‘Tangled’ Review

Published 3 years ago by , Updated December 19th, 2010 at 8:36 pm,

TANGLED One Sheet Tangled Review

Tangled is a perfect pick for the family over the holiday weekend, a movie that includes all of the essential ingredients of a cherished Disney classic, with an infusion of all of the best that updated technology and contemporary humor have to offer. This film truly does deliver the best of both worlds.

At its core, Tangled is a tale as timeless as it is timely. It is a story of self discovery, flight from the nest, and coming of age – it’s also a film that speaks to anyone who has faced, or is facing, the trials and tribulations of growing up.

The movie focuses on Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore), who is cusping on her 18th birthday and has never seen the world beyond the tower that the duplicitous Mother Gothel (voiced by Donna Murphy) spirited her away to as a baby.

Rapunzel has been gifted with a mane of magical hair, which Gothel needs in order to maintain her youth and avoid the inevitable perils of mortality. The hair has been imbued with the essence of our very source of life, the sun. When Rapunzel’s mother, the Queen, was pregnant, she became deathly ill, so all in the kingdom were sent forth to find a cure. What they found was a flower that had been nourished by one drop of pure sunlight.

Gothel had been using the flower to stay young and alive, but it was taken to the Queen for healing and the Queen passed the healing magic to her daughter. So Gothel stole the child and raised her as her own, determined to never again lose the source of her youth.

Second Trailer for Disneys Tangled Tangled Review

Rapunzel experiences a traditional “awakening” (in a sense) when the dashing Flynn Rider (voiced by Zachary Levi), sails into her tower and illustrates the vitality and life that is out there in the world just beyond her window; that awakening is more of a mutual exchange in this film.

Flynn and Rapunzel awaken each other to who they really are, and what they truly desire. Thus, it is a romance born of the most ideal circumstances: two people who bring out the best in each other, rather than a traditional “one needs the other” arrangement.

Long gone is the traditional “damsel in distress” tale. For decades now, films have taken the archetype of the shrinking violet and turned it on its head; in most live-action films she is now – more often than not – replaced by a female who is instead shrieking and violent. Certainly, fairytales are often “untangled” and retold with an eye on contemporary tastes (Shrek being the most notable and successful example). What is lovely about Rapunzel is that she maintains the innocence and sweetness of a traditional Disney princess, and yet represents the independent spirit and ingenuity of a modern heroine.

What is also fascinating about this film is that the villainess (Gothel) masks her villainy in the guise of love. She does not have the wealth of Cruella De Ville, nor the magic of Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent. She is only equipped with an arsenal of emotional manipulation and self-esteem grenades, designed to keep Rapunzel afraid of the world and herself. As such, she is an amazing archetype for the devouring mother that many women must (to greater or lesser degrees) face in order to get free, and fully come into their own.

tangled movie still 1 Tangled Review

The character of Flynn Rider provides much of the humor in the film, as well as the swashbuckling adventure. As I said in my interview with Zachary Levi, Flynn has more in common with a G rated Han Solo, than a bland Prince Charming. His (still somehow innocent) cynicism and Rapunzel’s intelligent naivete  give them both somewhere to travel as characters. Their voyage ultimately leads them to themselves, and each other.

Tangled is also full of fresh enchanting characters who don’t talk: Maximus, a dog-like horse who is as “dogged” and relentless in his pursuit of justice as he is loving, loyal, and physically reprimanding; and Pascal, an expressive chameleon who is always ready to gently or forcefully guide Rapunzel, and educate Flynn as needed.

Finally, the King and Queen, Rapunzel’s original parents, bring the “one tear, for every laugh” that Walt Disney prescribed for his movies.

In terms of story, Tangled successfully translates Grimm’s classic tale of a young woman trapped in a tower into a fast moving, sprawling, and charmingly comedic adventure; one that is as emotionally evocative and archetypal as any of the beloved Disney tales. Writer Dan Fogelman (Bolt, Cars) has crafted a script that is alive with rich characters, an accessible sense of irony, and an abiding tale with a twenty-first century twist.

Kingdom lanterns Disneys Tangled Tangled Review

Directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard (Bolt) use the 3D CGI to draw the audience into the story and the emotional state of the characters. The film has some of the most well-developed character design in recent animation (including Rapunzel’s subtle, and endearing, slight overbite), and yet it still has the organic feel of hand-drawn animation. Alan Menken’s music is as catchy, uplifting and effecting as one would expect.

The film makes gorgeous use of light as a visual motif, and metaphor for all that we are capable of, and hold within us if we accept, and make use, of our own unique nature; both its majesty and its limitations.

Persnickety teenagers may not be ready to love this film, but on the whole Tangled offers audiences a much needed respite from the normal marquee staples, and reaches past our defenses to the part of ourselves that still wants to believe in magic.

Tangled Trailer:

[poll id="98"]

Our Rating:

4 out of 5
(Excellent)

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  1. I was thinking about taking my girlfriend to see this. It looked really silly

    • Aside from singing 3 or 4 too many songs, this movie would have been absolutely PERFECT for all ages. I think I can speak for MOST adults (or maybe just the males) when i say that the random campy Disney song breaks in these films are usually when its time to take a bathroom break or run for the concession stand.

      Don’t get me wrong though, my wife and I absolutely LOVED it. BY FAR, the best parts of the film HAD to be the expressions and gestures of the horse and the chameleon!! They stole the show!!!

      • P.S.

        Maybe im just being EXTRA sensitive because my wife and i had our first baby girl a couple of weeks ago, but i think that what the “evil mother” did to the guy was a bit much for kids? Yeah, i know i know, there was NO “red evidence” of what she had done and the scene was clevery cut, but…..but??…..Ok, yeah. Nevermind. Its just the father in me kickin’ in. : )

      • I thought it was great but like you, I thought a couple of the songs seemed forced and added just because they “should” be there.

        Vic

    • Hey Foopher,
      I don’t think the film is as “clever” as Roth (who i love) lets on, but it certainly does have a strong adult appeal.

      • oops! wrong review! You never said it was clever. lol.

        See, thats why youre awesome.

        • :) Haha thank you! yes, I think overall the songs aren’t as catchy as some of the other films — but there are a couple that I really found sweet and moving. I actually really loved the incantation song. Very subtle, but something about it felt like a really human desire.

          Thanks!

          Roth

    • Did you ever end up taking her? What did she think :)?

    • It’s not, the trailers don’t give the movie justice.

      It’s such a great movie.

  2. Im going to definitely see this ;)

    • :)

  3. How family frinedly is this, can younger viewers watch it or is this mainly pre-teens and up only?

    • I think the opening line of the review says it all. ;-)

    • VERY family friendly! I know sometimes one can feel duped — either the film is no fun for the adults OR not really right for kids. This is genuinely one everyone can enjoy.

      Thanks!

      Roth

  4. What a nice surprise! I’m glad to see that Disney has finally translated a fairy tale into the 3D animation world.

    Definitely looking forward to it.

  5. cant wait to see it.

    • What did you think?

  6. I got to see an advanced screening of Tangled and we LOVED it! My usually fearful 4yo loved it and my 2yo sat there w/the 3D glasses on the whole time. Definitely a Thanksgiving weekend MUST!

    I agree about the parents being the one tear…but oh, what happy tears! Loved it!

    • I know — I saw it in a theater with kids and was amazed at how captivated (and still :)) they were.

      Thanks!

      Roth

  7. Persnickety?

    • I know — I am such an old lady sometimes ;)

  8. I am SO going to see this, but in 2D; saving my 3D bucks for TRON Legacy.

    • Fair enough “) both have pretty great 3D :)

  9. Been looking forward to it especially with Levi involved nice to see him expanding beyond just Chuck. He’s a good actor very funny and has a certain geeky charm.

    • Yeah — he’s great :).

  10. Saw it this night. It was pretty good, definetily better that I thought it would be. Was it my favorite Disney animated film? No, that honor belongs to Hunchback of Notre Dame. But it’s really worth checking out for film fans.

    • Cool — Hunchback is a great one :)

      • You know now that i think about it Gothel reminds me of Frollo what with the “don’t go outside, the world is evil” stuff

  11. I chose a 5 star rating in the poll.
    I really enjoyed it.

    • I thought it was great as well. Disney just really knows how to do these movies.

      Vic

      • Out of curiosity why didn’t you guys review princess and the frog? (which in my opinion is not as good as this film but still okay.)

        • Jigsaw,

          It wasn’t intentional – we just didn’t get around to it. We’re trying to make sure we cover more movies now that we have more people on board.

          Vic

          • Did you think this was better than Princess and the Frog? The only thing I liked better in PATF was the villain

            • Jigsaw,

              Personally, I enjoyed this a lot more.

              Vic

    • Me too :)

  12. I really liked it
    I have loved disney movies since I was a child
    and even though I am a male, I really like princess movies
    and this one is not the typical princess tale but still has all the romanticism and magic it must have

    • Yeah — I really liked how they got that balance as well. :)

  13. I really liked this movie, and honestly I don’t like princess movies very much. Plus I’m thirteen and my friend in highschool like it alot too. In the end when the one chacter got hurt and almost died, I’m glad it looks like that character was actually hurt. I know this will sound mean, violent and just cruel, but I think that caracter should have died. I think it would have made it more believable. It also would have had some more meaning to it than just another kids movie. I understand it is a kids movie though so having that character die would not have worked so well for business. And again I know this sounds mean and everything, but I think I would have liked it better if that character had died. In life I’m all for life, peace, saving the planet, and animal kindness. So please, don’t think I’m a brutal person.

    • I find it hilarious that at 13 you don’t consider yourself a kid. Eugene does seem to briefly die.

    • I’m 15, not much older, and I accept that that’s just the Disney way. Why does a Disney princess movie have to be fully believable? Was it believable to you that the main character has magic 100 foot-long hair?
      Death=/=deeper meaning.

    • I agree, a sad ending would fit the movie much better, but of course, it’s Disney. Either way the happy ending was just too forced in my opinion

  14. IF YOU HAVENT SEEN IT YET DO IT’S GREAT MOVIE!!!!!!
    it was sad though she almost lost everything at the end but got it back sadly her hair never returned but that’s the least really funny movie great for everybody kids to adults<3

  15. Saw this because we have seen *most* other movies at the theater, and must say we were all pleasantly surprised. Entertaining, meaningful (albeit cheesy at times) and I would recommend to people of all ages.

    15 minutes into the movie I thought to myself “Oh no, I hope this isn’t a Disney musical…” Glad to see it wasn’t.

    • Im 16 years old male and i like this movie and frozen in fact even if im 16 years old i still like some disney movies lol :-) but i think that sad ending would fit better in both tangled and frozen

  16. This was a great movie, and i hope they make a good sequel in the future.

    Really Really Good Movie.

  17. I’m a high school junior and I was forced to watch this with my younger cousins, BUT!

    IM SURE GLAD THEY FORCED ME TO!

    the film is great and even though I’m in that rebellious, “too cool for school” age, this movie was hilarious. Also, the princess is very pretty like all other disney princesses, so worth watching :)

  18. It was a fantastic movie, I’m 16 and I loved it :-)

  19. Overall I would agree that it was a fairly entertaining movie if you ignore the one main plot fault. Something didn’t quite sit right with me the first time through and I figured it out on the second watching. I didn’t care for how they portrayed the old women as an evil witch. Seems like a bit of Hollywood typecasting. An old lady uses a flower to keep herself healthy. Than a wealthy and powerful couple come along and steal the flower from her just because they can afford to hire a couple hundred of soldiers to go out into the woods and take it. The movie makes sure to point out that the old women was “hoarding” the flower, but I fail to see how what the king and queen did was any different. They “hoarded” the flower for their daughter. Not for the good of their kingdom, but for their own selfish needs. Of course the old women isn’t going to be very nice to Rapunzel. I wonder how I would feel if I had a magic flower that was stolen from me and then was forced to raise the child of the thieves just so I could stay alive.

    Other than that, it was a very entertaining movie. It’s a good opportunity to teach your children that sometimes “good” or “bad” is really just a matter of perspective. I’m probably reading into it too much.

    • Dan K,

      Oh.. let me guess your political persauasion…

      The old woman was using the flower to stay eternally young for HUNDREDS of years, not to “keep herself healthy” (as if she was within a normal lifespan and used it to cure herself of cancer). The queen was DYING from complications due to childbirth and the flower was used to save her LIFE.

      They went on to show what an incredibly cruel and selfish the woman was by keeping the girl locked up in a tower for 18 years. But hey, I guess that’s cool because the woman wasn’t rich and powerful, right?

      Yeesh.

      Vic

      • Vic,

        None of that changes the fact that the flower was taken from the old lady. She wouldn’t have had to lock anybody up if her flower hadn’t been taken from her. She tried to remedy the situation by taking only a lock of hair but was forced to escalate her actions when that wouldn’t work. I guess she should have just said, “Well, they took it from me fair and square, so now I die”. Then proceed to keel over dead, end of movie.

        Your point still appears to be that the queen’s life was more important than the old woman’s. That’s fine if that’s your opinion.

        All I’m saying is that people should consider the opening plot of the movie. The old woman has a magical item keeping her alive. The Queen is dying and doesn’t want to. The Queen takes the magic item thereby condemning the old woman to death. The Queen survives and history is written by the winners, therefore the old woman is evil.

        It’s not a political lesson Vic, it’s just an opportunity to teach children to look at a situation from another perspective. There shouldn’t be anything wrong with asking a kid, “do you think the queen was right to take the flower for her own use even though the old woman had been using it?”.

        Like I said, it doesn’t really matter other than a lesson in perspective. It’s just a cartoon Vic.

        I don’t know how the original story goes, but I guess if the flower could have been shared and the old woman made a conscious decision refusing to share it, I would have been a little less disturbed by the queen stealing it.

        Side note. Is it any wonder the two brutes want to get Flynn? The three of them pull a heist together and then Flynn double crosses them and leaves them to take the rap.

        • I am very glad you are willing to defend this idea. This struck me too. It seems a bit arbitrary, which motives were cast as “light” and which “dark”, and I’m glad that there are other people willing to ask for an evenhanded narrative.

          Vic, you seem to believe in “natural-ways-things-should-be” that I don’t, so maybe it’s inevitable we will disagree. As a biochem major and prospective medical chemist, I reject the notion of any “natural lifespan”. Though, emotionally, I think you are spot on; and Disney seems to agree with your sense of the matter, so maybe I am overthinking this.

          Dan, “Although I will say I’m not entirely opposed to your argument that the queen should be allowed to use it instead of the old woman simply because she was younger and had more life to live. I can only assume that if you and I ever end up on the same waiting list for an organ, you’ll let me skip ahead of you. Thanks buddy.” is the cleverest paragraph I’ve ever read in a comments argument. So cool, bro.

          Finally, your summary of the moral problem, analogized to the Law and Order episode, was fantastic, and your revised plot would have been a pleasure to see in theaters. I’m extremely glad I read the entirety of your guyses’ thread.

          I hope to see you both elsewhere on the internet! Really brightened my day, this back and forth.

          • Wow, I wrote this awhile ago and didn’t think anyone would still be reading it, but thank you for your comments and I’m glad you enjoyed the discussion. Food for thought and a nice example of how to discuss something in a civil manner on the internet. I wish more internet “conversation” would remain this civil but I know they usually take a sour turn pretty quickly. Thanks again to Vic for the discussion.

  20. Dan K,

    It wasn’t “her” flower. No more than the fountain of youth would belong to the person who found (and hid) it. The old woman was FAR beyond her natural life and the queen was still in the prime of her normal life. The old woman was using the flower to artificially keep herself alive beyond her normal lifespan. You are looking at it backwards – the queen didn’t steal it – the old woman was hoarding and hiding it intentionally. She KNEW the soldiers were coming and presumably WHY they needed the flower and still she attempted to hide it – which speaks to what kind of person she was.

    You argument would be much more valid if the old woman was trying to cure herself of a disease that would have killed her before her natural time, but this is not the case. Your “keeping her alive” comment is not entirely accurate – more accurate would be “artificially extended her life indefinitely.” And I think that makes a difference.

    As far as a lesson to a child – yours is a leading question with an obvious skew towards the old woman IMHO.

    BTW, I do not disagree with you when it comes to the “brutes” although of course there is no honor among thieves. :)

    Best regards,

    Vic

    • I don’t know Vic. You haven’t really convinced me. You’re saying it wasn’t the old woman’s flower. Wasn’t it? Was it the queen’s flower? Using your fountain of youth analogy the queen shouldn’t have been able to use it either and they should both have died. (Although honestly Vic, do you think that if there was a fountain of youth that someone wouldn’t “own” it? Would it be a public good to be used equally by all? Owned by the people?) Ultimately the movie never really establishes “ownership”. I think the old woman’s pattern of use establishes just as good, if not better, of a claim to ownership as anyone else. Is it backwards to think that one person forcibly taking something from someone else is wrong? As for what kind of person she is, of course she hid the flower. Like you said, the soldiers were coming to get it and she knew why they needed it. So, she knew she was never going to see it again and would die. She was determined to do what she could to survive, much like anyone else would. I believe that definitely speaks to what kind of person she was. The same kind of person as the queen. Someone that would do what it took to survive. Basically, the movie begins with the old woman having access to the flower and ends with the old woman dead and the queen living happily ever after. Does that speak to what kind of person the queen was?

      As for the leading question, I would argue that at least asking the question is considerably less leading than mindlessly accepting that the old woman is simply evil. The movie doesn’t even bother to ask the question. They just tell you the woman is evil and would prefer you not even question it. Again, I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie. I’m just saying from a critical stand point, I would have preferred if they made the woman evil through evil action. Maybe she is in the original story and the screenwriters simply “told” the audience she was evil to save time. Maybe an example of her evilness would have helped. All I got from the beginning of the movie is that she was interested in her own self preservation. Who isn’t?

      I’m also not really buying the whole natural life argument. I think we’d have to agree that the flower was an unnatural means of survival. Ultimately they were both trying to extend there lives unnaturally. The queen was dying a natural death. Unless you don’t consider childbirth natural. People have been dying during childbirth for centuries. Tragic, yes. Unnatural…? Your argument would be much more valid if the old woman was somehow responsible for the demise of the queen. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on the “natural” lifespan issue. Does the queen have to die of “old age” in order to have died a natural death? If I find out tomorrow I have cancer and I’m dead in six months is that unnatural? If I die at the age of 70 from the same cancer, is that then natural? Your argument appears to be that it wasn’t “fair” for the queen to die because she didn’t get to live as much as she “should” have.

      Although I will say I’m not entirely opposed to your argument that the queen should be allowed to use it instead of the old woman simply because she was younger and had more life to live. I can only assume that if you and I ever end up on the same waiting list for an organ, you’ll let me skip ahead of you. Thanks buddy.

      For an example of how double crossing your partners in crime doesn’t always work out well for the double crosser, see: Italian Job.

      • LOL,

        Dan K, first, nice to have you here, bud, even if we disagree. I love seeing people disagreeing here in a civil and intelligent manner. :)

        They DID establish later in the film that the old woman was evil. She kept a young girl locked in a tower for her own selfish purposes – and told her that she’d never be able to leave, to boot.

        And to me, bottom line, the queen was more worthy of living in the end. Established as a good, kind person while the old woman was established as a mean, selfish one (I’m sure you caught the constant passive aggressive “mothering”). As to your “you or me” question on organ donation, I’ll say this – if I was to die and I could pick whether you got my heart or a crack addict would – I’d pick you. :)

        Best regards,

        Vic

        • Vic, it has been fun. I figured after my initial comment the most I would get was someone saying, “Hmm, I never thought of it that way. Interesting.”

          I’ll leave you with this last bit.

          I did address earlier that it would not have been necessary for the old woman to hold Rapunzel(sp?) had the flower never been taken in the first place. She was made evil by reaction to the taking of the flower. The old woman didn’t kidnapped her for fun. She kidnapped her because the object she needed to survive was now in Rapunzel. She attempted to remedy the situation by merely taking a strand of hair, but that didn’t work.

          There was an interesting episode of Law and Order where someone had removed the kidney of an ex-con and had arranged to have it transplanted into a loved one without the loved one’s knowledge. I would agree that Rapunzel was an unfortunate innocent bystander just like the unwitting organ recipient. In the episode, the detectives figure out what’s going on and ask the young woman if she was aware of the plot to steal the kidney. They determine that she was not, but she proceeds to ask a pertinent question. “Does this mean I have to give the kidney back?” In the show the lowlife that had his kidney stolen ends up dying of infection so they do not address the question of returning the stolen kidney. However, I believe this poses a very interesting question. What would happen, either in real life or in the episode, if the ex-con had survived? Would he have a right to get his kidney back even if it means the death of the young woman that received it illegally? That’s not a question I’m prepared to take on, but I think it lies at the heart of the above issue.

          I’m sure the screenwriters didn’t intend this level of debate over the opening scene, but here’s a simple re-write that I think we both could agree would clear up the ambiguity.

          The old women was actually the younger sister of the queen’s great-grandmother. Many years ago a magic fairy/godmother/traveling snake-oil salesman gives the flower to the great-grandmother. The old woman/younger sister becomes jealous, steals the flower, and runs off to live as a hermit in the woods. Then the queen is merely retrieving goods that were rightfully her great-grandmother’s and would have been hers. Problem solved.

          The rest of the movie was enjoyable and I’m only deducting a tenth of a point for the screenwriters not sticking the landing.

          Dan

  21. I wish in the movie that the parents could talk because i all was wonder what r they thinking Dose anybody wish so

  22. A good solid disney movie, good to watch and few moments of laughter. Worth a watch if your into disney films, it isn’t memorable but worth a watch with the kids or any disney mad fan. Will never be a classic but good in its own right.

    Give it 2.5/5 rating.

  23. This movie seems to be cute..but I was wondering if I’d enjoy it, I’m 17 and am not usually a fan of little kid movies.

    • So I did watch it. I thought it was pretty good. Better then I expected. It was very cute and had some funny lines and moments. I honestly did not like a majority of the songs, but luckily, there weren’t many of them. Overall, I thought it was a good movie. I’d give it 3/5 stars.

  24. Beauty. This film is just pure beauty and it doesn’t get enough recognition nowadays. It’s a great film for all ages, and I highly recommend it. There are no true problems like the ones that plagued Frozen, and I personally say that the film is much better than Frozen, which had bad comedy relief and when it came to the final sad scene, the hue and lighting was far too bright and there wasn’t any sad music to push the mood, leaving it feeling a lot emptier.
    This film did that perfectly, and everything that Frozen did wrong, this film waltzed over. The only thing I would say is that Mother Gothel looks a bit Cher-like, so I deduct 0.1 off my score, which is 9.9/10.