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Metronome Sessions

10 Years Later: Tangled

28 January 21 words: Shannon Bailey

Disney’s 50th animated feature is an enduring modern classic…

Director: Nathan Greno & Byron Howard
Starring: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy
Running time: 100 minutes

A Disney-fied twist on the fairy-tale classic Rapunzel, Tangled was Disney Animation’s first release of the 2010’s. The film does a great job of setting the standards for what would go onto be a hugely successful decade for the studio. Tangled remains a standout of the Disney Princess pantheon, with its witty dialogue, well-rounded characters, catchy songs, and gorgeous 3D animation that still holds up.

The film begins with some rather awkward narration from our male lead, Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) who explains the fairy-tale we commonly know, but with a Disney twist. Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) now has magical glowing hair capable of healing wounds and the ability to keep people young, a power she gained from a magical flower that her long-lost mother consumes during pregnancy. We are introduced to the fantastic villain, Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy), who steals Rapunzel as a baby and hides her away in a tower, so she can use her powers to stay young forever.

We then go to a now fully-grown Rapunzel, with an even fuller head of hair, who sets out her character motivations with another classic Disney trope, the “I Want” song, as Rapunzel sings When Will My Life Begin. The quite catchy, but often forgotten song does a great job of showing the audience her naivety and desperate desire to leave her tower and see the mysterious floating lights appear every year on her birthday. 

Mother Gothel quickly shoots down the idea with the song Mother Knows Best, arguably the second-best song in the film, which again does a great job in showing the audience how far her manipulation of Rapunzel goes. 

However, her attempts to keep Rapunzel hidden do not last forever as we are then introduced to the Disney troller himself, Flynn Rider as we watch him and his underdeveloped sidekicks, the Stabbington Brothers, flee after the robbery at the Palace. The Stabbington Brothers appear more in the film, so it's strange that more time is not given to develop their characters further.

Mandy Moore captures Rapunzel’s naivety and childlike wonder brilliantly

A fleeing Flynn seeks refuge in Rapunzel’s tower, where we have some great interaction between him and Rapunzel’s animal sidekick, Pascal the Chameleon. Pascal acts as great comic relief throughout the movie with his sarcastic looks and great chemistry with Rapunzel and other characters. Disney clearly plays to its strength in this film with the animal sidekicks as both Pascal and Max have great personalities that fit the tone of the film well. 

Rapunzel and Flynn come to an uneasy alliance, as they set off on their quirky quest to see the floating lights, singing their way through a tavern of evil villains and taking on the royal guard with nothing but their great chemistry and a frying pan. Across these scenes there is some great character development with Flynn and Rapunzel, with their chemistry colliding in what will go down in history as one of Disney most beautifully animated scenes, with a sweet love duet to capture the hearts of the audience in I See the Light

The final act sees Mother Gothel prove herself to be a dastardly villain, not just through committing scenes of animal cruelty to our beloved Pascal, but her ability to recapture Rapunzel and use her newfound love against her. There are some great tension scenes before this with Flynn having to escape capture and return to Rapunzel before it is too late. There are some scenes of slapstick comedy here that felt out of place and awkward on re-watch, but nothing that takes away from the well-written high stakes. The climax of the film leaves us with real unease and uncertainty of what will happen to our two main characters.

The voice acting throughout the film is fantastic, especially Mandy Moore’s performance for Rapunzel, as she captures her naivety and childlike wonder brilliantly. Rapunzel is a well-rounded character who plays into the typical princess stereotypes, but also destroys some in the process as Rapunzel is a more active and free-thinking princess, who is handy with a frying pan. The film also does a great job with settings, the gorgeous animation has some great lighting that plays into the fairy-tale world the audience can really get behind. It is a colourful and bright film, with characters that are equally as colourful in their design and personality. 

Did you know? Flynn and Rapunzel both make a cameo in Frozen when Anna sings For the First Time in Forever. Rapunzel later made another brief appearance in Ralph Breaks the Internet alongside the other Disney princesses.

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