Tangled, just doesn’t cut it…


I love animation films. The thought of the care and attention poured over each frame reminds me of a simpler time when just the sight of the sparkles flying over that most majestic of castles during the opening credits would get me excited. However, with the invention of modern technology and a more ‘grown-up me’, I now know that it takes a single click of a mouse and several hundred CGI programmers to churn out a feature. It takes the romance out of the idea altogether and I need something more than Tinkerbell zipping over a jumped-up Barbie house.
Tangled is the latest offering from Disney; it’s a take on the Brothers Grimm fairy-tale, Rapunzel. After receiving healing powers from a magical flower, the baby Princess Rapunzel is kidnapped from her parent’s palace in the middle of the night by Mother Gothel. The old hag knows that the flower’s magical powers are now growing within Rapunzel’s golden hair and, to stay young, she must lock the princess in her hidden tower. Now a teenager, Rapunzel is bored of the confines of her tower prison and wants to experience the world outside, and, most importantly, see the lights that float by her window each year on her birthday. Cue the entrance of charming bandit Flynn Ryder who stumbles upon Rapunzel whilst being chased by the law. Sound familiar? That’s because it is. Remember not so long ago when Princess Jasmine was being held captive in her own lonely tower and a charming thief came to rescue her on a magic carpet? Aladdin was great. It had all the hallmarks of a successful Disney cartoon; beautifully rendered scenes, catchy tunes and a cameo by Robin Williams playing the wise cracking genie.

Tangled‘s animation is beautifully realised. We expect nothing less from the studio. As you watch from behind your 3D glasses, you just want to reach out and be a part of the world before you. However, this is where my praise for the film ends. Ryder has none of the charm of Aladdin (I certainly would rather the man on the magic carpet come rescue me) and although Rapunzel’s sidekick chameleon has its own appeal, nothing can top Williams and his manic performance.

However, the main complaint that I have with the film is that it lacks that magic  ingredient, the feeling of awe and wonder you leave the cinema with after seeing a Disney flick. With The Lion King I could still hum the tunes from beginning to end long after seeing it. In fact, if required, I can belt out ‘I Just Can’t Wait to be King’ on demand. After leaving the screening of Tangled however, I had a rather odd feeling that I’d been robbed of my chance to see some singing animals.

Tangled is a poor man’s Pixar film. No longer is it simply good enough to produce a lazy adaptation of a fairy-tale. Characters have to represent something of the real problems that the younger generation faces rather than simply wanting to run away and find prince charming. Up, Wall-E and even Monsters Inc have moral dilemmas and life lessons that even the youngest audiences can grasp with a little explanation.

With so much out there for families and children to choose from, Tangled is one that I would suggest giving a miss. It simply tries too hard and ends up tying itself in knots, leaving just enough hair to hang itself out to dry with.

Good – The visuals are nice and full of rose-tinted goodness that is customary Disney.

Bad – With so much else out there, a lazy adaptation of the fairy tale doesn’t cut it.



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  1. Lion King and Aladdin good Disney films? Now I’ve heard everything.

    The world desperately needs a new Ralph Bakshi. Or a new John Kricfalusi but hopefully less of a sociopath.

    • Hayley Taulbut on

      Aladdin and The Lion King are great Disney films!! They were childhood classics, closely followed by Sword in the Stone and Robin Hood…

      • For my money the best Disney films are Fantasia, Dumbo and Bambi. Been a while since I’ve seen any of them though. I also kind of like Peter Pan and 101 Dalmations and have a soft spot for The Jungle Book despite its flaws.

        I did like Robin Hood as as a kid, but I did see it recently with some stoner friends (who considered it one of the best films to watch while high) and found it god-awful. Even many of artist who worked on it thought it was dreadful, as they did with Sword in the Stone.

  2. Nick I can tell you’re going to love my new article on the Disney renaissance aha…

    I loved Tangled – and although it’s CG rendered, and ostensibly aimed at kids, I wouldn’t say the story has a huge amount in common with a Pixar film. It’s very much in the Disney musical/european fairytale tradition. Plus they actually found a way to make the 3D a little more engaging.

    Agree that the music isn’t too memorable (the voices are great though). And you miss out Maximus, who is a massive legend 🙂 each to his own I guess!

  3. I think Teddy was in a bad mood when he saw Tangled! I saw it with him and have ever since been fighting its cause (not to much avail I might add!). Yes, it’s no Pixar (Monsters Inc, Toy Story etc.), but a lot of stuff isn’t but still impresses, The Princess and The Frog, for example. I’ll continue to try and wear him down – because his opinion is wrong!!

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