Posted on 11/25/11 02:32 PM
Apparently, this film is set in our world (what with a reference to Mozart and a map bearing our continents)...so when is it set exactly? It comes off like England in maybe the 1600's (except we have that Mozart ref) and the armor of the royal soldiers appears Roman. Not to mention that apparently in our world, there was liquid sun that caused youth-giving flowers to bloom. I know some people who would appreciate knowing abut that flower...
But despite its mind-tickling little issues like that, this film manages to provide strong depth for its characters and some edgy elements without shaking Disney's endearing attitude towards life that's carried them this far. We're quickly introduced to a young woman who, despite or perhaps in direct reaction to her entire life being inside a tower in the wilderness, has developed a vibrant, inquisitive, optimistic and friendly nature. She struggles with her devotion to her "Mother's" desire to protect her and her own sole desire to become a part of the larger world, as she has come of age. But Gothel can't let her fountain of youth come to harm, now can she?
To be honest, Mother Gothel does seem intent to protect Rapunzel from horrible people like herself. How much of her motivation is vanity and greed and how much is actually caring for Rapunzel is up for serious debate. Eventually, Rapunzel's curiosity does get the best of her, and she takes advantage of a refugee she meets named Flynn in order to see the lanterns that are released into the sky once a year. Rapunzel stands out as a very smart, strong willed, sympathetic, and likable member of the often exhaustingly unlikable Disney Princess family. Flynn is a solid character in his own right, but he's not the star of the show and he's the one who's being saved by the damsel.
This is all a welcome change of pace for Disney's traditional animation, in my eyes. This film is essentially about realizing your dreams, and that no matter how well our exterior may hide our feelings, we all do have those dreams. (We've certainly heard this one before, but at least they're doing their cliches well, right?) The music is actually very strong in terms of developing the characters, and as mentioned previously, the film has an edgy and clever charm to it.
Disney's writing is still a bit..soft, but they have a handle on the material they work well with, thankfully. The animation is crisp and vivid, but does not try to overstep its bounds or distract the viewer from a solid story. The depth beneath the songs and characters enhances the entertainment value exceedingly well. Tangled deserves a strong recommendation as a film that puts forth effort in order to please and succeeds at what Disney does well. It's not Pixar or Rango worth for sure, but this film is still an achievement in itself.