When I was younger, I watched a lot of Disney movies (this may be why I am a little “eccentric”). Each year Disney would release a new film and I looked forward to it with eager anticipation. Then, after my family purchased our first VHS player, I watched the videos–each in their large, plastic case–so often that the tapes were worn to the point where no amount of tracking adjustments could remove the flickering bars of static (*note: those too young to know about VHS really are missing out on the joys of this medium and will just have to trust me here). Those were the golden years of Disney—before the ever-blowing hair of Pocahontas, before Tarzan used the jungle as his giant skatepark, and before the Emperor decided he was in need of a new groove (let’s be honest, who isn’t?).
No, those were the glory days of Disney. People sang “Hakuna Matata” in the streets. Foxes were adept at archery. Mermaids could live in the people world. Heck, even tea sets could talk (and for some reason, tea pots always sound like Angela Lansbury). As I hit my teenage years, I started to seek out the hidden messages in the films. Urban legend or not, it was still fun to try to find the “extremely happy” minister and similar gems. It made me feel like I was part of an inside joke, instead of being the person who wondered what everyone was laughing at. But dark days lie ahead. What should have not have been forgotten was lost—wait, wrong franchise….You see where I’m going with this, right? I was not a fan of some of the post-Lion King Disney films, thought I watched a bunch of them.
And so, after being disappointed by many an animated 2D movie, I decided to give Tangled a try.
Tangled is a retelling of the classic Rapunzel tale (damn, I keep wanting to write Rumpelstiltskin. What’s wrong with me?). This latest Disney princess (voiced by Mandy Moore) was stolen from her royal parents at birth by an evil witch. The old hag locks Rapunzel in a tall tower in a secluded valley (far, far away), raising her as her own in order to cash in on the girl’s magical hair (I foresee a Vidal Sassoon tie-in here). However, the secret tower is discovered by the dashingly handsome thief, Ryder (voiced by Zachary Levi of Chuck fame). You see, Rapunzel really wants to see the world and since she can kick Ryder’s ass, she coerces him to take her to a festival of lights while her “mother” is away. As can be expected, the duo are pursued by several factions, sing a few songs, and fall in love.
“But wait, this sounds awfully familiar,” you might say. True. In fact, it is surprisingly similar to practically every other Disney film. But, like the “classic” Disney movies, it works. I didn’t go in to this movie expecting a groundbreaking piece or something that would forever change the way I watch princess movies (boy, is that a phrase I never thought I would hear myself say….er, write). And to be quite honest, I’m OK with that. Yes, I understand that intellectually and thematically many people find Disney to be problematic, but I’m not touching that today. I watched Tangled with the intention of being entertained and it delivered what I wanted.
The look of the film is reminiscent of old school Disney. In a way, there is something very comfortable about this. One could look at a scene (or even a still) from Tangled and know, just by sight alone, what franchise created the movie. Yes, I realize it’s another form of branding, but when I watch a Disney movie, it’s cool when it actually looks like a Disney movie (I’m talking to you, Dinosaur). In short, the movie looked like a fairy tale; which is perfect because that is exactly what it was.
Also, I found the story to be fun. In some ways, Tangled put a modern spin on the old tale. The humor was updated and thus would be more appealing to today’s audience. Unlike some other animated features, I have the feeling that Tangled would entertain young and old alike. And while there are a few musical numbers in the film, they didn’t seem to slow down the plot. I have to admit that I’ve been known to fast forward through musical numbers in movies (yes, and even in Glee—gasp!!) if they bore me (*before you hate on me, I actually do love music; I just have high standards, quirky though they may be).
I guess the long and short of it is: I thoroughly enjoyed Tangled. I had fun while I watched it and even found it to be cute. Now, I am aware that there are certain stigmas attached to a person who openly admits they like a Disney film, but that is a risk I am willing to take. I liked Tangled. So there. I feel ever so slightly empowered admitting that. Now maybe if I start singing, my pets will help me clean the house and perhaps make me a gown….
Have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day! Sorry, it just seemed right to say that at the time…..
Netflix Queue: 485