I love animation films. The thought of the care and attention poured over each frame reminds me of a simpler time when just the sight of the sparkles flying over that most majestic of castles during the opening credits would get me excited. However, with the invention of modern technology and a more ‘grown-up me’, I now know that it takes a single click of a mouse and several hundred CGI programmers to churn out a feature. It takes the romance out of the idea altogether and I need something more than Tinkerbell zipping over a jumped-up Barbie house.
Tangled is the latest offering from Disney; it’s a take on the Brothers Grimm fairy-tale, Rapunzel. After receiving healing powers from a magical flower, the baby Princess Rapunzel is kidnapped from her parent’s palace in the middle of the night by Mother Gothel. The old hag knows that the flower’s magical powers are now growing within Rapunzel’s golden hair and, to stay young, she must lock the princess in her hidden tower. Now a teenager, Rapunzel is bored of the confines of her tower prison and wants to experience the world outside, and, most importantly, see the lights that float by her window each year on her birthday. Cue the entrance of charming bandit Flynn Ryder who stumbles upon Rapunzel whilst being chased by the law. Sound familiar? That’s because it is. Remember not so long ago when Princess Jasmine was being held captive in her own lonely tower and a charming thief came to rescue her on a magic carpet? Aladdin was great. It had all the hallmarks of a successful Disney cartoon; beautifully rendered scenes, catchy tunes and a cameo by Robin Williams playing the wise cracking genie.
Tangled‘s animation is beautifully realised. We expect nothing less from the studio. As you watch from behind your 3D glasses, you just want to reach out and be a part of the world before you. However, this is where my praise for the film ends. Ryder has none of the charm of Aladdin (I certainly would rather the man on the magic carpet come rescue me) and although Rapunzel’s sidekick chameleon has its own appeal, nothing can top Williams and his manic performance.
However, the main complaint that I have with the film is that it lacks that magic ingredient, the feeling of awe and wonder you leave the cinema with after seeing a Disney flick. With The Lion King I could still hum the tunes from beginning to end long after seeing it. In fact, if required, I can belt out ‘I Just Can’t Wait to be King’ on demand. After leaving the screening of Tangled however, I had a rather odd feeling that I’d been robbed of my chance to see some singing animals.
Tangled is a poor man’s Pixar film. No longer is it simply good enough to produce a lazy adaptation of a fairy-tale. Characters have to represent something of the real problems that the younger generation faces rather than simply wanting to run away and find prince charming. Up, Wall-E and even Monsters Inc have moral dilemmas and life lessons that even the youngest audiences can grasp with a little explanation.
With so much out there for families and children to choose from, Tangled is one that I would suggest giving a miss. It simply tries too hard and ends up tying itself in knots, leaving just enough hair to hang itself out to dry with.
Good – The visuals are nice and full of rose-tinted goodness that is customary Disney.
Bad – With so much else out there, a lazy adaptation of the fairy tale doesn’t cut it.