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Movie Review -Tangled

Tangled follows the story of a girl name Rapunzel (Mandy Moore). The basis for it is an old, familiar story by the Brothers Grimm, but this tale has a few twists of its own. Before Rapunzel was born, a special flower made from the sun grew on the hillside of the Kingdom. It was found by a selfish woman who hid it for herself because it had healing powers. However, when the Queen of the Kingdom grows ill during childbirth, everyone sets out to look for it and eventually finds it. They distill it in water and give it to the Queen who becomes well and gives birth to a baby girl named Rapunzel with a nice head of blond hair. Apparently, the power from the plant makes its way into Rapunzel through her hair. Discovering that she cannot simply cut off a lock of Rapunzel’s hair and keep for herself to stay young and healthy, the old woman kidnaps Rapunzel and locks her away in a tower, raising her as if she were her own child. In the 18 years that follow, they develop a weird, passive-aggressive relationship that will surely cause emotional problems for Rapunzel for the rest of her life. Her mother repeatedly tells her she loves her and while we the audience realize she really only means Rapunzel’s hair, Rapunzel believes it and loves her mother deeply. This is mainly what keeps Rapunzel in the tower. That and her faux-mother’s repeated dire warnings about the evils of the outside world. However, Rapunzel has always noticed that on her birthday strange lights float in the sky. These are not simply stars, as her faux-mother wants her to believe, but actually lanterns that the whole kingdom releases every year on her birthday in remembrance of the lost Princess. Rapunzel’s one dream is to see these stars up close, so when a thief, Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) finds himself hiding from palace guards in her tower, she holds her own against him well (very well) and hides his satchel of stolen goods (her crown). She makes a deal with him that she will give him back his bag if he takes her to see the lights before her mother returns from a trip. He agrees and what follows is a nice adventure-love story.

The beauty of Tangled is that it doesn’t succumb to Shrek-like pop culture references ever. It seems to be trying to recapture a bit of the old Disney spirit of romantic tales, including singing (which took me a bit by surprise). But it also tries to update some of the old ideals.
Instead of falling in love at first sight, the story actually takes the time to develop some rapport and chemistry between the two leads. Most of the time, they’re actually talking to each other - about their lonely childhoods, about lost dreams, about growing up and facing the world. The movie does a very good job of setting up a love story between these two, even throwing in some genuinely romantic lines and very grown up ideas about how terrifying going after something you want can be for many reasons, including it not living up to your expectations, or not knowing where to go after you’ve accomplished the only thing you wanted in life and experienced your dream (Flynn’s advice: “you find a new dream”). It’s also interesting that this is essentially Rapunzel’s story and not Flynn’s. She’s not some damsel in distress who just needs to be saved by her true love, nor is she some Mary-Sue perfection. She’s just a normal girl (as normal as she can be) who wants to see what the world is like. Near the end, when Flynnn leaves her for a moment and she’s standing on the shore in the fog, clutching onto the helm of his boat in fear, she’s as real a person as any other character in a movie, despite being animated.

Throughout the story, the characters save each other in interesting and admirable ways and you never feel like the movie is trying to expound some overly idealized sense of romance in where the girl must give up everything to be with a man or that all she needs is true love to save her. They do save each other, but because they are in love - not just because of true love. One’s an idea, one’s a reality and this movie seems more aware of that than most other Disney movies. The ending is actually surprising and emotional, though maybe a bit too suspenseful for sensitive children, so be prepared for worried questions and crying if you’re child is easily affected by drama. It can also be a bit intense in that it really has the tone at times of the old Brothers Grimm tale.

As to the moral - I’m not sure there was one. The movie, thankfully, didn’t seem to be glorifying defying your parents because they’re really just bad, evil people who want to keep you from fun things because the woman really wasn’t her mother. Though perhaps the movie was trying to say that, if you’re in a relationship where the other person isolates you and acts possessive of you, even if they claim it’s for your own good, they’re probably not really looking out for your best interests but are really selfish. Also, yes, there are some bad people in the world, but there are also good people and as long as you have some of those good people by your side, and stay a good person yourself, you might be okay.

Overall, I 5/5 and I recommend it to everyone. You can buy Tangled on DVD or Blu-ray from our online store.

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February 26, 2011 at 7:48 AM

I do remember the story of the Queen that has long hairs. I have heard it from my mother in my childhood. It was my favorite bed time story. Now that the movie has been made on this story, I can't wait more to watch it.

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