I’ve always been a Disney’s child. Right from watching re-runs of Pinochio from our prized cassette collection or parents taking us from the suburbs to South Bombay to catch shows of Aladdin’s adventures, a dose of Disney was always the best entertainment. Cartoon/Animated flicks are one of my favorite genres, cause like the great Walt Disney say, “Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive”
After a semi-satisfactory attempt at co-producing a South Indian feature ‘Anaganaga O Dheerudu’ which released last week, (read review here), Disney is back to the world it knows best. Tangled is the fresh-retelling of Rapunzel’s tale, with a contemporary twist.
Snatched from her parents when she was a toddler, our princess Rapunzel (voice Mandy Moore) grows up captivated in a tower under the watchful eye of Gothel (Donna Murphy). However this is a 2011 version, so no more of the sitting lonesome, staring out the window, singing to birds or waiting for prince charming to jump to the rescue. The new-day Rapunzel is spunky, sassy and Disney’s princess with a fiery attitude. Master Stroke! While our princess believes Gothel is her real mother, the old crone uses Rapunzel’s hair which possesses magical powers to keep her young forever. Every year on her birthday Rapunzel watches from her window, thousands of lanterns lighting the sky. Although she feels a strong connection to them, what she doesn’t know is that the lanterns are lit by her birth parents in the hope that she will return to them someday. On her 18th birthday Rapunzel expresses her desire to go see the outside world, which her kidnapper mother dismisses immediately. When one fine day, a charming good hearted thief, Flynn (Zachary Levi) having stolen a tiara, makes the tower his hideout. Rapunzel strikes him a deal – she will return his stolen booty, if he accompanies her on a journey to the outside world. As the trip brings them closer, the tower is left way behind, hidden secrets stumble out and a new world is discovered.
Despite its updated modern day make-over, Tangled stays successfully close to its old-fashioned territory. The blend of old plus new flavours in story-telling ensures Tangled isn’t stolen of its nostalgic moments which it wears very well coupled with contemporary tweaks. The movie is abundant with clever dialogues, magical surprises, enjoyable melody and spectacular visual highlights together present a heartwarming story full of cheer. *SPOILER* The scene when Rapunzel’s hair lights up when she sings or the one with thousand lantern reflection on the lake is one of the most gorgeous sequences I’ve seen in a long time. Though it looked like a magnificent painting splashed on a large canvas; that it was CGI is an indeed clever trick of the eye.
Both Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi do excellent jobs at bringing an infectious vivacity to the characters. While Moore maintains an earthy appeal combined perfectly with a feisty teen-spirit, Zachary milks his moments with a smarmy charm that makes him irritable yet likeable. Where Rapunzel and Flynn take care of the youth; beauty and romance ideals, comic; cuteness relief comes in the form of Pascal – Rapunzel’s pet chameleon and Maximus – white horse. What sets them delightedly apart is that in this case they purely emote. No talking animals these, but with delightful facial expressions, and hilarious actions, the two make for the best undisputed animated sidekicks flaunting stellar personalities with élan. And I loved how multi-layered Grothel was made to be. Between her own selfish desires to keep Rapunzel close, to being slightly envious, to emoting the best motherly behavior to trick Rapunzel into believing she is loved. She is dynamic, not the cruelest of Disney’s lady villains, but despicable and strangely funny in her own way with offcourse a great work by Donna Murphy providing perfect voice-overs.
Tangled is an auspicious milestone as Disney’s 50th venture since 1937’s Snow white & Seven Dwarfs, and I can happily announce that it’s a perfect choice to be taking the prestigious legacy forward. Never going overboard with its quota of sweetness, the film brings back innocent sincerity that has been missing from animated flicks in a LONG, LONG time. It invokes a surreal feeling that makes you want to reach out and touch the events onscreen.
In my view, Tangled marks its own, standing tall amongst Disney’s traditional best animated movies from the 90’s. This was a true blue treat for me and I’m thrilled that Disney continues to engage its adult audience along with doing a fabulous job at enchanting its target younger viewers. A complete family extravagance. Recommended.
P: S: All in all I loved this films to bits. If anyone’s considering an early present, DVD would be fantastic.