Monday, 21 January 2013
I’ll be honest with you: I don’t think I ever read or heard the full Rapunzel story. Like most fairy tales of yonder, though, it has familiar themes: a princess in distress; horror elements befitting an era in human evolution where death lurked behind every corner; but also a happy ending (at least in its contemporary version). I would say the ground is ripe for Disney to undertake the story through one of its animation films. Obviously, they listened to me retrospectively and released exactly such a film, Tangled, back in 2010.
By now I am no fan of the newer Disney animation films. However, Tangled received positive reviews from credible sources. Besides, and more importantly, it features the Chuck himself (Zachary Levi) in a leading voice acting role. It seemed worth checking out on.
Our heroine for an hour and a half is Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), a princess stolen from her parents by an evil witch (Donna Murphy) who sought to hold her indefinitely so as to enjoy the benefit of Rapunzel’s magic hair. Hair that’s as long as War and Peace and keeps our witch young (but not sexy; she is a baddie, after all). Rapunzel is thus held at a reclusive tower somewhere near the end of the world, growing up to believe the world around her is dangerous and the safety of her tower is better. She never goes outside.
A girl does have her yearnings, though (funny to see how Disney avoids the mentioning of sex). Those yearnings find an address through Flynn (Levi), a cunning thief that stumbles upon the tower through his misadventures. For Rapunzel he’s willing to step down from his usual selfish self and step into a dream fulfilment role revolving around taking the young lady outside. Not that easy with step mom in da house, though.
What else do we have here, now that we’ve covered the story part? We have very human like animals (a chameleon and a horse, to be precise); they don’t talk this time around. We also have our heroes bursting into the occasional song. So yeah, if you wanted to hear what Chuck’s singing voice is like, look no further than Tangled. Don’t rush, though: none of the songs are even remotely inspiring. It’s all that bland formula I have come to expect from the lesser Disney films.
Other than that, there is not much to Tangled, really. Zachary Levi sounds very Chuck like, virtually recreating his TV role (the joys of being type cast?). Yet as far as I am concerned this is the most interesting thing Tangled has to offer. Where other reviewers raved, I’m left with a “meh”.
P.S. At a more philosophical level, I have to add that people’s fixation with the whole prince/princess concept is not only outdated, it’s ridiculous.
Overall: I cannot say I suffered watching Tangled. We saw it on a 38 degree day, and on such a day where any extra movement feels like the end of the world a film like Tangled can be enjoyable. Alas, I ask for more from my movies. 2 out of 5 stars.