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Movie Review: Tangled – Epic Journey Out the Front Door

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Disney’s new movie Tangled is a delight for anyone who’s overcome fear to break out of a bad situation. Disney has long been a voice that tells of our humanity, and this movie takes us once again to the center of our human condition. The combination of a simple message, spectacular songs, and mesmerizing animation makes it a winner in my book.

There are two relatively new directors: Nathan Greno, writer on Meet the Robinsons, and Byron Howard, director of Bolt. Though new to the scene, their accomplishment in this film is noteworthy. Their direction on Tangled amounts to a film that audiences will treasure on many levels.

There are not many characters in this movie, but in this case less is more. Mandy Moore does a stellar job as the big-eyed Rapunzel. The nuances of her voice match the “painted” style of animation very well. I was drawn in to watch carefully on extended speaking scenes because the syncopation is flawless. Because of such excellent animation, these characters are real to us from the opening scene. By the end we think they are our friends, and we are invested in them because the movie grows to prove quite deep in its concept.

The basic story is that Rapunzel, a baby princess, is kidnapped by a miserly old woman. The old woman then casts a spell from the magic flower into Rapunzel’s hair and the hair keeps the old woman young. As Rapunzel grows, she is kept captive in a tower until she starts to get curious about the outside world. Through a rescue by Flynn Rider, a prince charming type voiced by newcomer Zachary Levi, she eventually breaks free of the castle. There is a lot of psychology to this escape since she has never been outside of the castle and it is food for thought to be sure. I could relate with a lot of it, as I am sure the general audiences will be able to as well.

Leaving the tower is a metaphor for breaking away from one’s comfort zone. This is universal to the human condition. We are all held captive at times by forces that would seek to destroy us; Rapunzel fights against this force and wins. As she does, the audience cheers her on!  She breaks away from imagined prison bars and become free. What better message could there be for people in a  recession-burdened 2010 audience? If you enjoy getting tangles undone, this movie is for you!

The movie is in 3D, although I saw it in 2D, and there is amazing attention to detail. As I watched the tiny nuances in the characters’ expressions, I realized it must have take many hours and much money to get this movie completed. Whether or not you like the story, this movie is a gem to watch; even in 2D, it’s as if you can reach out and touch the characters. It is fitting that one director worked on Meet the Robinsons, an incredible piece that will stand the test of time as great family entertainment. Tangled is the same; Disney did what it does best: it captured humanity.

Disney gets back to what it does best in Tangled. The story encapsulates human experience and makes the viewer feel what the protagonost feels. It was made to inspire, and not just entertain. I believe many people will find personal inspiration from this film.

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About Damien Riley

I'm a movie fan from way back when I first saw "Pete's Dragon." In 1977, it sealed the deal when I saw "Star Wars." I write about the movies I see, whether I like them or not. Sometimes I like them more than words can express! I also write editorials on various topics once in a while. Check out all my online writing at my blog Riley Central.
  • I thought the movie Entangled was fantastic and saw it with my boys, Rapunzel’s “mother” was among the most passive aggressive and cruel villains from any film.

    The story was enjoyable, my boys loved the film and it fits right in with their collection. I read somewhere that Entangled was to be Disney’s last 2D animation film and I hope this isn’t true.