For those of you look beyond the paltry three-sentence reviews in the newspaper to determine whether the latest Disney or Pixar flick is a good fit for your clan, I’m using this post as an opportunity to share my thoughts on Tangled.
Having walked out on or turned off many a movie in my day due to an easily-frightened child at home, I have to be very cautious with our film selections–especially when shelling out $14 at the mall for a matinee [highway robbery!!] Thankfully, we were very pleasantly surprised at both the beauty of the animation and cinematography [ok…that was me] and the humor and delight of the story line [that was my child…and me!]. All thumbs up!
For those of you unfamiliar with the tale, Rapunzel was stolen away from her crib as a baby by the manipulative Gothel, who raises her as her own child for the express purpose of having access to the magical healing and restorative qualities of the girl’s hair. Disney successfully adds a colorful cast of thugs and animals to deliver that coveted “princess” quality we all love. Rapunzel is sweet and dreamy, a girl at war with her desire to obey house rules, yet longing to be free. Flynn Ryder, Disney’s hero and would-be-prince of the story, undergoes welcome change after beginning the movie as a thief and liar–a change which is wonderful to watch and even better fodder for conversation at home. Unlike the Brother’s Grim story, this version sets the stage with Rapunzel’s estranged biological parents as king and queen of the land, so the stakes are high for her safe return.
True to Disney’s feel-good style, the moral of the story is to follow your dreams, even if it means scaling mountains or risking life and limb [or in this case, one’s hair] to do so. There are some lovely songs that showcase the innocence of Rapunzel and others that expose Gothel for the wicked woman she truly is. We laughed and nearly cried…and most of all, we had a great time.
If you’re stuck on the PG rating, I think you can move ahead with relative calm and confidence if you’re okay with these elements [note: some spoilers]:
Gothel, the evil “mother” [kidnapper] is very scary looking until she is made younger by touching Rapunzel’s hair. In fact, toward the end of the movie when Rapunzel’s hair loses its powers, Gothel shrivels up to a haunting skeleton-like hag. Of course being shrouded by a black cape and hood only adds to her foreboding appearance. Additionally, she meets her doom by falling out of the tower window; although you see her hit the grass and see her cape floof out, Disney spares you any gore here.
Continuing with Gothel, she does sport a tight, low-cut dress throughout the movie. When Rapunzel hugs her, her face lands squarely on mom’s perfect breast. I’ll admit that I found it a bit distracting. I mean, really. Who runs through the mountains collecting parsnips for dinner with full cleavage on display?
Evil “stepmother” character take 3: In one nighttime scene the camera pans to the side and you suddenly see her [again with the cape and hood] standing silently behind Rapunzel, which is unexpected and actually a bit startling. [I warned our fam about this ahead of time]. At the end of the movie she also appears to stab Flynn and his death seems imminent, however Rapunzel’s magic restores him [again–I told the kids that Flynn wouldn’t die.]
There is also a scene in the local watering hole with a gang of criminals who are quite scary, including one who speaks as though intoxicated. We knew about this ahead of time, and also knew that in a matter of seconds these limb-missing, toothless thugs would burst into song. It actually is one of the funnier parts of the story, but worth mentioning to your young ones.
Lastly, there’s the wonderful kiss and happy ending that we all want when we go see a fairy tale. It’s a fantastic animated film that will please both boys and girls…and their parents.
If you’ve already seen it, what would you add to this review? Please leave a comment!