Rapunzel (the vocal superstar Mandy Moore) is a beautiful, spellbinding princess but she is has no idea what her true identity is. Only one day old, a selfish withering woman (the lovely Donna Murphy voicing Mother Gothel) captures and kidnaps her. Rapunzel retains only a few fleeting memories of that one day in her true environment but she needs triggers to unlock them. Mother Gothel spends every moment of her unsuspecting kidnapped princess’ life reinforcing the idea that she is the young woman’s true mother. This is the sort of phenomenon we hear about in the news almost every day. Encapsulating it in a children’s film is both educational and really clever.
Rapunzel is no ordinary princess. She possesses a magical power that can only be realized when she invokes a song while her hair covers someone’s wounds. Her hair is so powerful that it maintains Gothel’s appearance as a young woman irrespective of her advanced age. This is unnatural and comes at a price. Rapunzel is essentially trapped inside of an obscured tower nearby her true kingdom for 18 years. On her eighteenth birthday she requests permission to leave and explore the world. As usual, Mother Gothel develops new excuses for why she cannot run off. The world is unsafe, there are vagabonds, Rapunzel is too weak, and the list continues. The abnormally young woman (Gothel) is cruel and punishing to her “daughter” without just cause.
Fortunately for Rapunzel and her friend/companion Pascal (the cutest and most expressive chameleon I have ever seen) trouble finds her and so begins her new adventure that will culminate in the late beginning of her new life. Wanted thief Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) flees the King’s huntsmen and his former associates the Stabbington Brothers (both played by Hellboy himself, Ron Perlman). In the process he stumbles on a concealed tower and wanders in to safety. Once inside he is assailed by Rapunzel. She smacks him in the skull with a frying pan, a weapon that she makes famous. Apparently our princess is not so fragile after all! Along with Pascal, she keeps Flynn prisoner until he promises to take her to the kingdom to see the most beautiful site in the world, the floating lanterns. For some reason, on her birthday every year, all of the citizens of the kingdom release floating lanterns that light up the night sky with such vigor and beauty (this is a beacon in the night sky guiding their lost princess to her true home).
Along their journey, Rapunzel and Flynn fall in love. Flynn’s real name is revealed as Eugene. He is a handsome young man that has taken to pilfery to make his way in the world. Being with Rapunzel changes his attitude toward honor and truthfulness. Several times she is forced to mend his wounds with her healing hair. On a side note, Rapunzel’s hair must be hundreds of feet long. It is golden and beautiful but somebody had better call Mr. Paul Mitchell before those split ends cause a natural disaster! If she cuts any of her hair, that portion will turn brunette and permanently lose its medicinal properties. Rapunzel and Flynn are being chased by Maximus, the kingdom’s most dashing horse, by the king’s men, and they even manage to find trouble at a local inn. It is through Rapunzel’s beautiful singing voice and courage that they make friends of the most beastly and gritty of men.
During their adventures on their way to the palace, Mother Gothel is always watching and waiting in the wings. She is determined to manipulate Rapunzel into returning to their keep. Her tactics are rude, crude, and dude, they are malicious. With parents like her who needs moms (aside from Mars). It is the tavern’s regulars and the hilarious horse that ultimately grasp her twisted plan and help prevent her misery from spreading.
Disney’s 50th animated feature film Tangled is spectacular in 3D, in Blu-ray and it is more than adequate on regular DVD. Mandy Moore is so talented and every ounce of her ability seeps through into her character. Rapunzel and Flynn are very modern but not insofar as they are stupid dimwits that use Twitter and the word “like” fifty times a minute. They are gorgeous, mature, heartfelt and intelligent teenagers. Naturally, being a Disney film, Tangled has a happy ending, as does the fairy tale it is based on. This animated classic deserves a place in my film library and in all likelihood it will in yours too.
Disney’s four disc Blu-ray combo pack includes the 3D Blu-ray, the Blu-ray, the DVD, and the digital copy of Tangled. The bonus features offer extended songs with Mandy Moore, deleted scenes, details about Rapunzel’s hair (length, volume, etc), and a wonderful video montage of fifty Disney animated feature films.
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