Review Of Tangled


Sometimes hitting the multiplex just isn’t in the cards. That’s when cable, the web and streaming step in to provide an instant movie fix. But how to separate the wheat from the chaff? I’m happy to help; every week I’ll pick a flick and see if it’s worth your time. This week? “Tangled”

Cast and Crew of Tangled


  • Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore)
  • Flynn Rider (voiced by Zachary Levi)
  • Mother Gothel (voiced by Donna Murphy)
  • Pascal
  • Maximus
  • The Pub Thugs


  • Directors: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard
  • Writers: Chris Sonnenburg (screenplay), Nathan Greno, Byron Howard (story)
  • Producers: Roy Conli
  • Composers: Alan Menken

Tangled takes the New Disney Girl that debuted in Princess and the Frog and combined her with their tried-and-true studio formula, creating a heroine that is right in step with the new millennium. It’s a fun, beautiful way to spend a few hours, whether you’re young or old.

Rapunzel is your typical teenager; she’s got an overbearing mom that won’t let her be, a bff that has her back, and a burning desire to see the world. Oh, and her hair is about a half a mile long, and it’s magic. Sure puts that bit of acne freshman year in perspective, doesn’t it? But mom has an ulterior motive; she’s not actually Rapunzel’s mom. Y’see, Mother Gothel is actually a witch that had been using a magical flower to give herself youth and beauty. But one day it was discovered and given to a queen that was sick, and about to give birth…to Rapunzel, of course. Mother G stole the princess, and has been keeping her — all the while telling Rapunzel that they are mother and daughter — all these years. Rapunzel heading out to the big, wide world? Uh, not so much, if Mother G has anything to say about it. Cue the handsome thief that uses Rapunzel’s tower as a hidey-hole to avoid being arrested (for stealing a crown from the palace. Wanna guess who’s crown that is?)

Tangled was pushed as “not your average fairytale”, and Disney strived to achieve that difference (something they missed in Princess and the Frog, which is an echo of what has gone before, skin coloring and delightful jazzy songs notwithstanding). Here, they put a spin on the characters, making them more than the usual stock “princess”, “prince/hero” and “sidekick”. Rapunzel is a princess, true; but despite her fear of the unknown, she ventures out, and gets into the thick of things. The token dude is not a prince, but a thief that ends up having to do more growing up than the naive princess. And the sidekick…well, the sidekick is still a cute little animal, but man is he cute. He’s Pascal, a chameleon that doesn’t really provide comic relief — the story isn’t all that scary — but does manage to fuss and worry about our heroine in his own adorable way. The real sidekick twist is in a horse that can wield a sword in his teeth, and very nicely thank you (take that, Samson! Bet Prince Charming is rethinking his mount right about now.) Oh, and the horse ain’t on the side of our prince, er thief. The horse wants to send him to the pokey. Not what you’d call a faithful steed….

The songs in Tangled aren’t of The Lion King calibre, but then again, what is? Still, singer/actress Mandy Moore, who voices Rapunzel, brings “When Will My Life Begin” to beautiful life, and Tony Award-winning actress Donna Murphy (the voice of Mother Gothel) does Broadway proud with “Mother Knows Best”. As always, Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin) works wonders with the musical score, but this time keeping the songs in the background so the story itself can shine. Luckily the story and the voice actors are engaging enough to want to follow along. The actors sound game, and there are enough twists on the usual fairy tale to keep viewers guessing, if not about the ending (hey, it’s a fairy tale, there’s gonna be a Happily Ever After) then the road the characters take getting there.

The most beautiful thing about Tangled is the art itself. Whether you’re a dyed in the wool hand-drawn animation fan or a lover of CGI, Tangled has something you’ll love. Yes, it’s digitally done, but there’s a feel of the old-school hand drawn animation to it. The result is more luster, less flat, two-dimensional panel drawings (which may be beautiful, but isn’t very flexible.) In Tangled, the images zoom by, and you’re there every step of the way. My favorite scenes are the ones where the King and Queen, never giving up hope that their daughter is still out there, release thousands of lanterns on her birthday. These lanterns bob through the air and glow so beautifully it’s tough not to reach out to try to catch one. Instead I chose to float along with the lanterns, mesmerized by the glow. That pretty much sums up Tangled, a beautiful, airy treat that brings the wonder and joy back to children’s animation.

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