The Disney princesses have a new member to their exclusive club. Joining the ranks of Belle, Snow White, Cinderella and Pocahontas is Rapunzel of "Tangled," Disney’s newest animated film.
"Tangled" is a hair-raising fairy tale dealing with love, betrayal and, of course, magic. Directors Byron Howard ("Bolt") and Nathan Greno ("Meet the Robinsons") continue their success in the field of animation. The movie begins with a narration by Flynn Rider, voiced by Zachary Levi ("Chuck"), a wanted criminal in the kingdom, who tells of a magical flower that was created by a single ray of the sun that had struck the Earth. Rider explained the flower had the ability to heal any wound or blemish by singing a melody to it. An evil witch, Mother Gothel (voiced by Donna Murphy, "Spider Man 2"), discovers the flower and uses its powers to remain young.
Several hundred years later, a kingdom was erected and the king and queen are expecting a baby girl. However, the queen becomes seriously ill prior to giving birth, and the king’s guards are sent out to find the magical flower. Gothel reappears in the forest and uses the flower once again to transform her from an old woman into a healthy adult. When she hears the guards coming, she attempts to hide the flower, but knocks over the camouflage she had placed over it. The guards seize the flower and use it in a remedy to heal the queen, who gives birth to Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore, "License to Wed"), a beautiful baby girl with hazel eyes and golden blonde hair. The power of the flower to heal gets transferred to Rapunzel’s hair.
Gothel takes revenge on the king and queen by kidnapping their daughter and hiding her in a tower in a remote area of the forest.
Gothel raises Rapunzel as her daughter, but uses her in her attempt for eternal youth. Rapunzel believes Gothel is her real mother, unaware that she is the lost princess that her mother and father have been searching desperately for. Every year on her birthday, every member of the kingdom releases a light into the night sky, hoping the lost princess will see them and return home.
For her 18th birthday, Rapunzel requests that she go to the kingdom to see the lights. Gothel vehemently rejects her request.
Meanwhile in the kingdom, Rider and his two minions are being chased by guards and their top horse, Maximus, after stealing the princess’s crown jewels. Rider takes the satchel from the two minions and leaves them to get captured while he accidently stumbles upon Rapunzel’s tower. He is knocked unconscious by Rapunzel wielding a frying pan. When he wakes up, they strike a deal: Rapunzel agrees to let him go if he takes her to the kingdom to see the lights. He half-heartedly agrees and the unusual pair set off on their journey.
"Tangled" is a witty, yet charming movie that captures the attention of all age groups. The array of character mesh well with each other and they are easy to like. Rider provides the most laughs with his sarcastic remarks and his body language. His character is well developed and, although he may be considered a "bad guy," the audience will chuckle at his humorous dialogue and actions throughout the film.
Both Rapunzel and Rider go through drastic character changes throughout the movie. Rapunzel begins as a sheltered, unconfident girl and by the end of the movie becomes a lively, proud princess. Rider starts off as a villainous, self-centered robber and changes into a caring, compassionate gentleman.
Producer Roy Conli ("Treasure Planet") creates beautiful scenes on screen with CGI which appeared like an old Disney movie in which the entire film was hand drawn.
"Tangled" very well could end up being nominated for several awards in the category of animation. At no point does the movie’s plot drag. The characters’ performances are memorable and the situations they find themselves in provide for good entertainment.
"Tangled" gives Disney much-needed respect after the 2009 disappointment that was "The Princess and the Frog," with a combination of solid musical numbers and funny scenes that both children and adults alike will enjoy. Pixar Studios has solved the formula of what makes a movie appealing to both kids and adults, and Disney may have uncovered their secrets with their newest film. While the movie trailor may portray "Tangled" as just a kid’s movie, the teenagers and adults that go see it will be pleasantly surprised. While most of the movie is filled with laughs, happy moments and magic, there are darker aspects of the movie that will appeal to older age groups. Thievery, a grieving couple wishing for the return of their lost daughter and an evil woman using a kidnapped girl for her magical abilities to stay young and beautiful bring a different tone to the film.
Audience members will remember Rapunzel as more than just a girl with long hair. When the movie is over and the end credits roll, the audience will have no problem allowing Rapunzel access into the exclusive Disney princess club. Move over "Beauty and the Beast," "The Little Mermaid," "Snow White," and "Cinderella," Rapunzel, with her long, magical blonde hair and hazel eyes, has cemented herself as one of, if not the best, Disney princess during its 50 years of movie making.