Sunday, November 28, 2010


I can't believe how much I liked Tangled. Our plans for the day took a different turn than originally planned, so I suggested taking the kid to see the latest output from Disney, loosely based on the Rapunzel fairy tale. I settled down to endure, I mean enjoy, another princess movie. Although Disney twisted the original fairy tale a tiny bit to make their new heroine join their princess sorority, that aspect of the tale is the least important. Tangled is not just a fairy tale, but a sassy animated action-adventure, with lots of comedy and a minimum of songs.

This will sound like blasphemy to many, but we had just seen Beauty and the Beast for the first time recently, and apart from the Jerry Orbach "Be Our Guest" number, I really didn't care for it. It's just a matter of taste, but I didn't like Belle's voice. I'm a huge fan of fairy tales, but have always felt that the message of Beauty and the Beast is pretty messed up—Belle supposedly comes to love the Beast no matter what he looks like, but oh what a relief when he is turned into a handsome prince at the very end, just in the nick of time before any bestiality might occur. Talk about the opposite of Shrek, who loves Fiona no matter how she looks. Beauty and the Beast is close to the original fairy tale of course, and the animation is superb, but Angela Lansbury aside, it just wasn't my cup of tea.

But back to Tangled. There are some great scenes and characters. Rapunzel trades barbs with a cute thief (not a prince!) in the best tradition of romantic comedy. Maximus the amazing horse almost steals the movie. And a musical number in a tavern is clearly inspired by Monty Python, which is always a good thing in my book. Tangled is definitely more in the tradition of the Shrek movies than Disney's recent Princess and the Frog. And we all love Shrek around here. The animation is first-rate. We saw it in 3-D and it wasn't too gimmicky. It did give a nice sense of the characters being three-dimensional at times, but it would work just as well in 2-D.

I was happily surprised that I wasn't the only one who felt she was seeing something special. As the movie ended the whole audience broke into applause. I can't remember the last time that happened at a movie I attended, certainly not a "cartoon." I'm actually looking forward to seeing it again, before the holiday season is over. The kid won't even have to twist my arm.
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