It's not very often that I review kids movies on this blog, but I'm always trying to keep things from just being about horror. Nobody wants to be stagnant and I do watch other things besides horror, it just happens to be my favorite genre. However, yesterday besides seeing 'Hobo With A Shotgun' I aslo saw the Disney movie 'Tangled. I think all of us grew up watching Disney. Whether it was a Mickey Mouse cartoon or a full length feature film, he's left a mark on all of our collective minds. They're part of the fabric of our lives. There was a long stretch of time where Disney was cranking out less than stellar material, but then Pixar came along and stepped up the game. Soon they became a part of Disney and not only did the quality of Disney increase because of Pixar, but they also stepped up their own output of films. Since that time, there have been several examples of the higher quality product that they've decided to put out. 'Tangled', I'm proud to say, has carried on the tradition of old school Disney.... but with the new twist of being computer animated. It's the first time that they've produced a film that takes me back to my childhood without being hand drawn by animators. It was such a refreshing change of pace. It just proved that it can be done. This film had the life lessons, the GIANT musical numbers, the saddness, the joy and of course.... the princess. This is a film that the entire family can enjoy without guilt or regret. Sure it's sappy and sweet, but it's also funny and very smart. Sure it has the typical characters and themes, but it still feels as fresh as 'Beauty and the Beast' did when it first came out. This is a Disney classic already.
These days, it's an expectation that you have several big name stars in your cartoons in order to draw in a larger crowd and to give the film some respect. 'Tangled' has its stars, but they aren't big enough to over power the film itself. Mandy Moore plays Rapunzel and does a wonderful job of capturing her innocence and experience. Zachary Levi plays Flynn, the come-lately hero who has a good heart deep down somewhere. Ron Perlman, Brad Garrett and others round out the cast. There isn't one missed step with the people playing these roles. I never doubted who they were for one second, nor was I distracted by who they were behind the animation. This film also seemed to not be afraid of the GIANT musical numbers complete with melodrama and cheesy goodness. They're un-apologetic about it, as well they should be. This wouldn't have been film that it was without them. This film has not one, but two animal companions that offer comic relief throughout the film. I don't know when it became an expectation to have the comic animal sidekicks, but you can't have a kids movie these days without them. I didn't hate them in this film. Plain and simple. Another cliche that is in this film is the unhappy, happy ending. Some pretty horrific things happen here, but it all works out in the end and in a way it really reminded me of 'The Little Mermaid'. If I had one complaint about this film, it would be the fact that Rapunzel's hair isn't consistant.... but with that much hair, it's kind of hard to keep track of it for the whole film. Overall, that's a pretty minor complaint.
I think we're all pretty familiar with the story of Rapunzel, but for those who aren't.... here's the 'Tangled' version.
The king and queen of a little kingdom are expecting a child. The only problem is that the queen is very ill and the king sends out his best people to find a flower that has the power to cure her. The flower, however, is being guarded by a wicked woman who keeps it to herself to keep herself young and beautiful. The king's men end up finding it by accident and take it back to the king. He gives it to his bride and she is instantly healed. The baby, Rapunzel, is born healthy and happy and with beautiful blond hair that posseses the same power as the flower did. The evil woman tries to take a lock of Rapunzel's hair, but finds out that once it's been cut it no longer has its power anymore. She also discovers that once it's been cut, it will never grow back on Rapunzel's head. So she takes the baby and hides her away in a tower that is a secret to the world. Every year after that, the king and queen send up lighted lanterns with the hope that Rapunzel will find her way back home to them. Flash forward 17 years later, Rapunzel is about to turn 18 and all she wants is to go to the kingdom to see the lanterns. The evil woman will not let her leave. Meanwhile, Flynn steals the crown from the king and queen and ends up being chased into the tower where Rapunzel is. They strike up an uneasy bargin where if he takes her to see the laterns, she'll give the crown back to him. So begins out little adventure.....
If you like your animated films with a touch of the old school charm, then this is the one film you should see this year.... for sure. Pixar films are wonderful and have a charm all their own, but this is pure Disney through and through. I cannot say enough good things about 'Tangled' and I am proud to say that it's already apart of our DVD library. It also has jumped up my list of my all time favorite Disney films, only outshined by 'Aladdin'. I can only hope that this marks a change back to the older ways of making films for Disney. I'm not expecting them to make everything on this scale, but I hope that they at least put one out like this every once in a while. I don't think that's asking too much, is it? This was a no-brainer at 4 out of 5 stars. I am really tempted to push it to the full 5 out of 5 stars, but I think it may take a little more time to possibly earn that rating. This film is highly recommended to you or you and your family. It has something for everyone and will make you feel like a kid again, even if you're middle aged like me. Let's just hope that the fine folks over at Disney animation studios don't go and ruin this picture perfect film by whoring it out for sequels. I know that it's probably going to happen regardless of what I think, but it would be nice for just once to not soil something so pure in the pursuit of the almighty dollar. I don't think I'm alone on this one.... I really don't. I don't think I could handle 'Tangled 3: Rapunzel's European Vaction'.
If you like this, check out the other Disney classics: 'Aladdin', 'The Little Mermaid' and 'Beauty and the Beast'