A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 412 – Tangled

Tangled – April 16th, 2011

I’ve got to admit, I’m the one who suggested we buy this. Very out of character for me, given my general lack of interest in Disney princess movies. I realize that they are beloved the world over by ladies young and old. Not this lady. I was never the princess type. I was Wonder Woman (no really, I had a cape and a costume and I wore it until it all fell apart). And later I was Robin Hood. But friends of mine whose opinions I respect when it comes to movies like this were saying that it was pretty good. No one hyped it up to be the Best Movie Ever, so that counted in its favor for me. And no one decried it as being full of simpering and powerless damsel crap. So, point two. So when we felt the movie-buying itch and this was right there in the supermarket, well, into the basket it went. Why yes, we are weak, why do you ask?

Now, I remember when this movie came out and there being some talk about the promotion done for it. Many of the ads seemed to minimize that there was a princess in it at all. Flynn, our dashing hero, was the focus, along with the horse, Maximus, and the various thugs and brigands you meet through the course of the story. Some folks I saw online were mighty ticked that there seemed to be so much effort put into making the movie look like it was all about the guy when in fact the story isn’t like that at all. And having now seen it, I can understand that Disney wanted to market the movie to a wide audience, but I can also dislike that the ads weren’t more well-rounded. And the thing is, I’m a sucker for a charismatic thief character (remember, Robin Hood – and no, last night’s Ridley so does not count) and I can’t say Flynn grabbed me. Oh, he’s got plenty of funny lines and all, but I can’t say I was ever not pleased when Rapunzel smacked him with the skillet.

Now, Rapunzel? She’s more my sort of character. Except when she’s singing. Then she’s the embodiment of why I don’t usually do Disney. It’s just so very twee and while that might float some boats it leaves mine in dry dock. I could have done without the singing because really, Rapunzel does very well without it. She nicely balances the sort of innocent hope and belief that the world holds wonders with some spunk and attitude when faced with danger or a douchebag. Part of her character arc is that she finds out that she truly can take care of herself in the outside world. Sure, it’s often nice to have someone watch your back, but she doesn’t always need it. And I like that! I like her. And then she goes and breaks into song. The only song I really enjoyed in the movie was the one in the pub and that’s only partially her. Otherwise it’s a bunch of burly brigands singing about how they dream of being pianists or collecting ceramic unicorns. It’s comedic, not a ballad.

Normally I can at least enjoy the villain’s song, but well, I wasn’t feeling it here. Mother Gothel is pretty nasty, to be certain. She locked Rapunzel up in the tower and has been using her for her magic for eighteen years. She never intends to let her go. She’s vile. But she’s vile in an insidious sort of way. She’s nowhere near the sort of villain that Ursula (the standard to which I hold all Disney villains) is and her song reflects that. Compare Ursula’s Poor Unfortunate Souls to Gothel’s Mother Knows Best. This isn’t to say that I don’t think Gothel made an excellent villain. She did. And in a way that I’m frankly fascinated to see in a Disney movie. I mean, they’re presenting their audience with a villain who is clearly evil, but who is also thoroughly trusted by the princess character. She calls her ‘mother’ through most of the movie. She’s in agony over disappointing Gothel or breaking her heart. That’s a lot to lay down in front of kids in a PG movie and to be honest, I’m really incredibly pleased that they gave the relationship between Gothel and Rapunzel as much complexity as they did. With Ursula and Maleficent and Jafar and the like? No, it’s pretty clear that those relationships are antagonistic through and through. But to get to that much antagonism between Rapunzel and Gothel Rapunzel needs to actually grow as a character. That? Is pretty damn cool.

The rest of the story isn’t anything revolutionary. Rapunzel meets a thief who hides in her tower (that would be Flynn) and bribes him into taking her to see a display of floating lanterns that she’s always wanted to see up close. They set off and have an adventure together. Flynn’s stolen a crown from the palace and double crossed his partners, so he’s got palace guards and his partners after him, plus a horse named Maximus. Gothel finds out Rapunzel’s gone and so she’s after them too. I think it’s pretty obvious that eventually there’s a seeming betrayal and then oh no, it wasn’t a betrayal and then there’s a confrontation and the good guys win. Hurrah. This is not a movie throwing any curve balls in terms of plot points. Flynn starts out a charming rogue with no cares but money and getting rich and looking out for himself. Through his interaction with Rapunzel he learns that there’s more to life and becomes a better person and so on and so forth. She also hits him a lot. With a skillet. They call it a frying pan but no, that’s a cast iron skillet and there’s a difference. For one, a skillet will make a much bigger lump on someone’s head. Just saying.

Anyhow, it’s a very cute movie with a lot of great fun lines and interactions. I’m quite certain I’d been told that Maximus steals every scene he’s in and it’s true. I kind of wish there’d been more of him even though I will now never be able to unsee the similarity between his look at Mr. Horse from Ren and Stimpy (Andy noted it and yes, it is so very clear now). His facial expressions and actions and body movement definitely showcase the talents of the animators who made the film. I mean, the movie is lovely and I was quite pleased with all of the lighting and textures and people. But Maximus just puts it out there that the animation can carry a charismatic character with no voicework needed. So there’s that and there’s Rapunzel herself and while I wasn’t swept off my feet by Flynn I did appreciate his comedic input. And there’s that understated villain aspect I mentioned above. Not revolutionary, no, but definitely a little more than I expected, so I think I can say I’m not sorry at all that we fell for a supermarket display and bought this.

April 16, 2011 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , ,

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