“Tangled” Up in Yule

18 12 2010

And nary a split-end in sight.

You’ll find a lot children’s Holiday movie options this Season such as the upcoming live-action Yogi Bear flick, the popular Megamind (which is still lingering around), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (for the older kids), and Jack Black’s Gulliver’s Travels…but none will have such a wide appeal as Disney’s latest 3D contribution, Tangled.

For those who’ve not seen the preview, Tangled focuses on a liberal re-telling and Disnified version of Rapunzel and her long golden hair. The difference here is that unlike the original 1812 Brothers Grimm fairy tale, this one boasts quirky animal characters such as Rapunzel’s loyal chameleon buddy, Pascal, and a strong-willed palace guard horse, Maximus.

The physical comedy here is what you’d come to expect from Disney: flailing arms and funny body contortions that would put a real person in traction. The oral comedy (is that right?) is a balance of kid humour and just enough adult chuckles to keep mom’s and dad’s interested.

The musical numbers and scores are what really makes this movie. As I watched, I couldn’t help but think that this will make a GREAT Broadway musical. I was enthralled by the vocal power of Rapunzel’s step-mother/bad gal, Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) during her number “Mother Knows Best”. And the hilarious ensemble chorus of shady brutes and thieves called “I’ve Got A Dream” (featuring the vocal stylings of Brad Garrett, Jeffrey Tambour, Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi) is nearly worth the price of admission alone.

Rapunzel (voiced wonderfully by Mandy Moore) isn’t your typical Disney Princess where she’s waiting for her knight in shining armour to save her from the villain. She can entirely stand on her own and is a refreshing turn for Disney Princesses. Little girls should be proud of the strength (and vulnerability) Rapunzel possesses. Zachary Levi (of ‘Chuck’) plays the kind-hearted and somewhat narcissistic thief, Flynn Rider, who helps Rapunzel realize her dream and, in turn, makes him a more fulfilled person. But the gold-star goes to Donna Murphy (previously mentioned evil Mother Gothel) whose presence puts her up there in the upper echelon as purely evil and manipulative Disney baddies such as Cruella Deville…but I’ll say again, her voice IS amazing.

The only flaw in the entire movie is at the climax. I won’t spoil it here…but suffice to say there is one small part where Disney crosses that hazy line of kid-friendly into something closer to PG-13. It’s only one 5-second part and they kind-of tease it in the beginning of the movie when Flynn Rider does his voice-over introducing the tale. You’ll know it when you see it…but this initial parental shock (me=parent) doesn’t last long as everything isn’t as it seems on first impression. It’s really fun being hazy in a description, eh? Did I say “fun”? I meant to say “frustrating”. Sorry.

This is a swashbuckling tale that even with that small scene, I’d recommend it for anyone who is looking for a guaranteed entertaining movie this Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah/Festivus/”Everyone Else That I Can’t Name Because I Don’t Know Everything” Season.

8.3 Hairnets out of 10

 

Presenting...The Snuggly Duckling Cabaret!

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