It’s been a couple of months since I saw “Tangled”. I saw it rather early, in prep for an interview with Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi I had. For one reason or another, I never got around to sharing my thoughts on this one – and I want to, mainly because it’s actually a top little flick.
I won’t say ”Tangled” is ‘just like the animated Disney flicks I grew up on’ because, well, I didn’t… grow up on Disney flicks. Okay, so to an extent I did – as the story goes, the first film I saw at the cinema was ”The Jungle Book”, and I caught a few Herbie movies at the cinema (“Herbie goes to Monte Carlo” rings a bell) and I remember catching the odd toon on The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights – but if I ever got bored of baking shrinkies (remember those? Haven’t seen anything as good in a cereal box, since!) I was more inclined to pop on ”Grease” or ”Xanadu” (Yep, had an Olivia Newton John fixation; funnily enough my daughter does now) or some other tame but terrific live actioner (“Catholic Boys” count as tame?) over Dumbo or Peter Pan. Yep, Michael Beck roller-skating into graffiti-covered walls was always just more entertaining to me than wooden boys with elongated noses. I missed out, I know..
It’s funny, I remember listening to the Disney audio books of ”The Jungle Book”, ”Dumbo”, ”Snow White” and so on but I don’t really recall sitting down and watching the actual films. I’m sure I did, The T-Birds and Rizzo just took precedence at the time. And Shrinkies.
What’s funny is that I think I’ve seen more of these animated films – largely the classics – since I’ve become a father. My daughter’s worked her way through them all – ”Beauty and the Beast”, ”Tarzan”, ”Aladdin” – and it’s given me a chance to catch up on what I missed out on as a youngster. And I did miss out – these films are great.
Shocking to discover that a cartoon about a kid that gets about on a flying rug embodies a better plot than an Olivia movie with ELO, I tell ya (I won’t bring “Star Wars” into this conversation – I know you’re all waiting for that).
If I’d opened my review of Disney’s latest ($250m) animated effort ””Tangled with “they don’t make them like they use to” or “If I was 5 I’d like this better” it’d be a lie. For one, how do I know that these films play better at 5? I was too busy watching Dinah Manoff puff up her breasts and Darth Vader turning Kenobi into robe soup to know (Oh shit, I said I wasn’t going to mention “Star Wars”). But it might also be a lie because, for all intents and purposes, Disney still makes them like they use to. Walt’s crew, unlike a lot of studios, still avows to that original mission statement – quality family entertainment that’s as enriching as it is striking. ”Tangled” is as good, if not better, than ‘the classics’ – in fact, it’s so good it’ll ‘be’ a classic itself in no time.
A little “Beauty and the Beast” (Which I watched with my little one for the first time recently), a bit “Shrek” (in that there’s jokes in there for both small and big), and a whole lot charming, Byron Howard and Nathan Greno’s jazzed-up retelling of Rapunzel is as beautiful a package as its lead voice artist – that’d be Mandy Moore.
It’s not the plot of a film like this that wins you over – small-time thief Flynn (Not John/The Hitcher) Rider (Zachary Levi) helps our hairy hero (Moore) escape from the tower that her faux mother (Donna Murphy) has had her trapped in all these years – but more so how real these animated characters look and act, the messages infused in the story, and the voice actors. In this case, the voice actors are superb – Moore, perfect as Rapunzel, and “Chuck”‘s Zachary Levi, a surprising but effective choice as comic relief Ryder.
The songs, penned by veteran music man Alan Menken, aren’t entirely memorable (well, the opening track is – sung by Ms Moore) but they are well performed. Again, big tick for recruiting both an actor and musician to lend vocals to lead.
Disney were originally going to call the film “Rapunzel” but fearing the title would scare off young boys, changed it to the funkier and more all-sexes-appealing “Tangled”. Thank god! Would hate for me fellow boxer short adorners to miss out on something so fun! We’re it possible to hop a ride on Peggy Sue’s prom dress back to the past (prior to when she got married), I’d definitely make sure I inform my younger self to go check out ”The Sword in the Stone” or ”The Black Cauldron” over that John Travolta does aerobics movie – I’m sure I’d have been a happier, more satisfied tyke.
OK, off to bake a shrinkie.