Tangled (2010)

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 9/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 9/10

TANGLED (2010) - Nathan Greno, Byron Howard

It is the Disney Renaissance, an era that began roughly in the late 1980s and ended in the late 1990s, during which Walt Disney Animation Studios returns annually to make a successful 2D animated film, restoring public and critical praise in Disney. The animated films during the Renaissance include The Lion KingMulanThe Little MermaidAladdin, and many more. In the new decade, Disney began releasing Pixar films and experimenting with live-action movies and has triumphed with National Treasure and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. But suddenly in the year 2009, Disney took a step back to classic 2D animation with The Princess & the Frog, a simple and straightforward princess movie that represents everything we loved in the past about Disney.

Due to the critical and financial success of The Princess & the Frog, Disney decides to release another film, this time 3D animation, on the classic folktale of Rapunzel and her magical long hair. Originally titledRapunzelTangled is an animated musical film that takes Disney back to its roots once again, only this time with crisp animation, loving characters, and a charm that covers the entire piece with magic.

Tangled tells the story of a lost princess (Mandy Moore) with long magical hair who yearns to leave her secluded tower. Against her mother's wishes, she enlists the aid of a bandit thief (Zachary Levi) to take her out into the world which she has never seen. Tangled spent six years in production at the cost of $260 million, making it the most expensive animated film ever made and the second most expensive movie of all time, behind Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End ($300 million).

Mandy Moore is exceptionally expressive here, although she is not the greatest singer for a Disney character. Rapunzel's character is one who we follow easily, and magically fall in love with, accompanied by a cute chameleon. She is easily added to the shelf of classic Disney princesses and to all honesty, she is the prettiest one too. Also, in the most innovative way, she knows how to defend herself, with a cooking pan. Zachary Levi is charming and hilarious as a slick yet silly thief, a gentleman of a character who we adore despite his literal occupation. Donna Murphy, based on voice acting, is the one who steals the show, similar to Gary Oldman in Kung Fu Panda 2 and John Lithgow in Shrek. She is as hysterical as she is terrifying, as amusing as she is sinister. Maximus, the horse, is also an entertainment add-on to the list of lovable characters. His movements are swift yet random, oddly humanlike for an animal, and strangely intelligent and keen for a horse. Although he is purely written for the younger audience, everything that Maximus does is not contrived in any way and is a charismatic entertainment factor to the film.

Tangled is a musical film. The film was scored by Alan Menken, a brilliant score composer. In this critic's opinion, Menken's genius was beautifully expressed through the soundtrack of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, one of the greatest cell-animated Disney movies. Here in Tangled, the score is upright, good but not great. It blends medieval music with 1960s folk rock. Menken's personality is not clear as water here. Despite a legitimate score, the songs in Tangled do work. One of them, nominated for an Oscar, is brilliantly sang by both actors, even though the lyrics themselves are mediocrely written. The important factor in music for Tangled is that Disney successful revived the musical sequences once again, where the characters "jump out" of the plot and sing a song for four minutes. It revisits the nostalgic tone of similar moments shared by the films of the Disney Renaissance. As a Disney film, Tangled is without a doubt, a knock out of the park.

Rapunzel has approximately 70 feet of hair. One might think: "Is Disney really going to animate all of that?" The answer is yes. Disney did not shy away from this. Every line, every detail, can be seen, almost like blades of grass. As a whole, the animation is unique in its own way. It combines computer-generated imagery with traditional animation. At the same time, it unitizes non-photorealistic rendering to create the impression of an oil painting. The settings were romantically designed, bearing a lush presence similar to French paintings. Rather than focusing on realism like Gore Verbinski's RangoTangled took an aesthetic approach. It looks and feels like a traditional hand-drawn Disney film…. in 3D, call it a "best of both worlds" and a "win win" situation. Furthermore, Tangled finishes it off with a divine animated sequence that can be comparable to classic animation sequences like the ball-room scene in Beauty and the Beast.

The real surprising factor for Tangled is the script. It is sharply written. In classic folk tales like Snow White, one can finish telling the story within a fair two minutes. During conceptual stage, Disney had to face the issue of taking a short story and stretching it into a full-length feature film. Rapunzel's tale can be told in a jiffy, but Tangled was an hour and forty minutes long. It does what Beauty and the Beast did really well at which was taking a little thread of a story without blowing too much air into it. The script needs to add new details, new subplots, and new complications. However, this adjustment is easy for the script to lose its faith and loyalty to the original piece. To my greatest surprise, Tangled never fell down that pit. It was terrifically done and was fully aware of what it had to do.

In conclusion, Tangled is one of the most pleasant surprises in animation. It is visually stunning and charming with its character duo. Unlike the Shrek series, Tangled bears no unnecessary pop references. Just fluid and graceful storytelling, and that is what Disney was best at. It is a dazzler, a short and sweet fairy tale that succeeds in its humor, appeal, and love.

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