Tangled (2010)

Disney adapts an old classic into its cannon and animation as a medium and cinema as an art form is all the better for it – tangled is a delight.

It may be a little forgone to mention we here at Cinemachismo like our boobs and blasts action movies. While that is certainly true, with similar fortitude in treading the depths of 80s b-movie action flicks, we too fearlessly and without shame indulge the lighter, cuter sides of cinema – when our manly friends are not around, of course. Whatever the justification; watching with a daughter or girlfriend or just because we had a boring night alone with no one to judge us. Similarly we recommend you conquer your machismo and suggest you go out to see Disney’s 2010 entry into the Disney Princesses tradition: Tangled!

Don’t be fooled by the 3D animation, this is every bit a title worthy of recognition next to the likes of The Little Mermaid, Anastasia, Pocahontas, Sleeping Beauty and all of the rest, in fact – it’s probably one of the better titles among them.

The characters are immediately lovable and well defined. The comedy is sharp and without age boundaries; humor that grandmas, grand children and even in between will enjoy without any feelings of condescension or contempt.

The story of Tangled is loosely derivative of the Brother’s Grimm classic, Rupunzle; adding the eponymous character to the list of Disney princesses for future marketing and merchandising efforts. While that certainly sounds judgmental to say and no doubt to read, Disney deserve their profits on this one as they have produced something worthy of memory and shameless reproduction.

The story starts off as many would remember from the classic tale, a beautiful girl is trapped night and day for years on end in a high tower, her long flowing hair growing unfettered for time uncalcuable until it’s so long that it rivals the length of most ropes. From this point there is a bit of divergance – a jewel theif and general scallywag, Flynn Rider, comes upon the tower after escaping the nearby palace with their prized crown – and with a little coercing liberates the 18-year old Rupunzel to explore the world and seek out the strange floating lights she sees on the horizon every year on her birthday exclusively. Flynn’s motives are shaky though and Rup’ will have to guard her heart lest it be broken.

What follows is a an adventure of self-discovery, swashbuckling (with an -er frying pan most of the time), laughs and romance. Can the young heroine find the mystery of the lights and intertwined with them,  her own place in the world? Can her gruffly handsome friend come to terms with himself, seek redemption and woo the lovely apple of his eye – or will all be for naught and the strands of fate remain – tangled? Ah, see what I did there? did you? haaah.

In this modern world of cinema we are delivered more of what we will consistently pay to see, and generally this means hordes of sex, seedy love triangles and relentless violence; you know, ‘the good stuff’. For children, especially in the last 10 years we have been fed a lot of empty garbage, produced with sub-par stories, characters and talent; some of this even coming from Disney. This is in some part due to the fact that with younger children the only option you do have is the ‘kids movie’ currently playing, and thus you have a captive audience – one you don’t have to overly impress or please. If the movie doesn’t entertain the parent then that’s fine as it’s for the kids; or so the thought pattern goes. But Tangled is a breath of fresh air we rarely receive, and one that enters your soul and makes you feel just as the evil protagonist does upon receiving the gift of Rapunzel’s magic; you’ll feel young once more… if only for the hour and half the film lasts.

Disney has been long criticised for it’s move away from the 2d animation scene and the near spiritual story telling which shaped so many of our childhoods;  filling them with laughter, magic, hope and dreams. The company of Walt’s legacy have been largely absent on that front in the last decade, with 2008’s Princess and the Frog being somewhat lackluster (despite being in 2d even), but this year’s Disney masterpiece defies this newly founded tradition and gives us hope for future films from the company, reedeming 3d as a medium for the classic Disney outing. Tangled is a triumph, absolutely delightful, childish and hopeful. While certainly a capitalist production, you can feel the beating heart of the production team and the love they have so gloriously and generously poured into this film.
This is one of the better films this year and whether you’re a Disney fan or detractor, you most certainly will be mugging yourself if you do not go out and see this film in theater. In fact, if you are to see any new release before the end of 2010, then I declare that this is the movie you should see. Tangled will make you laugh and fall in love with the characters – but most of all it will drag you into having fun whether you like it or not.

Score: 9.2/10

Hit us up after the bump for some tangential yet spoileriffic  plot discussion.

 

how Tangled will make you feel inside

There is a strange dichotomy of mother and captor in Tangled. Rupunzel was taken from her royal parents at birth to be harnessed as a source of eternal youth by a greedy old woman, and yet we hear Rupunzel outright admit she loves her mother at several points – and with reciprocation no less. With this we also get a few character forming lines from the evil frau which suggest she is merely a user, but one needs only to look to the manner in which she keeps her ersatz daughter to start questioning whether there really was no love between mother and daughter. Rup’ is given adequate meals, art supplies, hugs, mountains of books and seems to have had a decent enough childhood to have formed into the loveable doll she is during the events of the film. Sure, we might suggest all of this was merely to placate her and keep her in place, but surely a ball and chain or handcuffs with the bare minimum of food would have achieved the same end in keeping her alive and in place.

For a daughter who openly fights with her mother for who loves the other one more in the beginning of the movie, not even a single glance is spared to witness her mother’s tangled corpse on the ground after her fall from the window and subsequent death. It’s really quite a strange turn of events; we see Rupunzel return to her birth mother and pretend as if she has never had another maternal figure in her life. With the evidence listed above I think there is definitely a case to be made that there was a duality of user and loving mother. This doesn’t seem to be followed through on, and I’m curious as to whether this was something they intended to flesh out and resolve differently, but this strange little side thought doesn’t detract from the movie in any meaningful way, it’s just a confusing nuance worthy to note. Where other Disney tormentors have been painted as having hearts as black as the night sky, this can hardly be said to be true in this film; the antagonist covets and craves immortal beauty, but she does seem to love her ‘daughter’ in a greedy, selfish, social life depriving way.

As the plot continues and Rupunzel escapes with her beau, her ‘mother’ does not use the consideration of the crown in her possession to employ the two brutes to forcibly capture her, she instead attempts to social engineer her ‘daughter’ into willingly returning to her. She may be an evil old slag, but she has some dimension to her.

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