Posted August 31, 2010 by Marcia Degia - Publisher in Films


After it apparently gave up on making worthwhile movies and instead
resorted to releasing a string of sacrilegious straight-to-DVD sequels
to its fine back catalogue of animated classics, Disney lost a lot of
respect from fans, especially with Pixar now taking over as top family
filmmakers. But, following a top management shake-up and the release of
last year’s critically acclaimed The Princess and the Frog, it seems
that the Mouse House has rediscovered its magic and is now back doing what it has always done best: retelling traditional fairytales with marvellous imagination.

Taking on the story of Rapunzel (but changing the name to ‘Tangled’
mid-way through production so as to seem less girly), Disney add as much
colour to the story as it does to the screen. When baby princess
Rapunzel displays special healing powers through her golden locks, she
is kidnapped by the wicked Mother Gothel (Murphy) who raises her as her own daughter, keeping her locked away from the world in a secret tower and using her hair to maintain a young appearance. After several years pass, Rapunzel (Moore)
is now a feisty teen with enormously long blonde hair who is unaware of
her royal heritage and spends her days bored and daydreaming about life
outside of her room.

Our story gets underway when Flynn Rider (Levi), a devilishly charming thief, stumbles upon Rapunzel’s tower and the pair strike up a deal in which he agrees to take her to the source of thousands of lights that are released every year on her birthday.
Along the way, the bickering duo begin to warm to each other as they
face obstacles from the Royal Guard, Flynn’s old partners-in-crime the
Stabbington Brothers and Mother Gothel herself, who is outraged at
Rapunzel’s bid for freedom.

With rich blonde hair flowing in almost every scene against a
traditional fairytale forest-green background, Disney ventures into a
stunning new animation style with glorious technicolour. While the
comedy in the film takes an obvious cue from its Pixar counterparts, the
general feel is still very much classic Uncle Walt.
Never is this
more evident than during a climactic sequence when the screen is lit up
with thousands of floating lanterns drifting through the air and
mirrored in the reflection of a lake. It’s a scene that trumps even the
most beautiful of traditional Disney moments for sheer enchantment and

As for the voice talent, former teen popstar Mandy Moore lends her
lungs to the modernised damsel in distress and her vocal capabilities
elevate the many musical numbers littered throughout the film, which,
with sweet and catchy melodies, again help to establish the
time-honoured Disney tone. With impressive singing of his own Zachary Levi, from TV’s Chuck, concentrates on injecting comedy into the film
as the handsome-but-knows-it Flynn who, in his shallow pursuit for
wealth, gets taught humility by his long-haired co-star. Together, the
characters run-through a tried and tested formula for odd-couple
romance, but the hilarious script never fails to keep the film feeling
fresh and interesting.

In this new era for Disney movies, Tangled can be held up as a shining example
of how the studio has found its feet again. Of course, Pixar still rule
the animated roost for now but, just as the two companies work
side-by-side, this film was never meant to compete with Woody, Buzz and
co in the same way that, say, Dreamworks animation does. Instead Disney has just remembered how to do what no other studio can do: make purely magical Disney films.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia has worked in the media industry for more than 10 years. She was previously Acting Managing Editor of Homes and Gardens magazine, Publishing Editor at Macmillan Publishers and Editor of Pride Magazine. Marcia, who has a Masters degree in Screenwriting, has also been involved in many broadcast projects. Among other things, she was the devisor of the documentary series Secret Suburbia for Living TV.