Once upon a time Disney’s animation studio was the home of fairy tales and fantasy. That era ended in the late 1990s and for roughly the next decade the studio, despite a few success like Lilo and Stich, seemed lost, making films that did not target their traditional audience. This all changed last year when Disney released The Princess and the Frog, and while the film did have its flaws, it was a solid piece of traditional Disney fair and seemed to show a rekindling of the old Disney fires.
Building upon the success of The Princess and the Frog, Disney returns with Tangled, a rework of the classic tale of Rapunzel with a twist. Rapunzel is still trapped in her tower but only because her “mother” has locked her there and forbid her from leaving. Rapunzel wishes for only one thing, to see the lights let loose on her birthday every year and after being forbidden to journey to see them she devises a plan to sneak out of the tower and venture forth. Coincidentally there just happens to be a thief who stumbles upon Rapunzel’s tower and she enlists his help.
The film is quite charming and the relationship between Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) and her thieving guide, Flynn (Zachary Levi) is a joy to watch unfold. The story itself is rife with cliches and while that would generally be a major blow for most films the cliches in Tangled are endearing. The humor is appropriate for younger viewers but has just enough to keep viewers of all ages entertained. All in all it is just a well told story, regardless of if it all feels mighty familiar or not.
The quality of the storytelling might not come as much of a surprise what is surprising about the film is the quality of the animation, which is top notch. Before the release there was somewhat of an uproar about the look of the film being too Dreamworks-like and that rumor could not be further from the truth because Tangled fits in next to the most classic of Disney’s catalog. They really nailed the look which appears like everything is directly out of a storybook.
The film is beautifully animated, quite funny, and it also happens to be the perfect family fare right in time for the holidays.
5 out of 5