I took the kids to the picture show today to see Tangled (2010), a retelling of the Brothers Grimm's Rapunzel, and Walt Disney Pictures' Lth animated feature. I was expecting to catch some shut-eye, as not only was this a kids' film, the only kind this once self-styled cinéaste has seen in the theater for years, this was a kids' chick flick! What could be less engaging? Boy, was I wrong.
Despite my low expectations, or perhaps because of them (just about every critically-acclaimed movie of the past two decades, including artsy-fartsy foriegn ones, has left me dead cold), I sat enthralled from beginning to end! This was the first movie I've seen in which the CG worked and the 3D was not distracting. The love story was warm and believable in its adolescent purity, and had me feeling like a kid again, dreaming of falling in love with a girl as sweet and quirky as Rapunzel at the county fair. (The conservative in me couldn't help but notice she was barefoot throughout the whole movie.) The two cute animal characters didn't speak at all, let alone with annoying accents, usually black, as they often do in other animated films. And the action sequences were reminiscent of that timeless classic, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).
As to be expected, liberties were taken with the original story. Instead of a prince rescuing a peasant damsel in distress, the class roles are reversed. Of course, in reality, it is much easier for a woman to marry up, as commonly happened in fairy tales, but the reverse works in this adaptation. A more welcome liberty is the hero offering his very life for his love and her freedom, certainly a Christ-like gesture, and maintained are the traditional fairy tale nods to monarchy, ancestry, honor, and other ideals disparaged by moderns. Another detail that I seem to be the first to have noticed is that the character called Hook Hand Thug, who, when his unlikely dream to become a concert pianist is fulfilled at the end, takes on the exact same facial expressions employed by Lang Lang when he plays!
You might enjoy this movie even if you don't have kids. Dan Kois speculation as to why you may not have seen it is most interesting — Tangled Looks and Feels Great, So Why Is Disney Selling It Short?