Tangled (2010)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 1/1/11
Cast: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Ron Perlman

Disney's take on the classic "Rapunzel" follows the successful princess formula laid out by "The Little Mermaid" (1989) and "Aladdin" (1993). After seeing the visually delightful "The Princess And The Frog" (2009), the biggest disappointment is that "Tangled" is computer animated. The story takes numerous liberties with the source material, but the overall themes remain intact. A princess is born with magical hair, and a selfish woman named Gothel (deliciously wicked Donna Murphy) kidnaps her and locks her away in a hidden tower. She names the girl "Rapunzel" (Mandy Moore) and uses her magical hair to keep herself young and beautiful. A dashing thief named Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) stumbles upon Rapunzel's prison, and Rapunzel coerces him into taking her to the city. Their awkward alliance naturally blooms into love. Of course, Mother Gothel is none too pleased about this and plots to get her back. Will courage and true love win out over greed and villainy?

Even though it's a CGI film, the characters and environments are attractive and full of life and color. The only exception is with Rapunzel herself, whose character design is lacking. Her eyes are WAY too big and set too far apart, creating an unsettling and unattractive facial geometry (much like Susan Murphy in "Monsters Vs. Aliens" (2009) ). The tiny hooked nose is also visually distracting. All of the other characters look fine, though. The voice acting is excellent, but Mandy Moore's lispy delivery really grates on my nerves. The musical numbers are nicely staged, but cliché and not particularly memorable. On the other hand, the action scenes are very nicely executed and full of intense kinetic energy. Disney is clearly trying to appeal to the young boy demographic, which has been slipping away from them for quite some time now. The best part of the film is Maximus, a fiercely dedicated horse in the service of the king. His design is reminiscent of "Sleeping Beauty" (1959) and his characterization is full of charm and humor. Rapunzel's pet chameleon is also quite charming. Ultimately, there were parts of the film that I really liked and parts that I didn't like very much, but overall I found it enjoyable.