Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review: Tangled

Aww...She looks so adorable I can't bring myself to put a sarcastic caption here

I saw Tangled with Jen, Lily and mom when we were down in Florida and we all really enjoyed it.

Glen Keane is largely responsible for the look and feel of the movie. Keane is the son of Bil Keane, of Family Circus notoriety and the basis for Billy in the strip. We're pretty firmly in Bizarro World territory when someone involved in any way with the Family Circus is actually responsible for anything good, but that really seems to be the case here. I even liked the way he described his intention to make the computer "bend its knee to the artist" instead of having the limitations of the computer dictate the look of the film.

He also rather cogently observed: "I think that's what Disney needs to do right now. No one else can do it. We should not be embarrassed or make excuses for doing a fairytale."

I can't find the article in question, but I read something that suggested that the project was perceived as going off the rails early on by the higher ups, who threw up their hands and said "Just do whatever you want with this movie", and the filmmakers, given free reign, created something magical.

The plot is pretty straightforward, and I found that appealing to me at the point I'm at in my life. When I was younger, I wanted to see every possibility explored as exhaustively as possible, but now I can also appreciate the value of a laser-focused narrative like this one.

The plot cleaves pretty closely to the fairy tale. Rapunzel is kidnapped as a baby by a witch who looks an awful lot like Susan Sarandon in Enchanted (I don't think that's a coincidence, as Tangled was at one point intended as a sequel to Enchanted) and raised in a tower. Dashing thief Flynn Rider appears in the tower and they go on an adventure to find the origins of the floating lanterns that are released every year on her birthday.

I won't get into details about the plot, because it's so straightforward, and my enjoyment of the movie came not from what was done, but how it was done. Rapunzel seemed so absolutely full of joy with everything she did that I couldn't help but be swept up in her excitement too.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how gorgeous the movie looked. The visual style for the movie was modeled after Jean-Honoré Fragonard's "The Swing" and they had a cohesive theme to the visuals and the technology to bring it alive.



The hair looked like real hair (and Rapunzel had a lot of hair!). Every scene was alive with detail, every expression was alive with life. I really dug the character designs for the Stabbington Brothers too. (And how can you not love that name?)

Also, I can take or leave Mandy Moore, but her performance mirrors Rapunzel's expressions and really is the perfect match for the character. The songs were pretty decent, (We especially liked "I've Got a Dream") but I don't think there are any real classics in the mix. Flynn was a fun character too, and he's cut from the same cloth as Cary Elwes' bard in The Bard's Tale.

We saw it in 3-D, which had some really nice features. Specifically, I remember a butterfly fluttering in from the foreground, and it looked like it was really flying on to the screen from within the theater.

We thought Lily would be concerned about the kidnapping, but she accepted a reassurance that mommies and daddies take good care of their babies and they wouldn't let anyone take them away. "Yeah!" she said, "and if someone tried to steal a baby, the baby would wake up and burp on them!"

And I can't think of anything to add to that!

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