24 Nov, 2010
Tangled - not a review, merely a few thoughts
Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy
A couple of weeks ago my family received an invitation to attend a special screening of Walt Disney Pictures’ “Tangled.”
Before I go much further I’d like to make two observations: all screenings, even special screenings at 10:00 a.m. in the morning, need to have popcorn available to the people who attend said screenings. I didn’t realize how deeply entrenched my need for popcorn is until I realized there was none to be had. Also, the Coliseum needs to hire some nicer people to collect tickets at the theatre doors. Having a staff member play the tough and vaguely threaten your family with instant expulsion for using a cellphone (not that we would do that) doesn’t make for a very pleasant experience. I get it, ok? And no, I’m not carrying a videocamera. I AM A MOM, and besides, I really don’t think that videocameras have the ability to RECORD 3D MOVIES.
Tangle is Disney’s 50th full-length animated feature. I was eager to go. I am a fan of Disney. I think it’s easy for a person like me to be cynical about Disney as a mega marketing machine, sucking young children into its shiny vortex, but I’ve thought long and hard about it and I’ve decided that Disney is ok. I can choose not to allow the Disney Princesses figure prominently in my children’s lives. I can say no to all of that, but the undeniable truth is that Disney loves kids and they do it right. They hire the smartest and most talented people for whatever Disney undertakes; whether they’re making a movie, building a theme park, or hiring staff to populate those theme parks. Disney knows kids, and kids love Disney.
Tangled is a modernized version of Rapunzel. Rapunzel, if you recall, is a story about a girl with long hair who is trapped in a tower by an evil witch. It is one of many old stories that was collected and adapted by the Brothers Grimm. And like many of those stories, it’s a little bit scary. Their version includes unusual pregnancy-related food cravings, blindness, possibly sex, and other dark things that are difficult to explain to The Very Young. (Read a great synopsis of Rapunzel at Wikipedia.)
I know a lot of people have issues with Disney taking stories and making them their own. I don’t have a problem with this. I think it’s up to the parents to decide which stories to read to their children.
The Disney version goes something like this: When the kingdom’s most wanted (and very charming) bandit Flynn Rider (voice of Zachary Levi) is forced to hide out in a mysterious tower, he’s taken hostage by Rapunzel (voice of Mandy Moore), a teenager with 70-feet of magical, gorgeous golden hair. (There’s a great backstory about the hair, which includes - as you may have guessed - an evil witch.) As it turns out Flynn and Rapunzel strike a deal they set off on an adventure together. There’s a horse. And a chameleon. And some unexpected twists in the story.
Aaaannnnd that’s all I’m sayin’.
It’s a story with broad appeal. You don’t have to worry that little boys won’t enjoy this film. It’s not just a princess movie. (Although there’s no denying that Toys R Us are eagerly stocking plenty o’ Rapunzel dolls - with brushes, combs and hair accessories! - just in time for Christmas.) There is plenty of adventure here, some fighting, a few thugs (a few of whom turn out to be good guys) and lots of fun and good humour for the whole family. And a horse. OMG, the horse was probably my favourite part of this movie. I would go see it again, just to watch the horse.
Mark didn’t think he’d like the movie - in fact, he came close to begging off - but he liked it too.
Here’s the trailer:
A couple of thoughts and questions:
- I liked Rapunzel as a character. She’s young, she’s brave, she’s curious and intelligent. And she knows how to use a frying pan (and it’s not in the way that you think.) But here’s a question, why do princess eyes have to be drawn so unnaturally large all the time, whereas prince eyes are fairly normal sized??
- The witchy character in Rapunzel looks mildly middle-eastern (at least this was Mark’s observation). Look at this picture. (Those big eyes again!) I’m not sure I’d go so far, but she certainly was darker than our blond and fair heroine. I wish Disney could break out of this stereotype.
- The film really tapped in to a couple of deeper issues, especially around mothers and daughters. Should Rapunzel question authority and listen to her (adopted and witchy) mother, why or why not? I’m trying not to overthink this part too much. Gah!
- The animation is spectacular. What they do with her hair for example, is simply amazing. We saw the 3D version, and although some people criticize 3D I think it was put to really good use. It wasn’t overwhelming or overdone … i.e. 3D for the sake of 3D. It just added a remarkable depth to the film that made the whole experience that much better.
- Let’s talk music. There’s almost always a soundtrack in a Disney animation. Sometimes it’s overdone (I’m thinking about Tarzan here. PHIL COLLINS. No!) and other times it just fits. I think this one falls in the latter. (Mark disagrees. But I like the music! Don’t you?)
- I cried. There I said it. I CRIED THREE TIMES. The mark of a good movie is to make you laugh and cry. Or both. This did both for me.
Anyway, thank you Disney for the tickets!
I do recommend seeing Rapunzel while it’s at the theatre. So go!
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