One of Disney’s most underrated and excellent films, Tangled is one of those that is entertaining for both children and adults alike.
Based on the classic fairy tale of Rapunzel and her extensive hair, Tangled follows Rapunzel (Moore) on her first adventure out of the tower in which she has been kept under lock and key, thanks to her overbearing mother (Murphy). With the help of her initially reluctant guide, Flynn Rider (Levi), she comes to find out a few things that will change her life forever.
The character of Rapunzel was absolutely perfectly cast with Mandy Moore, who has proven herself over the years to not only be an amazing singer but also a very capable actress. She fully brings Rapunzel alive, from her innocent beginning to her maturing after experiencing a world outside the tower she’s inhabited for eighteen years, including falling in love with the delightfully arrogant Flynn, again wonderfully cast with Levi. They make for the perfect Disney couple in more ways than one – yes, they look good together, but they also bring out the best in each other, a wonderful example to younger audiences. It is also a testament to the continuing advances in equality that Disney strives towards: Rapunzel is no damsel in distress, fully able to take care of herself (coming to Flynn’s rescue numerous times rather than relying on him to be the hero) and the title is purposely gender-neutral – it was originally to be titled simply Rapunzel, but it was decided it was really Flynn’s movie too (he does most of the narration) and it doesn’t put young boys off enjoying the film.
As is typical Disney the plot is nudged forward every so often with a catchy tune – Mother Knows Best is certainly one for the mums who will be reminding their children of this through constant verse; I’ve Got a Dream will have everyone singing along; and of course the obligatory now-they’ll-realise-they-love-each-other song, I See the Light (all written by Glenn Slater with music by genius Disney favourite Alan Menken). Unlike some Disney films of the past ten to fifteen years (post-Disney renaissance, really) that feature perhaps one or two fairly decent tunes (I’m looking at you, Frozen), every one of Tangled’s songs fits perfectly into the film and will be ear worms for quite some time after the initial hearing. A soundtrack can make or break a Disney movie: Tangled’s soundtrack quite simply nailed it.
Tangled will certainly become one of the Disney ‘classics’: Rapunzel has been inducted into the Disney Princess hall-of-fame and the film has been subjected to a mini sequel (Tangled Ever After, a six-minute short), a cartoon-animated TV movie (Tangled: Before Ever After) and an extension of the TV movie into a series (simply named Tangled). If that doesn’t prove the longevity and continuing popularity of Tangled, I don’t know what does.