With his stolen bounty in his satchel, charming bandit Flynn Rider (voice of Zachary Levi) climbs up a tall, mysterious tower to hide out. But he is taken hostage by Rapunzel (voice of Mandy Moore), a beautiful girl with 70 feet of magical, golden hair, whose controlling Mother (Donna Murphy) has kept her tower-bound for many years. Rapunzel strikes a deal with the handsome thief, who reluctantly agrees to take her into the Kingdom on her 18th birthday to watch the floating lanterns released into the sky. Every year on the same day, the lanterns are released by the King and Queen, as a symbol of hope to find their kidnapped Princess daughter.
Review by Louise Keller:
Dreams come true in this dazzling 3D Disney animation with its fresh, imaginative twist on the age-old fable, bringing delectible humour, hummable songs and a heartfelt story to vivid life. There's a swashbuckling thief, thugs with redeeming qualities, a theatrical villainess who advocates 'Mother Knows Best', a white horse with attitude and a feisty young princess whose long tresses of golden hair harbour a magical secret. It all starts with superb storytelling, a top voice cast and an appealing irreverent tone, which combined with traditional hand-drawn animation, immerses us in an exquisite reality.
Just like The Princess and The Frog delighted us with its unique slant on things, so too does Tangled, with its well developed surprising characters and Alen Menken's catchy, melodic songs. Mandy Moore is perfectly cast as Rapunzel, the kidnapped princess who is wondering when her life will begin, after years of brushing the 70 feet of her golden hair that trails like a train behind her. Long hair can be useful we learn, as we see it used as in innovative ways: as a rope, a tool, an escape route and guiding light. In her singing and delivery, Moore combines girl-next-door sweetness with feisty spirit. Donna Murphy as the controlling villainous mother who taps into Rapunzel's magic as her personal fountain of youth is a combo of theatrical evil and feign sweetness ('Don't be a dummy; come with Mummy', goes the song).
A frying pan is useful as a weapon, Rapunzel discovers when the dashing thief Flynn Ryder (Zachary Levi, excellent) climbs into the tall tower she calls home, tucked away by a waterfall and hidden by austere cliffs. I chuckled every time Maximus, the scene stealing white horse appeared on screen. He doesn't talk, but his facial expressions, body language and actions are hilarious. Also cute is Pascal, Rapunzel's pet chameleon, who turns blue when sad and pink when love is in the air. Speaking of which, the scene in which Rapunzel and Flynn watch the lantern filled night sky (reflected in the water below) from their romantic gondola vantage point, is a visual highlight. There are many high points and surprises, including the large pub thug with the evil look and metal hook, who dreams of becoming a concert pianist.
This is a delightful film for all ages - packed with wry humour, music, action and plenty of heart. It's a worthy bearer of the Disney name.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Brought comfortably closer to 21st century sensibilities, the Brothers Grimm fairy tale about a golden haired princes oddly named Rapunzel, is ideal material for Walt Disney's 50th animated feature. It combines all the necessary elements of classic fare, from a golden haired princess, an evil step mother, a handsome adventurer facing an almost insurmountable challenge - and lots of entertaining characters.
Perfectly voice cast with Mandy Moore as Rapunzel and Zachary Levi as Flynn the thieving rascal who finds redemption in her company, the filmmakers set about having seriously great fun. So much so that the directing duo of Natan Greno and Byron Howard themselves take on the voices of guard/thug #1 and #2 respectively. Also notable is Donna Murphy as Mother Gothel, the ancient hag who wants to keep Rapunzel's magic hair under her control forever - because it keeps her looking young. (Contempo moral massage: discuss.)
Although not given any lines, the other great support comes from the white stallion of the Royal Guard who is intent on recapturing the stolen crown that belongs to the kidnapped princess ... our very own Rapunzel, though she doesn't know it for most of the movie.
Casting his large, benevolent shadow over the entire enterprise is Executive Producer John Lasseter, the chief creative force at Pixar, which is now part of the so called Mouse House (the Walt Disney Studios). The screenplay sparkles, the animation is amazing and the 3D is delightfully utilised, with humour and warmth oozing from every frame. (Much credit to the 35 year veteran of Disney animation, Glen Keane, a master of the medium.)
The occasional musical numbers are a far cry from the numbingly saccharine material that you might expect; especially so in the fiery number from Mother Gothel, Mother Knows Best, as theatrical as is her character and a superb fusion of music and lyrics. I Have a Dream is another showstopper, and it's not delivered as you might expect from the title. Imagine a drinking hole full of low life thugs and bruisers, in whose hearts are dreams you wouldn't expect. The song sits cleverly between its potential for mush and its potential for self parody, but grounded on real feelings. Most impressive.
Tangled tells the Grimm old tale with verve and energy, infusing with the sunlight that's at the core of the story itself, and turning Rapunzel into the very model of a modern miss. The story has a muted moral, which is handled with sensitivity as the story comes to its close. Children will certainly be engaged by the film, and adults will find it a remarkably sophisticated work which treats its child audiences with respect.
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MANDY MOORE INTERVIEW
VOICES: Zachary Levi, Mandy Moore, Donna Murphy, M. C. Gainy, Brad Garrett, Ron Perlman
PRODUCER: Roy Conli
DIRECTOR: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard
SCRIPT: Dan Fogelman (fairy tale by Grimm brothers)
EDITOR: Tim Mertens
MUSIC: Alan Menken (lyrics by Glenn Slater)
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Douglas Rogers
RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 6, 2010