Watching Tangled today I couldn’t help but be reminded of the last film I saw – Black Swan. And not just because it had dancing in it, here was another incarnation of a mother figure so horrifying that you would leap from a tower a mile high to escape her taloned clutches. And there the similarity ends. Tangled is a pure delight of bright light, song and true love, filling the theatre itself through the most gorgeous use of 3D.
Tangled brings to life one of my favourite fairy tales – the story of Rapunzel whose beautiful golden locks bring perpetual youth. All she has to do is sing a song and her hair literally shines and brings endless youth and health to those who touch it. As befitting a fairy tale, Rapunzel and her hair falls into the hands of an evil crone who hides her away in a tower in the forest. All the better to escape the clutches of men with fangs. But when Flynn Rider, a thief with a smoulder, seeks shelter in her tower, Rapunzel sees a chance to fulfil her dream which is to set foot outside, feel the grass beneath her feet, and see the lanterns which are released into the sky every year on the birthday of the kingdom’s lost princess, her birthday.
The story of Tangled is a joy from start to finish – the dramatic escape from the crone, with Rapunzel still believing this hideous figure is a mother who loves her, Rapunzel’s innocent seduction of all the dastardly Viking-esque rogues in the Snuggly Duckling, daring escapes from inescapable tight spots and finally the spectacle of countless lanterns launched into the sky – fabulous.
And that’s just the human story. Rapunzel is accompanied by a loving chameleon while Errol, sorry, Flynn, is pursued by the most committed and resourceful and dexterous of horses, Maximus. It is possible that Maximus is the true star of Tangled, not least because he can fight with a sword against a man with a frying pan. But here is a crazy horse with a conscience and he’s nothing if not stubborn.
The dialogue is crisp and very funny indeed. Mandy Moore does a good job as Rapunzel but Zachary Levi is sensational as Ryder. They even sing a bit. But when the lanterns fly into the night sky and when the ending happens as you know it will I like to think I wasn’t the only one to feel something in my eye.
Tangled is Disney’s 50th animated feature. Without doubt, it is one of their finest and shows yet again how 3D can be used to fantastic effect, creating a magnificent animated movie experience. Do yourself an enormous favour, watch Tangled, in 3D, as soon as you can. This is far too good for kids.