Disney has a long history of producing quality animated movies. They’ve stumbled a few times along the way, but their impressive list of bona fide classics that include The Lion King, Fantasia, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bambi and Beauty and the Beast, among others, keeps most viewers optimistic that their next movie could be something special. Their latest release, Tangled, which also happens to be their 50th animated feature, is not the newest animation classic, but it’s a fun, exuberant joyride that will leave a joyous lump in your throat by the end.
Tangled is essentially a modern, expanded update on the classic “Rapunzel” story. The wonderful Mandy Moore voices the girl with long blonde hair who has been locked up in a tower for her entire life by the woman she thinks is her mother, Gothel, voiced by Donna Murphy. Little does she know, she was actually stolen by mother Gothel as a baby because of her magical golden hair that has healing powers when she sings. Gothel has used Rapunzel’s ability to keep her young, but now Rapunzel is turning 18 and wants to venture out into the world. Every year on her birthday, her true mother and father send up hundreds of lanterns into the sky and she wants to experience this up close, oblivious of the fact that the event is meant for her with the hope that she will someday return. When Flynn, voiced by Zachary Levi, stumbles on her tower, she finds her chance to escape as he reluctantly agrees to escort her to the castle where it takes place.
I consider myself a child at heart. I adore animation and Disney movies strike an emotional chord in me today just as strongly as they did when I was young. There’s a certain feeling of happiness I get when these characters burst into song and the ones here are terrific. Led by Mandy Moore’s downright beautiful voice, they all exude warmth and fun and I found myself loving the movie more and more as it went on.
Tangled is not "adult" in the way a Pixar movie with themes and messages that reach out to the older crowd can be. In fact, there didn’t seem to be any themes and messages outside of the most basic to be found anywhere. But whether it’s the music or the gorgeous animation, which is colorful, rich with detail, and pleasing to the eye, Tangled is charming all the way through. It’s funny, cunning and smart, though it doesn’t quite go far enough with its send-up of the classic “Rapunzel” story, opting merely to use the story as a set-up and then go on a completely different adventure.
As with nearly all animated movies these days, Tangled uses 3D to improve on its animation (and to make more money by charging a premium price for the glasses). But unlike films like How to Train Your Dragon or Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, Tangled doesn’t seem to do much with it. While far from bad, the 3D, like most movies in the format, doesn’t enhance Tangled in any significant way, with the exception of one late scene set on a rowboat out on the water.
But 3D is almost never the deciding factor in whether or not a movie is good. With the extra dimension or without it, Tangled works because it doesn’t want to be any more than it is—a sweet, goofy movie for the whole family. There really isn't much to say about it because it is so simple in its purpose. It's that fact that made writing this review so hard, but it’s also what makes a recommendation so easy.
Tangled receives 3.5/5