"Tangled" - I'll never forget watching this in theaters when it came out the first time and really enjoying it and being somewhat embarrassed that I just like a princess movie as a 20-something bro. And yet, the film still stands as a great story for me. The story of Rapunzel at its simple core is really interesting, and you can tell the filmmakers enjoyed themselves when putting this together. As the years have passed, I feel like "Tangled" has been somewhat forgotten in comparison to the other Disney princess stars, but don't forget about this one (especially if you've never seen it).
Mandy Moore (who plays "Rapunzel") and Zachary Levi (who plays "Flynn Rider") honestly work beautifully. Their dynamic is one of the most genuine, fun relationships I've seen from an animated movie. "Mother Gothel" is super scary (seriously, I hate witches) and so well played by Donna Murphy.
The selfishness of "Mother Gothel" is a great teaching lesson for kids about the consequences others pay for selfishness. She is a really harsh character, and the verbal and physical abuse (for a kids movie) is certainly intense. When you actually consider this crazy woman has locked up a kidnapped teenager for 18+ years you realize this movie is almost worse than watching the nightly news.
The singing guides much of the score. And even though it's just a few songs, a few great songs they are.
I mentioned in the Morality section the true intenseness that envelopes itself in the setup of this film, but they navigate the intensity well. It's why comedy is so imperative to "Tangled" - if it weren't there this film would be darker than "Snow White". Interestingly, the chameleon is a funny character, the horse is over-the-top but also comedic, "Rapunzel" herself is never serious, even the ruffians and our suspected bad guy ("Flynn") are funny. The filmmakers found all of that to be necessary because of how evil the plot really is, when you think about it. Now, before I go on any further, let me say, "Tangled" has one of the funniest scenes I've ever seen (Top 100 for sure): "Rapunzel" has just left her tower and "mother" for the first and immediately begins questioning the decision - this montage of "being at war with herself" makes me laugh every time. I'll explain my remaining thoughts on Story in the Kernel Factor section.
"Tangled" certainly has its own style among the Disney library. The lanterns were a beautiful touch. It does feel claustrophobic, which is intentional, but because we are in one location for much of the first half of the film there's a sense of unease.
Picking up from the Story section, I think the one area that plagues this film from being better is the ending. The final act of the film is very abrupt. Whereas the beginning (especially) is so well told, developed beautifully, and passes off nicely to the middle section - the final act just rushes to be done. It needed more time to be teased out. It leaves a lot to be desired, but it's certainly not bad enough to miss out on watching yet another Disney classic.