“Tangled” takes adventure to new lengths

By Alicia LaRosa

The long awaited, highly anticipated, 50th animated film brought to theaters from Walt Disney Studios, “Tangled,” is a movie full of dazzling merriment, quirky oversight and sentimentality.

Directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard, who co-directed the 2008 film “Bolt,” “Tangled” takes the original tale of Rapunzel, written by the Brothers Grimm, and tells it with a twist. It is, in essence, a movie about Rapunzel without being about Rapunzel at all. Using excellent storytelling, the film weaves its magic on its viewers, making them look past the original tale to this new one, an instant classic.

The beginning narrative of the movie is spoken by Flynn Ryder, who is voiced by Zachary Levi. It is a quirky and unconventional telling of the origins of Rapunzel, voiced by Mandy Moore. Through this narration, the audience is told from the get-go who the bad guy is, what she’s after, and how she goes about getting it. It’s a different approach, but highly effective.

Mother Gothel, voiced by Donna Murphy, is the old woman the viewers are advised to look out for in the beginning narration. She is using Rapunzel in order to keep herself youthful. She uses the girl’s 70 feet of magical, golden hair, which possesses healing and rejuvenating powers. After having kidnapped her from her cradle and kingdom, as a baby, Mother Gothel takes on the role as Rapunzel’s mother and protector, successfully keeping her locked away in a tower.

One day while Mother Gothel is away, the fated meeting of Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder takes place. Sneaking into her tower to find a safe haven from comrades-turned-enemies, a comedic interaction involving Flynn’s face and a frying pan occurs. In the midst of sarcasm and well-placed wit, we learn more about each character in the silences, with emphatic gestures and expressions, than when they talk about their pasts.

The beginning of the real journey takes place when a deal is struck between Rapunzel and Flynn. In order to finally see an annual event, which happens to take place on her birthday, up close for the first time, she asks her new acquaintance to be her guide into the kingdom. From here on out, a wonderful friendship is forged, full of adventure, mishaps, and a sword fighting horse.

The best selling points of “Tangled” are its storyline and the diverse cast of characters. Each character has a distinct personality, even down to the thugs who loiter in the Snuggly Duckling. No two characters are alike. The well-paced flow of the storytelling keeps viewers’ attention without fail. There are no lulls that could possibly result in boredom.

With stunning animation and bright colors, we are lost in awe at the vibrant surroundings that are bursting with life. The attention to finite details, like each strand of golden hair on Rapunzel’s head, is enough to earn the respect of any individual. The breathtaking spectacle goes hand-in-hand with the musical number “I See the Light.” It is romantic and wonderful.

With fewer showstopper musical numbers like in the great Disney movies of the past, the more sentimental numbers of “Tangled” leave a great impact. Songs like “When Will My Life Begin” and “I See the Light,” a duet with Moore and Levi, leave wonderful impressions on viewers of all ages.

Don’t let the trailers fool you. While they don’t negatively reflect the film, they don’t do it justice. The movie is a lot more than Flynn’s one-liners and his “smoldering eyes.” It’s a fun, action-filled movie, but so much more. As a ploy to reach out to male viewers, the marketing leads the movie’s point a little astray. Rather than princess-obsessed little girls, as some could infer based on the subject matter, “Tangled” has a little something for everyone.

Walt Disney Studios does not disappoint its loyal fans with “Tangled.” The box office record it has already broken, being the second best Thanksgiving premiere ever (the first being “Toy Story 2” in 1999), goes to show how much of a must-see this movie is.

Alicia LaRosa can be reached at [email protected].