BY SYDNEY ALTMAN
What do you get when you combine a classic fairy tale with a twist, beautiful musical compositions, and a touch of magic? You get a brilliantly, timeless new Disney movie.
Disney’s newest hit movie Tangled tells the story of Rapunzel, the well-known Princess with endless strands of golden hair. Shortly after her birth, Rapunzel was kidnapped from her royal family and was taken to a secluded tower. After almost 18 years of being trapped in a tower, Rapunzel wants to leave, to search for the floating lanterns that are released by the Kingdom every year on her birthday. The lanterns are a signal for the missing Princess to find her way home. However, the woman who Rapunzel believes is her mother refuses to let her leave. An unexpected visitor, the notorious thief Flynn Ryder, climbs into the tower and ultimately leads Rapunzel on an adventure of a lifetime. Along her journey to the floating lights, Rapunzel finds love, family and self-discovery.
In previous years, Disney’s non-Pixar animated movies, such as Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons, have been poorly received. However, after the release of the 2009 hit The Princess and the Frog, Disney worked out its kinks and retreated back to their old, successful ways of making lighthearted stories that appeal to adoring children and adults. Tangled maintains this mission and exceeded all expectations.
Tangled stars Mandy Moore as the voice of Rapunzel and Zachary Levi as the voice of the charming Ryder. The actors bring individual personality and uniqueness to their characters. Moore’s Rapunzel juxtaposes innocence and female empowerment to create the ultimate modern Princess. Meanwhile, Levi’s Ryder pairs arrogance and charm to capture the heart of not only Rapunzel, but also of the viewer. The odd-couple turns out to be the perfect couple.
Though both actors have the perfect voices for their characters, the best performance came from Donna Murphy who plays the cunning Mother Gothel, the woman who captured Rapunzel. Gothel’s mastery at manipulation and brainwashing causes Rapunzel to unconditionally love her eternally ageless “mother”, while her real intentions, only keeping Rapunzel around for her magical hair, remain hidden. She is a sneaky, unlikely villain who is perhaps the best villainess Disney has created.
In addition to great characterization, the CGI animation is flawless. The characters look life-like and the scenery displays a picture perfect setting. The scene that illustrates the highest animation quality was the romantic scene in which Ryder and Rapunzel watch the 46,000 lanterns light up the sky and officially fall in love with one another. According to Disney hair technicians, Xinmin Zhao and Kelly Ward, the most difficult challenge in the animation process was making Rapunzel’s 70 feet of blonde tresses look effortless and perfect since it is the defining characteristic of Rapunzel.
The characters and scenery, however, would be nothing without the amazing musical compositions of Alan Menkin. Menkin has composed the soundtracks for many Disney movies including The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. He is a creative genius and continues to mix beautiful instrumentals with fun lyrics that enhance the movie’s story. The best song in the movie “I See the Light”, proves not only Moore’s clarity as a singer but also Menkin’s gifted musical storytelling. Though Menkin continued his memorable legacy in Tangled, some songs were a bit cheesy. “I’ve Got A Dream”, a song discussing the lost dreams of ruffians that are enchanted by Rapunzel’s sunny personality, and “When Will My Life Begin”, the first song sung by Rapunzel, are cute and light but are definitely childish.
Tangled appeals to everyone, no matter what age or gender. The movie captures the interest of girls, as any Princess movie does, but it also attracts boys through the many action packed scenes in which Ryder and Rapunzel face off against adversity. Furthermore, the undeniable humor gives adults a special treat. Overall, Tangled proved to be an adorable movie that will become a timeless Disney tale.