Tangled is just about the only movie that we actually got up and went to see when it was in the theater, rather than waiting for an offer to review the eventual DVD, so mad props for the trailer which we watched on-line, and which was promising enough to get us out of the house and into the theater. Tangled is a lively addition to the Disney brand, visually interesting, with a combination of dry wit (doubtless aimed at adults) and slapstick humor (aimed at the junior movie-going audience), witty and wonderful music, the funniest wordless performance by an animal side-kick (Maximus the Horse) and the most purely gorgeous visual scene (that of the lanterns on the lake) ever conceived for an animated move. So, yes â€“ we liked, we liked very much â€“ this reworking of the Rapunzel tale, the story of a young girl with miraculously long golden hair, kept captive in a secret tower deep in the woods, by a witch who is pretending to be her mother. That was kind of a creepy element, actually â€“ the emotionally abusive, manipulative and controlling character of Mother Gothel … which might be something very hard to grasp and understand by very young children â€“ but it adds a whole other dimension for adults, watching an authority-figure chip away a childâ€™s esteem and self-assurance with casually-poisoned words disguised as affection and good humor.
Rapunzelâ€™s rescuer â€“ if she has not done a good bit already to rescue herself, in remaining an optimistic and intellectually curious person â€“ is not a prince, but an opportunistic thief, who climbs the tower and discovers her. She extracts, under pain of bashing him with her cast-iron skillet â€“ a promise that he will take her to that place from which she sees lights float up into the sky on her birthday, every year. So they go off, accompanied by her pet iguana, Pascal, and pursued by Maximus the Horse, who is motivated by an absolutely Javert-like passion to bring the thief to justice. This interestingly assorted pair is alternately hindered and helped by Rapunzelâ€™s amazing hair and a bevy of low-life habituÃ©s of a tavern called â€œThe Cuddly Ducklingâ€ . . . a seriously misnamed drinking establishment . . . or maybe not, because it is the excuse for the showstopper song, â€œI Have a Dream.â€ Really, who would expect that all those dastardly, villainous characters entertain such charming career goals?
Anyway â€“ charming and funny movie, although perhaps might distress the littler ones, or at the very least, cause them to wonder about parent-child relationships and ask some uncomfortable questions. The extras on the DVD version are a pair of storyboards of alternate beginnings. Since I do not have a Blu-ray player as of yet, not able to judge and rate the extras on the Blu-ray version. Really, is this an effort to get us to purchase Blu-ray players? Very transparent â€“ and in this current economic situation â€“ perhaps counterproductive; I canâ€™t afford to bag a perfectly good DVD player, just to watch the enriched package of extras. OTO, maybe Disney is being particularly canny in releasing movies in a DVD/Blu-ray combo package, counting on consumers eventually upgrading to a Blu-ray player . . . but keeping a standard DVD around for as long as it works. Tangled is available now on Amazon.com and from other commercial retail outlets.
Sgt. Mom is a free-lance writer and member of the Independent Authors Guild who lives in San Antonio and blogs at The Daily Brief. Her Adelsverein Trilogy is also available through Amazon.com. More about her books, including Daughter of Texas, due for release in April 2011 is at her website www.celiahayes.com.