Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rapunzel, Rapunzel

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?

Labels: , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share


Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


You should do more movie reviews, Joshua! =D

My favourite elements of the original fairy tale are the "deal with the devil" Rapunzel's mother makes with the witch and the Rapunzel's having to weave a rope out of material the prince brings her during every visit (which is why it takes so long to get her out of the tower). I don't know if either one made it into the movie; but as Disney obviously has different priorities from the people who first told these stories to children and stories from oral traditions must be tweaked a lot for such a visual medium as film . . . I guess it would be pointless to mind. =P

Have you seen any of the Shrek movies, Joshua? I found them enjoyable and didn't mind most of the satire, but when I saw the trailer for Tangled and thought it looked like Shrek that kind of put me off. Is Tangled going for the same tongue-in-cheek humour--or does the connection not go beyond the design?

12:31 AM  
Blogger elena maria vidal said...

We enjoyed it a lot, too! Great review!

12:44 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Thanks. I do do moview reviews! The only problem is that I only see about two or three movies a year these days. I did watch the eight-hour-plus Beatles Anthology recently, which I should review. (It's great.)

I only saw the last of the Shrek franchise, which is either the best or the worst according to what I've read. In Tangled there is some of that humor you mentioned, but not too many pop cultural references, which I was happy to see, or not to see I should say.

12:59 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Glad to see I am not alone (and that my brain has not melted). For some reason, one of my first great movie experiences, Da hong deng long gao gao gua (1991), came to mind. I guess I have a thing for lanterns.

1:08 AM  
Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


And of course, the last one is the only Shrek movie I haven't seen. =P

But I know what you mean about people either loving it or hating it.

I'm glad that Tangled isn't loaded with so many pop culture references. Those have a place in a parody of fairy tales (or rather, the Disneyfication of fairy tales), but they'd rankle in a movie that's supposed to be in the grand "fairy princess" tradition.

1:43 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.