Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! What are you planning to do when the turkey’s been eaten and the kids are getting cabin fever? If you’re thinking about taking them to the movies, let me recommend Disney’s “Tangled.”
When I got an offer to see a free preview of this re-telling of the Rapunzel fairy tale, I was prepared to dislike it. The Disney Channel has been promo-ing it super-heavy for weeks now, and they’ve focused on the usual Disney schtick. I was ready for the formula: spunky heroine who doesn’t really need a prince to rescue her? Check. Funny animal sidekicks? Check. Rom-com slapstick? Check! Semi-stunt casting that will excite the parents in the crowd? Hey, listen, that’s Mandy Moore! Check!
“Tangled” definitely brings the formula. (I liked Maximus, the horse who thinks he’s a dog, but could have done without Rapunzel’s random buddy chameleon. Seriously? A chameleon in what appears to be a central/northern European fairy tale forest? Oooooohh-kay then.) What I wasn’t prepared for is how dark this actually film is.
Slapstick aside, I think it might be one of the darkest Disney films I’ve seen in awhile. This is, after all, a story about a kidnapped child, and the backstory about who Rapunzel is and why she’s being held captive really is heartbreaking. Then there’s the relationship between the young girl and the woman she thinks is her mother–definite shades of Stephen King’s “Carrie.” I couldn’t help feeling like Rapunzel was going to need some therapy once she found her happily-ever-after.
It was this aspect of the film that drew me in, while my daughter enjoyed the lighter parts. And though the songs were pretty forgettable (no “Be Our Guests” or “Part of Your Worlds,” alas) I did find “Tangled” lovely to look at, especially during a scene with hundreds of floating lanterns. “Tangled” might not be an instant Disney classic, but it’s definitely worth seeing – just bring lots of tissues and be forewarned: it’s hard to wipe away your tears when you’re wearing 3-D glasses!