower by Mother Gothel (the fabulous Donna Murphy), a villainous woman who uses the flower’s magic to stay forever young.
Top notch art and Mandy Moore‘s innate sweetness and spunk bring this film to life, really endearing the viewer to Rapunzel. For someone who has been raised in seclusion, Rapunzel is remarkably savvy and self-sufficient. She meets her match in Flynn, a thief who climbs into her tower purely by happenstance. Zachary Levi imbues Flynn with just the right amounts of arrogance and vulnerability. And the computer-generated art is just gorgeous. The colors are so bright. Rapunzel’s wide, green eyes and Flynn’s chiseled features are so vivid that you almost forget they’re cartoons.
I was completely sucked in, investing in Rapunzel, rooting for her and Flynn. Disney always does a stellar job with animal sidekicks, and they certainly don’t break that streak with Tangled. Maximus the horse and Pascal the chameleon are total scene stealers.
This is an entertaining ride, with some tearjerker moments, a stand-out number in Mother Gothel’s “Mother Knows Best,” and a surprising amount of violence and romantic tension. Perhaps that’s why the film garnered a PG rating, where Disney films are usually G. There’s a lot of hilarity with a cast iron skillet, and a shocking moment towards the end. Rapunzel and Flynn fairly crackle and when they finally get their big kissing moment, it does feel a tad bit racier than Eric and Ariel’s chaste peck.
Tangled, for all the twists and turns of Rapunzel’s hair, is a straightforward, classic story about a girl rebelling against her mother in order to follow her dream, and it’s a wonderful reverie for viewers.