My 100 Favourite Films In Review, Number 80 – Tangled

80 – Tangled:


How about that Disney thingy eh? That studio actually has a really up and down history, despite not even being a hundred years old yet. From the 1930s-1950s the Disney studio was a hit with audiences, with beloved animated films and eventually live action fare too. The name was synonymous with wholesome American whimsy. When Uncle Walt died in the 1960s, the studio fell into decline. Their films did okay but they came close to getting bankrupted from animation several times – and overall the quality of their films was viewed as a huge step down from Walt’s days. But a revival came around in the 90s; known as the ‘Disney Renaissance’, the upturn in quality catapulted the studio back to household name status. This lasted for about ten years before the public started growing sick of Disney again. Faced with competition in the form of Pixar, criticisms of their stories, and a waning interest in traditional animation, the studio once again fell into decline. So why have they made it to their fiftieth animated film in spite of all this? Well there are certain things that you can only stay mad at for so long. And Disney films fall under that umbrella. The 90s kids who grew up with the Renaissance began to look back on Disney films with a nostalgic glee – and late 2000s kids didn’t know about the void in their lives. As such, when Disney announced it was going to make animated movies again, the result was a worldwide round of applause. Their first attempt – The Princess & the Frog – didn’t do as well as they would have hoped. The second? Well let’s jump in and have a look.


Tangled actually has quite a lengthy production history. I mean, I can remember being fourteen and reading about Disney’s planned Rapunzel project, and the movie didn’t come out until my first year of college. Rapunzel was actually one of my favourite fairy tales when I was a child (which probably explains why I have a ‘thing’ for extremely long hair these days) and I was always surprised that Disney had never made a film out of it. The project was first thought of as an Enchanted-style parody – titled ‘Rapunzel: Un-braided’ where a wicked witch would kidnap two modern teenagers and turn them into Rapunzel and her prince. Along the way it became a full animated film, done in the style of Shrek. Next it turned into a more straightforward fairy tale. Eventually we ended up with a compromise – a romantic comedy with a few Disney touches. It was going to be titled just ‘Rapunzel’, but then The Princess & the Frog didn’t do as well as Disney had hoped. Worried that having ‘princess’ in the title might have alienated boys, they changed the title to ‘Tangled’. Trailers likewise downplayed the fairy tale elements and made it look like a Dreamworks-style romp.

Exhibit A.

So the prologue tells us of a kingdom once upon a time – named as Corona in the other materials. Once upon a time, a drop of sunlight fell to Earth and caused a golden flower to grow. The flower had the power to heal anything – and a witch known as Gothel used it to restore her youth. Over the years, the kingdom prospered and expanded. The Queen fell ill while she was pregnant and, presumably word of the flower’s magic had spread. The royal soldiers found the flower and made it into a tea for the Queen – which naturally healed her right away. Some rather hardcore fans of Gothel have taken this particular incident as an example of why Gothel was entirely justified in what she would do in the film. The counterpoints to these issues are as follows:

  • Gothel was keeping the flower hidden for her own personal desires. As in she was trying to prevent anyone else from finding it out. She doesn’t own the flower, so why does she have any more right to it than the others?
  • She knows how the flower’s magic works, while the soldiers don’t. If she wanted to keep things as they were, there was nothing stopping her from telling them how – and having them bring the Queen to where the flower was kept so she could be healed there.
  • We’re talking about two lives in both the Queen and her unborn child. The soldiers were trying to save a life in taking the flower. They didn’t know some other woman was using it to preserve her youth.


Anyway, the Queen gave birth to a beautiful baby daughter with magnificent golden hair. They named her Rapunzel and lit a flying lantern to celebrate. But since Rapunzel is a Disney Princess, you know something bad will have to happen at home. Gothel snuck into the palace one night, discovering that the magic had now been transferred to the girl’s hair. As cutting the hair took away the powers, Gothel instead kidnapped the young princess. She put her in a tower and warned her never to go to the outside world, ensuring no one would ever discover the magic.

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Thus condemning her to a lifetime of doing *this* to pass the time.

The Nostalgia Critic made a really good point in his review that I admittedly didn’t catch on my first watch of this film; the story here is genius. Disney has long been in the habit of taking a classic fairy tale and finding a reason for everything to happen. Starting with Sleeping Beauty, it was all about finding a way for the various fairy tale tropes to be justified in-universe. The original Rapunzel tale doesn’t really give a reason for the witch to lock the girl away in a tower or try to keep her hidden. And the hair growing so long is rather odd too. Tangled finds a great way for these things to happen in the story. The hair is magic, which is why it has to grow so long. The magic keeps Gothel young, so that’s why she hides Rapunzel away. Rapunzel’s parents also get some much needed changes from the original; where they were perfectly happy to hand their baby girl over to a witch and never bother to find what became of her. And the hair being magic justifies it being seventy feet long, although it is actually possible to grow hair to floor-length depending on the person’s genes.

Now we skip ahead to Rapunzel having grown into a sweet and kind young woman, voiced by Mandy Moore. Ms Moore is a 90s pop star who successfully broke into acting, and has even dabbled in voice-over work. Her first major voice acting gig was providing the voice of Final Fantasy VII’s Aerith Gainsborough in the Disney-Final Fantasy crossover Kingdom Hearts. Hilariously, she was replaced by Mena Suvari immediately – but got the last laugh when Kingdom Hearts III’s first announcement was that a world based on Tangled would be featured. This role seems almost perfect for Mandy Moore. Far from being a stunt casting, using a popular name to get people to see the film, it’s a perfect fit. She has almost made a career out of proving she has some definite talent in addition to her pretty face – and her role as Rapunzel is no exception.


I mentioned that she’s also a professional singer, which comes in really handy when one is voicing a Disney Princess. Thus we get our first song of the movie – “When Will My Life Begin” – where Rapunzel and her chameleon friend Pascal find various ways to pass the time. I do have to say that the music is usually where this film falters. Not that it’s bad or anything; the lyrics of this one are nice and snappy. But the songs in this movie are just kind of there. There isn’t a real classic song that best captures the film the way “Part of Your World” does for The Little Mermaid, “Colours of the Wind” for Pocahontas, “Let It Go” for Frozen etc. What’s particularly weird is that there doesn’t seem to be a particular theme for the music. For one, both this and later “I See The Light” start off in the same vein as the songs in Tarzan – pop songs that just play over the scene (though both have the characters sing the last verse ‘live’). And the other three songs in the film are straight-up musical numbers. So the songs kind of almost feel a bit token to me. With the other two recent princess films – Frozen and The Princess & the Frog – the music felt like an integral part of the story. Here you could drop them and it wouldn’t completely hurt the story. Still though, Mandy Moore has a lovely singing voice and the song is pleasant to listen to.

Rapunzel has witnessed something strange happening on her birthday each year: a set of lanterns floating above the treetops. Viewers with sharp memories will guess that this is a tradition still done by the King and Queen to honour their daughter. We now get to see the kingdom eighteen years later, where a bandit known as Flynn Rider has infiltrated the palace. Oh and he’s also been narrating the prologue for us. Flynn is voiced by Zachary Levi, star of the sitcom Chuck. As such, it can feel like he was a stunt casting. But like Mandy Moore, he’s a good fit for the character. He is breaking into the palace with help from the Stabbington Brothers, voiced by…


Ron Perlman in a Disney movie. If they hadn’t cast people such as Billy Joel, Rosie O’Donnell, Bobcat Goldthwaite and Oprah Winfrey in their films, that would make me double take. Flynn and the twins steal a tiara that the King and Queen gave Rapunzel in the prologue, prompting the palace guards to chase after them. Back in the tower, Rapunzel is preparing to welcome her mother. And we get our first proper introduction to Gothel. She’s voiced by Broadway veteran Donna Murphy, who amusingly played the same character on the stage in Into The Woods.

The woman clearly has a thing for hair too.

Gothel as a villain is very interesting. She’s one of those villains that’s in the movie a lot, and has a lot of interaction with the heroine. Despite being described as a witch, she has no power or magic of her own (beyond knowing how to restore her youth and beauty). But Gothel’s strengths lie in her ability to manipulate people. One of the things I noticed in the wave of new princess movies is the emphasis on family relationships. The films of the Renaissance were all about trying to flesh out the romances – so this new wave is doing the same with family. The Princess & the Frog explores Tiana’s connection to her dead father and her wanting to do right by his memory is a big part of her character conflict. Brave delves into the friction between mother and daughter in Merida and Elinor’s opposing viewpoints. And for Frozen, the entire movie is about the relationship between sisters. Even Big Hero 6 was about brotherly love. So which type of family bond does Tangled touch on?


I read a rather narrow minded comment from one reviewer ages ago, complaining that the public kept wanting to see a princess getting abused by a wicked stepmother. Really when you think about it, Tangled combats the wicked stepmother plotline in a way that no other Disney movies have. The most famous Disney stepmothers have been supervillains and obstacles that need to be overcome. Before this movie, Disney had never touched on the emotional attachment one of their heroines might have to their stepmother. Gothel here is a textbook case of an emotional abuser; she subtly puts Rapunzel down, preys on her fears and convinces her that she can’t do anything on her own. It’s quite clear that someone on the production team knows how an emotional abuser operates. Gothel’s act is so convincing, a good portion of the fans believe that she actually does love Rapunzel underneath it all.

Left: Canon; Right: Fanon

Gothel brings us the second song of the movie “Mother Knows Best” – yet another textbook example of emotional abuse. In the first verse, she spooks her stepdaughter with tales of how scary the outside world is. It’s full of ruffians, thugs and brutes – not to mention other dangers like the plague. Rapunzel should be happy that her mother is sheltering her from the evils of the world. And the second verse has Gothel explaining to Rapunzel why she would be able to handle it even if she does go outside; after all, she’s ditzy, naïve, immature, sloppy and “getting kind of chubby” – all so Rapunzel will know that she needs Gothel, because she can’t survive without her. Fans have also interpreted the fact that Rapunzel does the singing to restore Gothel’s youth to be another form of manipulation; by making Rapunzel think she’s just doing something nice for her mother. On an unrelated note, there’s a shot of Rapunzel hiding in her own hair during this song. It makes even the most macho men want to hug her.


Gothel makes Rapunzel promise never to think about leaving the tower again, before departing for the day. In the forest, Flynn and the Stabbington Brothers are still running from the royal guards. Flynn ends up double crossing the twins and making off with the satchel that has the tiara in it. He runs into his biggest competition in the form of Maximus. He’s not head of the royal army – he’s just the captain’s horse. But he honestly should be head. The Nostalgia Critic called him “the Javert of horses”. And, given the effort he goes to in this movie to track Flynn down, he should really take his talents elsewhere. He’s just not being appreciated in Corona.

“Don’t look at me. He’s turned me down five times already.”

Flynn manages to dodge Maximus by ducking into a secret passage in the forest. It turns out this is what leads to Rapunzel’s tower. I just want to take a breath to really gush over the art style of this movie. Although it’s CGI animation, it looks like a traditional hand-drawn film brought to life. It just has a unique and distinct style to it that sets it apart from other CGI films. I remember keeping up to date with the concept art of this movie when it was still in pre-production – and one of the visual inspirations was the painting ‘The Swing’. That’s actually one of my favourite paintings – capturing the overly decorative and fancy style of the Rococo Period.


The art and animation is one of the few areas that I think this film actually outshines Frozen (yes I went there. I will probably go there again). Flynn climbs up the tower, but gets taken out with a sneaky frying pan from Rapunzel. After an amusing sequence of her trying to fit him in the closet, Rapunzel has another eureka moment; if she can easily subdue one ruffian, perhaps she might have a chance in the outside world. She also tries on the tiara in the satchel, not knowing it was meant for her after all. Gothel arrives back at the tower but she’s once again unreceptive to Rapunzel’s ideas of going to see the lanterns – snapping at her for the first time in the film. Gothel immediately back tracks and subtly tries to play it so that it’s her daughter’s fault for making her yell. But Rapunzel has a moment of rebellion; she asks Gothel to get her some new paints for her birthday. The trip will take three days – as in enough time for Rapunzel to sneak out to see the lanterns, and then sneak home. And she can use her hair to climb down!


Flynn comes to trussed up in Rapunzel’s hair. I guess when your hair is over seventy feet, you never need a rope or gag. She offers Flynn a deal: take her to see the lanterns, return her home safely and she’ll hand over the satchel he came with. Flynn is really reluctant since he has Wanted Posters all over the kingdom (badly drawn but still) and tries to discourage her with his ‘smoulder’. It’s an off day for him and the smoulder doesn’t work – which is a metaphor for exactly what you’re thinking. But Rapunzel eventually convinces him to agree by assuring that she never breaks any of her promises.

Rapunzle in Frozen2
Including attending the worst coronation ever.

As Rapunzel uses her hair as a bungee cord to escape the tower, she sings a reprise of “When Will My Life Begin?” – which is far more of a typical musical number than the first instance. But it conveys Rapunzel’s delight at finally being part of the outside world. But she quickly bounces between happiness and terror at how her mother would react to this. Although it’s played for laughs, it does show the disturbing effect that Gothel’s conditioning has had on the girl. Rapunzel still wants to see the lanterns however, even if she jumps at the first sound she hears in the woods. It just turns out to be a rabbit and Flynn is quick to make light of that. But we know better…

“Yeah, buddy, I *can* smell fear.”

It’s time to return to Maximus, who actually bumps into Gothel. Seeing a palace horse without a rider spooks her enough to go back to the tower. But of course Rapunzel isn’t there. Even if Gothel is a nasty piece of work, in this moment you do feel a little bit for the woman. It’s bound to be harrowing for a parent to come home and find their child missing. But Gothel also finds the hidden tiara, which spooks her even more. Flynn takes Rapunzel to a tavern called The Snuggly Duckling. It’s full of…

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Ruffians and thugs, the very thing Rapunzel is terrified of. But Flynn has good reason to be scared too, as they recognise him from his posters. Rapunzel appeals to their inner dreamers, prompting the song “I’ve Got A Dream” – where the various thugs and ruffians sing about their life’s ambitions. Such things include becoming a concert pianist, making a love connection, baking, sewing, knitting, miming, interior designing and collecting ceramic unicorns. Credit to this song, because it’s quite fun and bouncy. Flynn is forced to join in, and his dream is finding an island surrounded by piles of money. Rapunzel joins in too, and Gothel overhearing the singing is badly timed with “and with every passing hour, I’m so glad I left my tower”


But some of the ruffians had already sent for the royal guards, who arrive looking for Flynn. The ones who sang have been charmed by Rapunzel and show the duo a secret tunnel to escape. Unluckily for them, the guards brought Maximus with them – and he’s able to twig where they’ve gone. Flynn is actually able to fight off all the soldiers armed only with Rapunzel’s frying pan. But Maximus clearly is sick of these trained knights embarrassing themselves so he picks up a sword and duels Flynn himself.

He’s making you guys look worse every second.

Flynn is quite lucky his companion has a built in seventy-foot rope, and Rapunzel swings them to safety. Maximus ups the crazy factor by kicking a plank from the dam across the ravine to chase after them. Oh and I should probably also mention that the Stabbington Brothers have arrived too – and they’re after Flynn as well. But remember that Maximus kicked out a support beam to a dam? And what is usually found behind a dam?

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Flynn and Rapunzel go through a mine shaft, but the water continues to fill up. Rapunzel naturally freaks out and apologises that she’s as good as killed both of them. Flynn confesses that his real name is Eugene Fitzherbert. He figures that someone at least should know before they drown horribly. But as we’re only forty-seven minutes in, Rapunzel remembers that her hair glows when she sings. And since there’s over seventy feet of it, that’s a pretty good way to find an escape route.


Gothel comes across the Stabbington Brothers and tosses them the tiara. But if there’s one thing Gothel’s good at, it’s manipulation. She says she can give them the chance to get revenge on Flynn. Speaking of him, Rapunzel demonstrates her hair’s powers to heal a cut on his hand. She also reveals the backstory that Gothel gave her to keep her in the tower: that when she was younger, people tried to steal her hair to use for personal gain (Gothel just didn’t mention that said person *succeeded*). She deflects more questions by asking about Eugene Fitzherbert. It turns out he was an orphan, and Flynn Rider was a swashbuckling hero he read about in books. Eh, you wouldn’t be the first person to be named after a famous character.

Iceman’s first name is Bobby too. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

Rapunzel says that she likes the name Eugene better. Although he replies “you’d be the first”, he’s visibly touched. And since this is Rapunzel’s film, I guess we’ll have to call him that now too. But we have more important things to worry about: Gothel has found Rapunzel.


Gothel’s main plan is to convince Rapunzel that Eugene doesn’t like her and she’s just invented a romance in her head. She does so with a dark reprise of “Mother Knows Best”, which in my opinion is probably the strongest song in the film. Gothel suggests that Eugene is only being nice because he knows Rapunzel has the satchel – which she tosses to her. And that when she hands it over, he’ll leave her in an instant. If you think that reminds you of something, then you’re exactly right.


After she leaves, we see that she’s got the Stabbington Brothers on standby. The next morning, Eugene is woken by a soaking wet, enraged Maximus. Before he can unleash horse hell on him, Rapunzel calms Maximus down. She persuades the horse to be nice for one day so she can enjoy the lanterns. And so the unusual procession of horse, chameleon, wanted thief and long-lost princess head into Corona. First of all, Eugene gets a group of village girls to braid Rapunzel’s hair. Then they all get to enjoy the festival going on for the ‘Lost Princess’. Rapunzel even leads the other festival goers into a dance line, ironically becoming the centre of attention at a festival that’s really for her anyway. This is easily my favourite scene in the film, and it just has that magical Disney feel to it. It’s helped considerably by the stunning colours and the awesome track “Kingdom Dance” playing over it. My writing can’t do the scene justice, so here it is in full.

This scene is followed by the movie’s biggest tear jerker – and it’s a pretty understated one at that. We see Rapunzel’s parents, the King and Queen, releasing the first lantern. It’s the first time we see them in the film since Gothel kidnapped their daughter. The King especially looks so weary, and it’s clear that this is still so painful for him. It might be just my imagination, but this is possibly brought on by the fact that it’s the princess’s eighteenth birthday. The day his daughter legally becomes an adult – and he and his wife don’t get to share it with her. She’s now a grown woman and he has never known her. Definitely a huge improvement from the original tale, where the parents don’t give two shits about trying to find their daughter again.

See this face? This is the face of many shits being given.

And now, after a whole hour of build-up, Rapunzel finally gets to see the lanterns being sent out. The scene is set to the song “I See The Light”, which follows the same formula of “When Will My Life Begin” – playing as background music initially but the characters singing the last verse live. It works much better here. The song sort of acts as a double meaning; Rapunzel has now realised her dream of seeing the lanterns, but her ‘seeing the light’ is her realising that she doesn’t care about her mother’s warnings anymore – and hands Eugene the satchel. Eugene’s ‘seeing the light’ is of course realising that he has now fallen in love with Rapunzel. And this is conveyed beautifully when the two of them join hands and sing the last part of the song ‘live’. Credit of course goes to Mandy Moore, but I find myself getting really wowed by Zachary Levi’s singing. He won’t be winning Grammys but the heart and emotion he puts into this song makes it a winner. It is of course accompanied by the most beautifully animated part of the film. Once again, my writing can’t do it justice.

But things have to take a turn for the quite bad as Eugene notices the Stabbington Brothers signalling to him from the shore. He tells Rapunzel that he’ll be right back, leaving with the satchel. But the brothers don’t want the tiara anymore; they’ve now heard about “the girl with the magic hair” – cut to them advancing on Rapunzel, claiming that Eugene traded her to them for the tiara. Before they can attack her, Gothel appears to fight them off. So Gothel’s plan was to break Rapunzel’s heart and make her realise how better off she would be in the tower. Forget sending a huntsman to murder her or locking her in an attic; that is some insanely dark stuff. It’s especially freaky how Rapunzel goes crying into Gothel’s arms, now believing that this twisted shrew is the only one who cares for her.


It also turns out that Gothel sent Eugene into the arms of the palace guards, and he ends up in a jail cell. Back in the tower, Rapunzel is sadly in her room. But as she looks up at the ceiling, she has a eureka moment. Remembering the sun symbol from a flag in Corona, she realises that she subconsciously kept painting the same symbol onto her bedroom walls. She then remembers the tale of the lost princess of Corona: a girl stolen from her crib, and the King and Queen release lanterns every year as a tribute for her. The same day as Rapunzel’s birthday. And the princess had beautiful long golden hair, like Rapunzel. She immediately challenges Gothel about this – and the woman’s shocked reaction is all the confirmation she needs. She also guesses that Gothel was the one who got rid of Eugene. Mommy dearest reveals the fate in store for him…


Eugene sees the Stabbington Brothers in jail too and demands to know how they knew about Rapunzel’s hair. When one of them replies “it was the old lady”, Eugene figures out that Rapunzel’s mother has to have been behind it. That’s stretching suspension of disbelief a bit, but this is the third act and we need some forward momentum. We get it in the form of the Snuggly Duckling thugs! But wait until you find out who rallied them here in the first place.


I demand a spin-off where Maximus fights crime in Corona. This horse is the only one who gets shit done around here. He takes Eugene all the way to the tower. Things look good when Rapunzel throws her hair down – but he finds her bound and gagged! Gothel then stabs him from behind. There’s no blood on the dagger but I assure you that the wound is very serious. Rapunzel however says that she will never stop fighting or trying to escape from Gothel – unless she lets her heal Eugene. If she does that, then she’ll be Gothel’s forever. She promises. But as she goes to heal him, he takes a pane of glass and cuts off her hair!

And if he can do all of that with one pane of glass, he really should change careers.

I used to have a big problem with Eugene cutting the hair *before* Rapunzel healed him, thinking it was a bit of a stupid sacrifice. But eventually I realised the meaning of it; Rapunzel promised that once she healed him, she would go with Gothel forever. Rapunzel had earlier told Eugene that she never ever broke her promises. So cutting the hair before she could heal him was a way of making sure she would never be bound to Gothel again. If she can’t heal him, then the deal is never fulfilled – and Gothel has no right to her.

You’re forgiven, sir.

Rapunzel’s hair turns brown as soon as it’s lost the magic. As a result, Gothel rapidly ages. Some people have asked how this happens so suddenly, and why Eugene’s cut on his hand doesn’t re-open – or the Queen doesn’t become ill again. The most reasonable suggestion would be that the cut and the illness weren’t natural, while aging is. Rapunzel’s magic had healed the cut and gotten rid of the germs completely, while only holding the aging at bay. Since only going two days without the magic had caused Gothel to go quite grey, it looks as though she had to use it every day to maintain her youth. And since the film implies that Gothel could be hundreds of years old – her dress is more medieval than the 18th century garb everyone else is in – she appears to have just built up a debt of aging. So once the source to her youth is cut off, it all catches up with her. There’s a fan theory that says touching the hair while it was losing its power is why Gothel ages so rapidly. None other than Pascal the chameleon trips Gothel as she’s stumbling towards the tower window. What’s interesting is that, as the old woman falls to her death, Rapunzel instinctively throws her arms out to save her. Even though she had just found out exactly what Gothel had done her whole life, Rapunzel still feels something for the only mother she’s ever known.


With her powers gone, Rapunzel can no longer heal Eugene, and he dies there in the tower. Rapunzel cries over his body, tearfully singing the healing song in vain. But when her tears fall on him, it somehow activates the magic. Yeah…that’s kind of a cop-out. This is something that’s in the original tale; the prince is blinded and Rapunzel’s tears heal him. There it’s something of a Deus Ex Machina, but nobody really takes much notice because it’s a fairy tale. Here they don’t really foreshadow or explain why this happens. There are countless fan theories explaining it, so I’ll just suggest to look up one of them and pick whichever one you prefer.

I’ve got mine.

We wrap things up as Rapunzel is reunited with her parents and much celebration ensues. Eugene’s narration tells us that the Snuggly Duckling thugs ended up achieving all their dreams – and presumably all were pardoned for their petty crimes. The royal army finally copped on to something and put Maximus in charge. His first order of business was to replace the swords with frying pans. If you’re wondering whether or not the lovers stayed together – well this is a Disney movie not named Pocahontas. You do the math.


So Tangled marks entry number 50 in the Disney Animated Canon, and it also marks Disney’s return to success. As the saying goes, ‘if at first you don’t succeed…’ and any problems with The Princess & the Frog were rectified here. In the latter movie, Disney felt as if they were going into after school special territory with some of their moralising. I think the reason Tangled ended up as such a success is partially because it felt like a fun Disney film, updated to fit the changing values of the time – as opposed to a 90-minute lesson about working hard. And a lesson that they had already told – more efficiently I might add – in Enchanted. Rapunzel as a character is superior to Tiana in every possible way because she feels like a fun character, rather than a dull bore who reminds everyone to work hard every five minutes. Is Tangled a perfect movie? Actually it’s quite close to it. My attitude towards this movie has steadily gone up in the six years since it was released. Honestly when I first saw it, my reaction was that it was just okay. Maybe a 7/10 if I was being honest. Yet I’ve grown to appreciate it even more since then. Upon watching it for this review, I can’t recall enjoying a movie so much. So I have to ask myself if, now that Disney has finally made their Rapunzel movie – that I’d spent my childhood waiting for – did it do my favourite fairy tale justice? Yes, absolutely. You might say I now see the light. But no, this movie is not better than Frozen – just in case you were hoping I’d be on that bandwagon.


Grades gleam and glow, let your power shine…

*Story? This is actually a pretty great adaptation. Disney find a nice in-universe reason for all the Rapunzel tropes to exist – long golden hair, trapped in a tower for years, witch’s reason to want the girl etc. The story of this movie is damn near flawless. A

*Characters? Rapunzel is such a great character. What I love about her is that she’s not written to be a role model or an anvil about a particular message. She’s just a good character with her own arc. Eugene is a good enough lead too. As for the supporting characters, Maximus and Pascal say nothing but they’re lots of fun. Gothel makes for an intriguing villain. A+

*Performances? Mandy Moore is fantastic. She *is* Rapunzel and there’s no doubt about it. Zachary Levi is good as Flynn too. Donna Murphy gives us a fun enough take on Gothel. It’s odd that they’d cast Ron Perlman for this, because he doesn’t really do that much. A

*Visuals? I mentioned that ‘The Swing’ is one of my favourite paintings, and the movie’s art style is beautiful to look at. It looks like a hand-drawn animation brought to life. The colours, character models and set designs are exquisite. A+

*Special Effects? I’m not exactly an expert on animation but take a good look at Rapunzel’s hair. The technology to render that took over ten years to perfect. Rendering long hair in CGI is no easy feat, and the movie does it flawlessly. Likewise, with the water and fabrics. A

*Anything Else? The songs in the movie are its main downfall. Nice and pleasant to listen to, but none of them are absolutely must-have. Mandy Moore has a nice singing voice, as do Zachary Levi and Donna Murphy – so it’s a shame they weren’t given better material. C

We move from towers to entire castles, namely Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. It’s Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows next (Parts 1&2 actually. Yeah, I can do that).


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