With the modest success of The Princess and the Frog, the Disney Revival was in motion with a more CGI driven focus. Despite Princess‘ success, it did not do enough to make Disney switch back and forth between CGI and traditional, but that did not stop Disney from sticking to its root by doing something risky. Disney was ready to deliver a musical in the CGi format, but were afraid that they would not win the audience over so they focused on marketing the humor instead. Disney was worried about the transition and Tangled not making more money
In a retelling of the classic fairy tale, Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) is locked in her tower by her caretaker Mother Gothel (Donna Lewis). On her 18th birthday, Rapunzel wishes to see the lights in the faraway kingdom of Corona, but Mother Gothel refuses. Meanwhile, thief Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) comes to the tower escaping an onslaught of guards and follow thieves the Stabbington Brothers (Ron Pearlman) and enters, crossing Rapunzel’s path, her chameleon Pascal and her trusty frying pan. Rapunzel sees this as an opportunity to use Flynn to go see the lanterns on a journey of hilarity, self-discovery and even romance.
Tangled is a great risk Disney took and it paid off in more ways than one. With being the first CGI musical not just for the company, but in general in animation, Tangled delights an entertained by being a phenomenal story. The introduction lays out the story for the audience, even spoiling the ending in a way, but it does not make this a bad thing. It helps make the story more compelling for the audience to anticipate Rapunzel’s reaction to her being the lost princess of the kingdom. The chemistry between Rapunzel and Flynn is adorable with Flynn trying his best to be dashing and heroic and Rapunzel going from curious about the world to filled with heartache and sorrow. Together, they make a sarcastic and hilarious duo. The humor is fast paced and frantic like Emperor’s New Groove before it by going the Dreamworks and Looney Tunes route. The music is also great with Alan Menken taking a traditional and more pop oriented approach throughout the film, yet the films greatest strength is the animation.
It is beyond gorgeous. It relishes in its bright world that brings the world of the classic fairy tale into a CGI format with ease and still retains the Disney style. In fact, the concept art for the film and sketches for its original 2D production is captured phenomenally well. This is proven in during the number “I See The Light” when they finally get to see the lanterns. It is beautiful from the music, the animation and the expressions throughout. I actually cried during this scene when it cut to the King of Corona looking down knwing he may never get his daughter back. It’s that brilliant. Fortunately, this film is not what it title suggest being tangled, but rather, a straightforward classic of modern animation, even if the next entry perfects what this film built.
Critic’s Quote: “The prettiness comes with brains, and the whole production, like those newly eye-catching models of American-made cars, bespeaks resurgent confidence.” – Joe Morganstern, Wall Street Journal, November 26, 2010
Signature Moment: The lanterns sequence proves Disney knows what they are doing in their modern Revival era.