Tangled was a fun-filled adventure that had some great animation and good characters, but was seriously lacking in the music department and had a story that was only so-so.
In a Kingdom far, far away there was a special plant that could heal all wounds and keep a person youthful for all eternity. The evil old woman Gothel was the only one on the island who knew where it was, and she kept it for herself so she could remain young forever. But when the Queen was dying while in the final stages of her pregnancy, the King sent out everyone to try and find the plant. Much to Gothel's dismay, they found it and took it out of the ground to create a drink for the Queen. The drink saved her life and soon her daughter Rapunzel was born. But Gothel, angry at losing her lease on life, kidnaps Rapunzel so she could use the magic now found in Rapunzel's hair to keep her alive. Together they live in a hidden tower in the forest. Each year on her birthday, the King and Queen release lanterns in hopes that Rapunzel would see them and return and each year Rapunzel dreams of seeing the lanterns from up close. By chance, a young ruffian named Flynn happens upon the tower while running from the King's guards. He has with him a stolen tiara which Rapunzel takes from him and hides. She'll return it, but only if Flynn escorts her to the castle to see the lanterns. When Gothel realizes what has happened she must do everything in her power to get Rapunzel back to the tower, otherwise her life is doomed. But love is blooming between Rapunzel and Flynn and soon her decides that she is worth more than all the gold he can steal.
Tangled is a nice updating of the old story of Rapunzel with more action and adventure than you might imagine. It stands as Disney's 50th animated film (not counting the Pixar films they've distributed) and it was a worthy successor to those that came before it. But it didn't quite live up to the great films of the modern era of Disney (namely the tremendous quadrilogy of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. The biggest reason? The music. Right now every single one of us could hear the names of those four movies and immediately think of at least one song that stands out, and in most cases more than one. The Disney film is known for coming up with amazing songs that stand the test of time. Tangled doesn't have a signature song. the melodies were fine (if a little reminiscent of some of those older Disney songs) but the lyrics were really bad. I felt like the writer just kind of threw words at a page rather than trying to come up with something with meaning. They didn't help drive the story forward, nor were they any good just as set pieces. Pixar films aren't musical films so you can easily make a movie that doesn't need catchy songs, but if you're going to make a more traditional Disney-esque film, the music has to be top notch, and that was the one aspect of the movie that really let me down. Usually I like the musical moments in Disney films - the opening to The Lion King still gives me goosebumps - but with Tangled they left me with nothing, and reaching for my Ipod to play Angry Birds.
I did like the voices and the characters. Mandy Moore's take on Rapunzel made her very likeable. There was a sadness in her voice when she was with her 'mother' but there was that excitement ready to explode when she finally got to leave the tower. I wouldn't have recognized Zachary Levi as Flynn since I don't watch Chuck and I have no idea what else he's been in, but he played the pompous, yet sensitive, rogue very well. He even has a pretty decent singing voice, hanging in there with an actual recording artist in Moore. The rest of the voice cast was strong as well. I thought the story was decent, for what it's worth, even if there were some major plot holes. I mean, I know the kingdom was on an island, but was there nowhere else in the world Gothel could have run to? Why kidnap a Princess and then keep her a few miles from home? I suppose in this kind of film it doesn't really matter. The animation was as strong as ever. I miss the days of hand-drawn animation because it gave movies a homier feel (like shooting on film vs. digital) but I appreciate the crispness of digital animation. The pace of the movie was pretty good, with there being a lot of focus on the action, and allowing the love story to come along slowly, rather than pushing it down your throat. There is a good amount of humor in the film for both kids and adults, and plenty of visual humor/excitement for everyone.
The 2-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo has a few extras, but it's not nearly as robust as when Disney re-releases their classics on to Blu-ray. There are a couple of deleted scenes and a couple of alternate openings. There's a doc on the making-of the film. And then there's one that I was really looking forward to, that left me rather sad. As I said, this is Disney's 50th animated feature, and there is an extra on here called '50th Animated Countdown' where I thought they'd go through all 50 films in some sort of detail, even if it was only a minute or two each. Instead it was just a quick montage of all 50 films - the whole thing couldn't have lasted more than 2 minutes. I thought Disney missed a real opportunity with this milestone film to really knock it out of the park with a great historical documentary on all their animated classics. Oh well, maybe the 10th Anniversary version of Tangled will have it.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I liked Tangled. It didn't quite live up to the past Disney greats, but it was fun in its own right. I was not a fan of the songs, but all in all it was a worthy successor to the films of the past, just not one that will go down in history like some of the true classics.