Tangled is the modern retelling of the Rapunzel story, but it is in the same mode as the older fairy tale cartoons, not a snarky retelling of a fairytale as in the Shreck series, or a sad morality tale like the Toy story series. Being made by the Disney folks, it follows the “Disney princess” theme, of strong, beautiful damsels in distress who are hoping for a prince to help them (but are also pretty good at taking care of themselves, thank you).
But except for a few scenes, it is only marginally better than the “Barbie Princess” series, and one can almost see the producers writing the film, not to make children open eyed with wonder, but merely figuring how to make enough kids see it so they can sell toys. Merchandizing, merchanzing, as Yogurt in Spaceballs told Luke, that’s where the real money is.
And voila, here it is: Rapunzel the doll (“Her large eyes & freckles say “I am my own person” unlike other disney tangled toys does NOT look like a Barbie. Jointed wrists so she can paint!”)…also Rapunzel the baby, Rapunzel the “my friend” size (i.e. full sized) and Rapunzel the doll that sings. There are also action figures of the characters, and a play set, and of course Rapunzel wigs and costumes.
So how is the movie?
Well, there is this magic flower that a witch uses to stay young, but it is taken to heal the pregnant queen, so voila, although the flower is dead, the baby girl is born with magic golden hair. The hair will cure any illness, even old age.
The witch, having given up on botox, needs the princess to keep her young and beautiful (well, not beautiful but at least not too scary looking).
So the witch steals the baby and raises her, but when she gets older, the girl is jailed in a tower. She has only one wish: To get a better look at the “floating lights” that appear every year on her birthday.
No, says evil witch, the world is bad, I forbid you to leave. Arrives a thief, and suddenly she has someone to protect her, so Rapunzel arranges for Mama to go on a trip, and she climbs down and enters the big wicked world.
If this is boring you, well, the first half hour of the movie is boring. The “exciting” chases are cliches, the witch is not wicked enough to hate, and one only wonders why this abused and manipulated girl is so self confident, and if she was so self confident, why didn’t she sneak out at night once in awhile when witch mama was asleep.
At about a half hour into the movie, they enter a den of thieves, and Rapunzel asks them “don’t you have a dream too?” and voila, there is actually a fairly funny song that will wake you up.
But after that, the chases are routine until the scene where Rapunzel and her friend finally get to town, and the magic lanterns are sent into the air. The reason for the festival is to honor the lost princess, at which Rapunzel puts two and two together and almost figures out she is the lost princess.
More chases, boyfriend in trouble, witch appears again, boyfriend is dying, and Rapunzel wants to cure him with her hair, but the witch won’t let her, until she promises to return with the witch only if she lets her cure him….plot twist here, and a happily ever after ending. Although the thief is so nerdy, one wishes she had waited awhile to find someone a bit more interesting.
So should you see the movie? My granddaughter thought it was cool. So if you have young girls between ages 5 and 11, take them to it.
Leave the boys at home, and anyone over aged 12 can wait for it when it hits Disney channel.
I give it a 3 out of 5 stars.
Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines.