Based on the Grimm Brothers fairy tale Rapunzel, Tangled is the story about a long-lost princess with long magical hair who yearns to leave her secluded tower with the help of a thief to reach a city for an upcoming festival. Directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard with a screenplay by Dan Fogelman, the animated film is a partially-experimental film where 2D hand-drawn animation and 3D computer animation work together to create a new take on the story of Rapunzel. With a voice cast that includes Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Ron Perlman, M.C. Gainey, Frank Welker, Brad Garrett, and Jeffrey Tambor. Tangled is a fun and adventurous animated film from Nathan Greno and Byron Howard.
After being kidnapped by an old woman named Gothel (Donna Murphy), Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) has been kept in seclusion by Gothel who needs her long hair to maintain her youth. All of her life, Rapunzel wonders about these lights she sees up in the sky as they always appear on her birthday as she’s about to turn 18. She asks Gothel if she can go out and see what’s over there as Gothel claims the outside world is a dark place as she goes out to gather things Rapunzel needs for her painting. Meanwhile, a young thief named Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) has stolen a crown from a kingdom as he and the Stabbington brothers (Ron Perlman) flee the guards where Flynn finds himself hiding in Rapunzel’s home where he is knocked and interrogated by the young girl.
After Flynn reluctantly agrees to take Rapunzel to see the sky lanterns in exchange for the crown he stole, Rapunzel enters the outside world with her pet chameleon Pascal. When Gothel realizes that Rapunzel has left her tower, she tries to find her with the help of the Stabbington brothers as Flynn and Rapunzel go to a tavern where they meet rough thugs whom they befriend due to their aspirations for a life outside of crime. The thugs help Rapunzel evade the guards who are looking for Rider as they hide in caves where Flynn learns about the magical elements of Rapunzel’s hair. Flynn reveals his real name as he takes Rapunzel to the kingdom with help the guards’ lead horse Maximus.
With Rapunzel finally getting the chance to see the sky lanterns with Flynn, Flynn encounters the Stabbington brothers in hope to live up to his deal with them. Instead, the plan is altered where Gothel takes Rapunzel as she discovers her true identity while Flynn deals with guards in his hopes to save Rapunzel.
The film is essentially a re-telling of the story of Rapunzel with a new twist as screenwriter Dan Fogelman creates a story where it’s about this young girl who is this long-lost princess that has been secluded for all her life in the care of a woman who needs her hair to maintain her youth and beauty. While there is a bit of exposition about Rapunzel’s hair told in a prologue by the character of Flynn Rider. It does reveal the kind of person Gothel is and why she’s been keeping Rapunzel as she isn’t a traditional villain. Rider and Rapunzel aren’t traditional good guys either as Flynn is an admitted thief while Rapunzel is a young woman who doesn’t know about the outside world but can fend for herself. Fogelman’s script succeeds in not just giving these characters more than what they’re supposed to be. He also succeeds in playing with the damsel-in-distress formula by adding humor and light-dramatic scenes that does help move the story forward.
The direction of Nathan Greno and Byron Howard is brilliant for the compositions and scenes that are created. Notably as it combines 2D hand-drawn animation with 3D computer animation as the film has a look that is all computer animated but the feeling of a 2D animated film. Notably in the way the characters move and interact with certain things as well as the set pieces created for the film. One notable sequence that really is a marvel to watch is the sky lanterns scene where all of these lanterns are displayed in a nighttime sky. It’s truly exquisite in its beauty and the way those scenes are drawn. With its mix of humor and adventure, Greno and Howard create a film that is truly entertaining as well as making something is a true visual feast.
Editor Tim Merkins does an incredible job with the film‘s editing as he brings a wonderful sense of style in creating montages to Rapunzel‘s reaction to be out of the world as well as a few jump-cuts to play with the film‘s unique rhythm. Production designer Douglas Rogers, along with art directors Dan Cooper and David Goetz, does great work in creating some of the set pieces for the film such as Rapunzel‘s tower and the tavern the thugs hang out at. Visual effects supervisor Steve Goldberg does a brilliant job with some of the visual effects created for some of the 3D parts of the film that includes the sky lanterns scene.
Sound designers Cameron Frankley, Jason W. Jennings, and Ai-Ling Lee do a fantastic job with the sound work from the sound of leaves and waterfalls in the woods to the atmosphere of the tavern and damn that Rapunzel and Flynn encounter. The film’s music by Alan Menken is brilliant for its mixture of flourishing orchestral music to more playful folk music for some of the scenes at the kingdom. The songs that Menken wrote with lyricist Glenn Slater are definitely top of the line such as Mother Knows Best, the ballad I See the Light, and the very upbeat I’ve Got a Dream as it’s some of the best work that Menken has done as it also includes a song by Grace Potter in the film’s final credits.
The voice casting by Jamie Sparer Roberts is wonderful for the ensemble that is created as it includes Frank Welker voicing the enjoyable animal creatures in the horse Maximus and the chameleon Pascal. Other notable small voice work include Richard Kiel, Jeffrey Tambor, and Brad Garrett as friendly thugs, M.C. Gainey as the guard captain, and Ron Perlman doing dual voice work as the rough and conniving Stabbington Brothers. Donna Murphy is superb as the sly yet cunning Gothel who is desperate to keep Rapunzel with her while dealing with Rapunzel’s yearning for freedom. Zachary Levi is terrific as the charming and brave Flynn Rider who reluctantly helps Rapunzel out while realizing what it takes to be a very good guy. Finally, there’s Mandy Moore in a fantastic performance as Rapunzel as she brings a lot of humor, wit, and determination to the character who is quite naïve but also willing to see the sky lanterns as she also has great chemistry with Levi and Murphy.
Tangled is an extraordinary film from Nathan Greno and Byron Howard. Featuring amazing animation and a remarkable ensemble voice cast, it’s a film that definitely lives up to a lot of the animated films Disney has made in the past. Notably as it allows hand-drawn animators and computer animators to create a hybrid of both styles that gives the film a very dazzling yet magical feel. In the end, Tangled is a rich and delightful animated film from Disney Animation Studios.
© thevoid99 2012