Running time: 100 mins.
Directors: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard
Tangled is Walt Disney’s 50th animated feature, and retells the fairytale of Rapunzel. Here she is a princess, born with hair that has rejuvenating powers, and Flynn Ryder is the new swashbuckling love interest.
The tone of the film is refreshingly bright, a return to good old-fashioned Disney charm, missing from many recent animated films. Certain things have been updated for a contemporary audience, but in such a measured and tasteful way as to make Tangled a perfect blend of styles past and present. The wicked old woman who kidnaps Rapunzel and imprisons her in a tower is an excellently written character. Routinely restoring her beauty using her captive’s golden locks, and keeping Rapunzel from escaping by telling tales of the cruelty of the world outside, she frighteningly feigns a mother’s love to get what she wants. When Rapunzel finally leaves the tower to discover who she really is, she is torn between pseudo-guilt at betraying her surrogate mother’s wishes, and the thrill of experiencing life for herself. One could perhaps compare her struggle to that of sinners becoming aware of the larger spiritual world around them, and also the crown that awaits the princess in the story to the one that awaits Christians when they die!
The story moves at speed, yet doesn’t feel rushed, and is filled with hilarious secondary characters who aren’t just lazy one-dimensional cut-outs. The songs are also exceptional, with one particularly magical sequence featuring a dreamy song set to a flurry of elegant floating lanterns, all the more atmospheric in 3D.
One of Rapunzel’s character traits is that she always keeps her promises, just another reason why Tangled is a great film to take the kids to, and if you don’t have kids then you could pretend to be one!