You know what never gets old? The look on people's faces when I say I love the Disney Princess movies. It's a confused look mixed with a hint of concern. If you don't know me it's usually followed up with either "Are you gay" or "Were you forced to watch them" but those who do know me well enough are like "Okay." But it's funny whenever I pop that little trivia out because it seems if your a guy (at least in this day and age) you can't like the Princess movies without garnering some attention.
Why does that little factoid matter? Well it's the look I got from the guy at the box office when I got my tickets to Disney's latest animated film Tangled. Created by Disney legends Glen Keane, John Lasseter, and Byron Howard, Tangled is the re-imagining of the classic tale of Rapunzel and follows the Grimm version closer then any other version I've read. It stars Mandy Moore as the titular character, Zachary Levi as the dashing Flynn Rider and Donna Murphy as the evil Mother Gothel. One interesting note, besides this being Disney Animation Studios 50th film, is that this is the first CGI Disney Princess film. Maybe ol Lasseter is rubbing off on them.
There is one hitch in Gothel's plan though: the kingdom releases lanterns into the sky and this fascinates Rapunzel to no end, so much so she's made it her mission in life to see them up close. Flashforward 18 or so years and Rapunzel is grown up and wants to leave. Gothel is against this obviously but with the help of a thief named Flynn Rider, who happens upon her tower after stealing a tiara, Rapunzel leaves and ventures with Flynn, who agrees to help on the basis that he gets said tiara back.
The writing is really brought out well thanks to the superb voice-work throughout. Mandy Moore is great as Rapunzel, mixing elements of classic Princesses as well as the modern teenage girl. She has the big singing voice and bright eyed perkiness we're used to, but it's grounded by her wit, wild mood swings (one of the biggest laughs for me) and her sass. She's also not pining over a man either with her eventual (come on did you really think otherwise) relationship actually feeling organic. Levi is great as well and further proves that he is someone to really look out for in the future, whether voice-work in this film or on television with Chuck. He has great comedic timing and charm but also a sensitivity that some comedic actors don't have. Murphy is good as well but she does feel a bit like all other Disney villains...well maybe a little more neurotic but still familiar.
The one problem I had with this movie was the music. I love musicals and some of the music was decent (the two highlights being a hilarious song in a dive bar and the obvious love song between the two) but for the most part it was meh. It's not that they sounded bad or were overly cheesy, but they just lacked that umph that other Disney musicals have. Best example: Gothel. Her re-occurring villain song is "Mother Knows Best" an I-can't-keep-a-consistent-time song that's mostly talk sing and honestly pretty dull. It overstays its welcome and puts a damper on the scene that led up to it. The rest aren't as bad but feel cookie cutter. It wasn't enough to make me hate the movie but enough to keep it from being a Disney classic.
Tangled is a well made, well written, well acted Disney Princess film and shows that Disney Animation Studios still has some life in them. It's not the best Disney Animated Studios film (not helped by meh music) but it's a great family film and definitely worth checking out.
MY VERDICT: OWN IT
PS: I watched it in 2D but I've heard the 3D was good.