Friday, 28 January 2011


Old is new...

Stuck in a secret tower for almost 18 years of her life, Rapunzel has been lead to believe that her special hair is a treasure which should be guarded from the world. She has never left the tower ever since being locked away, but this changes when Flynn, a thief, enters her life.

The classic tale of Rapunzel has many variations and Disney has decided to add their take to the tale by imbuing Rapunzel's hair with the ability to grant health and youth. It is through this very change that allows Disney to retread a narrative formula they used so effectively during their golden age of animation: the young princess at odds against an older, yet wicked, woman. This is introduced early in the story and constant interaction between Rapunzel and Mother Gothel ensures the audience never forgets the tyranny that has taken place. Tangled is, without a doubt, a story of self-discovery, and both Rapunzel and Flynn are evident of this growth. Naturally, this is more obvious through Rapunzel, and it comes as a breath of fresh air that Disney has allowed one of their princesses to act her age. Gone are the mature thinking and acting lead women of older stories as Rapunzel is childish, but ultimately charming. The self-discovery story arc does feel undeveloped as the credits roll, but thankfully the narrative is filled with symbolic gestures, such as the visual connection between lanterns and Rapunzel's hair, and life lessons for both children and adults alike. This is all bolstered by some strong humour that is never overused resulting in the narrative being a highlight of the film.

The voice actors do not disappoint as each is convincing as their respective character. Moore is delightful in displaying Rapunzel as a teenage girl who learns to be independent; Levi brings charisma to Flynn; while Donna Murphy ensures that Gothel is villainous but one who can manipulate that very label.

For the most part, the computer imagery achieves the desired goal of 3D variation of Disney 2D animation. Colour is rich, characters and animals are enjoyable to watch, and the complete sense of wonder is indeed present. If watched in the 3D perspective, the animation does slightly come to life but it never overly used and feels minimally underdeveloped. If there is a slight flaw to be found in the animation it would the occurrence of what appears to be unfinished textures. Many boulders, for instance, look rough at times, but this is thankfully uncommon.

This is a Disney animation through and through so the lack of sex, nudity and language is expected. Violence is tame and at times even comical, ensuring the usual Disney animation that kids can enjoy.

Tangled is a true gem for Disney and animation in general. While it lacks the overall appeal that has made Pixar animations such a treat, it is nevertheless a step forward for Disney as they retread the type of animation that made them so famous. There a few graphical niggles and the story never quite reaches the promising depth suggested by the material, but these are minor problems in what is largely an entertaining and pleasing animated venture.


Screen date: 28 January 2011
Release date: 28 January 2011