A couple days ago, my wife returned the movie Black Swan to our local video store. Since we had plans both Friday evening and Saturday morning, I wasn’t expecting her to rent another movie (because I didn’t think we would have time to watch it). However, she ended up renting the DVD of the Disney movie Tangled.
As I have said before, I’m not a huge fan of renting movies and do prefer waiting until they are available on Netflix rather than paying $5 for a couple of nights. But, after working very hard to find time to watch this film last night, I do think it is one of the rare movies that is worth spending the extra money to see it right away.
The movie is Disney’s re-telling of the story Rapunzel and, when we started to watch this film, I expected it to be very similar to the fairy tale I have heard probably a thousand times. I was pleasantly surprised when this wasn’t the case.
Let’s put it this way. There’s a young girl (she turns 18 in the movie) named Rapunzel. She has long hair and is locked away in a tower by an evil witch (though, I’m not really sure if she technically was a witch since she didn’t seem to have a whole lot of powers). Those are pretty much the only similarities to the storybook.
In the movie, the witch (voiced by Donna Murphy) discovers a magical flower that, with the right spell, can give her eternal youth. However, when the pregnant queen comes down sick, the king’s soldiers recover the flower and use it to cure her. This results in her daughter, Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), having a magical head of hair that has the same healing qualities as the flower did. When the witch discovers this and realizes the hair loses its power when cut, she steals the baby and raises her as her own in a secret tower that goes undiscovered until a fleeing thief, Flynn (Zachary Levi), stumbles upon it and, because Rapunzel has hidden his loot, agrees to take her to the city so she can see a special ceremony that always takes place on her birthday (she doesn’t realize the ceremony is in her honor).
There were a couple things I liked about this movie. First, Rapunzel isn’t like your traditional Disney princess. She needs the thief’s help as a guide but other than that and being a little naive; she is more than capable of sticking up for herself. In other words, she’s more like Jasmine from the movie Aladdin than Aurora from Sleeping Beauty. Being a father of two girls, I like the fact they have a role model like that.
The other thing that really won me over was the cast of secondary characters in this movie. This includes a group of singing thugs who, like everyone else in the film, want to accomplish their dreams (which include playing the piano and being a mime) and a Royal horse that goes above and beyond the call of duty trying to catch Flynn. The horse alone makes this movie worth watching in my opinion.
I think my only real complaint about this film is there really wasn’t that strong of a villain. As I said before, the witch (if that’s what she really was) didn’t have any powers and was more manipulative than anything. And, the others that were chasing them, ranging from the king’s soldiers to Flynn’s ex-partners, were easily defeated. The movie was still good. But, with a stronger villain, there was the potential for it to be better.
Final Opinion: Much like The Princess and the Frog, Disney managed to take a traditional, well-known storybook and, while keeping some of the same elements, turned it into something new. This is a movie I recommend watching even if you don’t have kids to watch it with.
Average Netflix Grade: 4.4 stars out of a possible 5.
My Grade: 5 stars.