My kids and I saw a sneak preview of the new movie Tangled, and I’m thrilled to say that Disney has once again produced a movie that I enjoyed as much as my kids did. The story revolves around Rapunzel and her seventy feet of magical hair. She’s spent her life trapped in a tower, being “protected” from the world by Mother Gothel. Yearning to be free and experience life outside of the only home she’s ever known, Rapunzel embarks on an adventure with a dashing criminal, Flynn Rider. Add a stolen tiara, a determined horse, a couple of thugs, a very protective pet chameleon, and a kingdom missing its princess, and you’ve got all of the ingredients for a beautiful adventure with some gorgeous songs and a lot of laughs.
Tangled is a 3D, CGI movie, but don’t expect soulless faces and gimmicky special effects. It’s a lush, expressive, visually stunning movie that makes you forget it’s in 3D. Believe me, that’s a good thing. Coming close on the heels of Toy Story 3, another great example of how studios should use 3D, Tangled draws you in with its depth and detail, and never slaps you in the face with any “Hey, look at me, I’m in 3D!” moments. Rapunzel’s hair is almost a character itself, and I shudder to think how many Disney animators went to the loony bin making it look so realistic.
Mandy Moore is just perfect as the voice of Rapunzel, both speaking and singing, and Zachary Levi conveys both unbridled confidence and tender longing as Flynn. Broadway powerhouse Donna Murphy annoyed me a bit when speaking Mother Gothel’s lines, and I can’t quite figure out if it was her interpretation, or just the way the character was written. But it doesn’t really matter, because she made up for it completely with her show-stopping number “Mother Knows Best.”
The supporting characters are all perfectly cast, but my favorite didn’t even talk: Maximus, the royal horse who takes it upon himself to hunt down Flynn. I get annoyed easily by talking animals, even when animated, so I’m very happy that Disney chose to leave all of the animals in Tangled mute, save for their natural animal sounds.
The best news for Disney is that my nine-year-old son loved the movie. My six-year-old daughter was a sure thing (Disney? Princess? Singing? Hair? No question she’d love it), but based on the commercials I’ve been seeing Disney is really hoping the boys show up to theaters too – they play up the adventure aspects of the movie much more than the romance.
We’ve actually seen Tangled twice so far (the first time was a fascinating early screening with a full story and score, but with the animation in different stages of completion), and my kids were riveted both times. And I sobbed in several places, both times. I laughed, I cried, I was moved…and you will be too.
Article first published as Movie Review: Tangled on Blogcritics.
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