Directed by: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard
Starring: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy
Last year at some point, I went through and watched all 49 Disney “classics” in a marathon style that lasted about two weeks. Because of that, I both felt like it was my duty to see Tangled when it came out, but I also had no desire whatsoever to actually watch the thing. Well, I guess at least I’m glad I got it out of the way.
Tangled is a take on the story of Rapunzel, the girl with the ridiculously long hair. In this film, through a strange happenstance, she was born with magical blonde hair that glows and can heal people when she sings. Ohh-kay… She’s got a witch lady who stole her as a baby (she was a princess, of course) and locked her up in a tower so she could remain young forever, but once she becomes a precocious pre-teen and meets a suave bandit guy, she heads out to the world to discover her true heritage and so on and so forth.
This isn’t a bad movie, necessarily, but probably the biggest thing it was missing was the slightest bit of artistic style. The backgrounds were lush and extravagant, but the characters were all very bland looking, like plastic dolls, and they never once actually made the shots look dynamic or interesting in any way. Also, and this was very surprising to me, they didn’t actually make Rapunzel’s hair a focus point artistically at all, in fact, they did their damndest to completely ignore the sorts of troubles that having fifty feet of hair might cause, instead of making it an interesting character trait.
The one exception to this was, as always, the villain. I actually really enjoyed the villain in this film (though, I’ll be honest, I can’t even remember her name and I just watched this last night). She’s not completely evil or anything, just greedy, and you can tell she actually cares about Rapunzel, and not even entirely because of her magic hair. She feels more like a very strict mother most of the time, and that opens up a more realistic dynamic between her and her “daughter” (unfortunately, it’s not really explored).
Basically it all comes down to the fact that there were some good ideas in here and it could’ve very easily been a lot better, but the oppressive homogenization to make it look and feel like the way Disney assumes their films have to be turns it into just this mindless and boring thing that happens. I guess someone needs to make the big soulless movies, if only to inspire the little guys to do something different.