Untangle Tangled

The animated film that sounds like a shampoo commercial is not your usual Disney fairytale. The Grimm’s tale has evolved into a modern teenage story. Though Tangled keeps some Disney conventions of fairytale films such as preaching kids to catch their dreams and the smart and nice animals (Who would have thought a chameleon can be cute and sweet?), it does not look or sound medieval at all. You do not hear the haunting voice of the Beauty and the Beast’s narrator. What you hear is a happy-go-lucky guy telling a story. Their dialogue uses the language of today’s generation.  And how Rapunzel behaves reflects a typical 18-year-old girl in our time. Rapunzel is bubbly, adventurous and full of energy.

The graphics and the entire appearance on screen are terrific as expected. The characters, including the villain look child-friendly. They look like dolls with big wide eyes. Their movements including their facial expressions are fluid and very authentic. Of course, these come in package of a 3D animation.

With regard to music, Tangled’s songs have sing-along melodies. This is because ofAlan Menken, the composer of Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. Mandy Moore’s semi-pop voice fit well with Rapunzel’s character. Donna Murphy’s theatrical voice makes Mother Gothel a stern and loving mother. According to Richard Corliss (Time Magazine), the absence of animals and teapots singing shows the potential of Tangled to be a Broadway hit.

Two thumbs up for the new Disney characters. Tangled reinvented the female heroine, Rapunzel. In contrast with other Disney princesses who are passive and gentle, she is assertive and aggressive. Though Flynn Rider tries to save her in the tower, she fights to the best she can and she is involved in every action scene. Flynn Rider’s bad boy looks suits to the new definition of ‘prince charming.’ But, Tangled seems to give insufficient history of Flynn Rider.  Though it is fine to have bandit guy as a male protagonist like Aladdin, there must be somehow a justification or a disclaimer why he robbed.  What remains in kids’ memory is that the princess fell in love with a bandit.

With the mother-and-daughter relationship of Rapunzel and Mother Gothel, there is a question of appropriateness for children. Mother Gothel is not portrayed as a very demonic woman. Though she showed her true color as a wicked and selfish woman in the end, she acts like a concerned and strict mother. She is not like Cinderalla’s step mother or Snow white’s step mom. She raised Rapunzel like her own child. She lets her paint, let her read books, and let her bake tarts, and likes her to sing. It might develop some ideas to children that they could have better mothers and that if they are grounded by their mothers, they might think their mothers are evil.

Another question: Do you remember your past as an infant when you look at familiar symbols or objects? Rapunzel finds out that she is the lost princess when she notices some drawings and symbols that reminded her of her royalty. Yes, Tangled is a children story and is a fiction but there should be some significant and logical reasons on the whys of the story. Learning your family through paintings on the wall shows some lack of creativity.

Nevertheless, the comedy and the 3D aspect of the movie can keep your interest in the movie. Children like to watch Rapunzel brushing her 70 feet blonde hair and how she uses her hair in action scenes. The bright colors and the magical landscape fill your eyes’ delight. It is definitely a refreshing treat for a family date.

Tangled will be shown in Philippine cinemas on February 2.