The other day my mom and my sis had to do some serious house-cleaning so I volunteered to get my young nephew out from under their feet and away from the house. I also thought it would be nice for my nephew to get a whole day with his auntie since I can’t visit as often as I’d like. We ended up getting lunch and going to see Tangled in 3-D.
Lunch was ok. Tangled was pretty good.
I’m guessing most people reading this have heard about Tangled and know it’s a Rapunzel plot. The tweaks Disney have put on the old yarn are to add an old-fashioned swash-buckling rogue of a thief, Flynn, as Rapunzel’s love interest instead of the standard Prince Charming. They’ve also given her long, long, LONG hair magical healing properties, which is why the wicked witch steals her in the first place.
Ok, so what did I, as a grown woman, get from this version of Rapunzel? Well, I thought Disney did a really great job with the romance between Flynn and Rapunzel. They work together. Flynn saves Rapunzel but she saves him too. They have mutual respect and liking instead of the shallow physical attraction that forms the basis of most early Disney fairy tale romances (Snow White, anyone?). Another small detail which I thought was great was the physicality of their relationship. Flynn’s always touching Rapunzel’s hair and face, and they hug like real people. I felt like for this film Disney really paid special attention to making the touching and the kissing and such look realistic and romantic. Because I can’t remember noticing this in other animated films before.
Also, there’s a dancing scene! I am a sucker for the romantic dancing scene as a way to build the romance (for another great animated example see Anastasia, also, for live action, Mask of Zorro). Bonus points if said dance scene has got a really great folksy music (like Tangled does).
Flynn is also a great hero.
He does start out as a Standard Cocky Rogue, but there’s more to him than that, and even as he inhabits the cliche of the cocky rogue he is also clearly intended by the filmmakers to be a send-up of the rogue stereotype. He also has a great moment of heroism at the end that involves far more than daring feats. I love the ending so much, in fact, I’ve gone back and watched a bootleg clip of it on youtube that doesn’t even have dialogue! That’s how much of a charge I get out of it.
He’s also pretty cute for an animated character. S’all I’m saying…
So, what didn’t work? Well, the songs in this by and large just really suck. Every time the movie started to gear up for a musical number I was gritting my teeth in annoyance. Very bad. Especially the one sung by a tavernful of ruffians. OMG. Really have to grit my teeth to get through that one. The only two good songs are the one sung by the villainess (of course) and the duet between Flynn and Rapunzel which I think I actually like despite myself. After the fantastic and innovative musical numbers in The Princess and the Frog, the songs in this were actually a big let down. I blame the lyricist Glenn Slater because Alan Menken, the composer, also wrote for Aladdin, which has great musical numbers.
Now, you might be wondering how my nephew liked it? Quite a bit actually. He kept talking about all his favorite parts on the way home, and he asked me to get some of Rapunzel’s songs for him when we got home (kid has no taste in music). On the down side, he actually ended up crying for a few minutes at the end where things get a little dark (despite my assurances that everything would be ok). So, if you have particularly sensitive children maybe you want to wait for home video to spare yourself the difficulty of crying children in a movie theater.
p.s. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve also totally got a thing for the Stabbington brothers. I’m weird. I know. But they’re all big and manly, and they swagger and they’re voiced by Ron Perlman. I mean, c’mon! What is not to love about guys who look like this…
…or maybe it’s just me.