Day: December 2, 2010

Disney’s Back: Tangled

I just wanted to do a quick shout out for Disney’s new movie Tangled.  It goes back to the Disney tradition of telling  fairy tales with princesses.  There are a few modern touches to Tangled, but none of the winking humor to adults seen in the Dreamwork’s pictures.  (I hate that- just be funny for kids and adults).  Tangled tells the old Grimms fairy tale, Rapunzel.  As everyone knows Rapunzel has magic hair so she is abducted by a witch who wants to control the magic.  As part of her control the witch hides Rapunzel in a tower where the witch emotionally manipulates her into believing this is all “for her own protection.”  The character of the witch in Tangled is great. Probably the most icy, manipulative Disney villain ever. (She will teach children to believe in their mother’s love! Does it get more evil then that?).  Her song is also wonderful. Donna Murphy has a great voice.  It is the best villain song since Poor Unfortunate Souls.  Its perfect!

The music is written by Alan Menken who penned such classics as Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid.  I think the music in Tangled holds up to those high standards.  All the performances are also great.  Mandy Moore is wonderful as Rapunzel and her voice is beautiful.

Aside from the big eyes (which aren’t my favorite) the animation is great throughout Tangled.  Particularly beautiful is the scene with the lanterns.  It reminded me of the Kiss the Girl scene in The Little Mermaid.

Tangled also does a good job with the script.  The story is funny and the characters have warmth and believability (even the witch has an icy believability).   There also weren’t too many colorful sidekicks or cute critters.  (Disney’s previous offering the Princess and the Frog got had way too  many sidekicks- and plot lines- too many characters shouting and joking.  The whole picture felt cluttered, loud, and long).

I wonder if Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods was an inspiration for Tangled? While Into the Woods incorporates many fairy tales into its plot, its sly style can be seen throughout Tangled.   The witch is particularly similar to the mother in the play.  The dry wit  is also present in Tangled but as I mentioned without the humor made just for adults.  It is funny, romantic and even has enough adventure to please both boys and girls.  The characters aren’t too smartalicky.  Tangled keeps the feeling of an old fashioned fairy tale that could have been made years ago.   You almost expect there to be a book with a narrator in the beginning like they did in so many of the old Disney’s!  Its been so long since Disney has done a traditional fairy tale so I think Tangled was especially pleasing for me.  I love Disney fairy tales!

It was interesting the other day Anna and several of our friends went to dinner and began chatting about our favorite Disney films.  It was amazing how animated (ironic use of words!) the discussion got.  People feel passionately about Disney because their films  impacted our lives as children.  I will always love The  Little Mermaid because I loved it so much as a girl.  Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast are the only movies I remember seeing as a child.  I’m sure I saw many but those are the only 2 that stick in my mind.  I was mesmerized by them- by the characters, the romance, the animation and of course the music!  I am excited that with Tangled a whole new generation will have a Disney princess experience.  I hope Disney keeps up the good work and doesn’t rely only on the brilliance of  Pixar. (btw, can’t decide which I like better Tangled or Toy Story III?  Tough one!).  What Disney’s are your favorites?  The only one I don’t like is Pinocchio.  The scene where they turn into donkey’s always freaked me out. Anyone else feel that way?

Anyway, go and see it and let me know what you think.  I hope you all like it as much as I did.