Tangled – film review
The mane event
PG * 100 mins * 28 January 2010
Distributor: Walt Disney
Directors: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard
Cast: Zachary Levi, Mandy Moore, Donna Murphy, Ron Perlman, MC Gainey, Jeffrey Tambor
Don’t let the pseudo-hip, not-a-princess-movie-boys-don’t-be-afraid marketing fool you: Disney hasn’t run that far from its basic concept of a heroine who wishes her life were different while singing songs that explain it and then going on an adventure. But, understandably twitchy after the less-than-magical box office results for The Princess And The Frog, Tangled is the result of some major Mouse House retooling. Fortunately, the blend of traditional musical toon theatre and a slightly more knowing DreamWorks-esque style, while not totally a match made in heaven, is at least a comfortable relationship.
Turning the tale of Rapunzel into the story of a girl trapped by a passive-aggressive, age-obsessed crone (Donna Murphy’s Mother Gothel shares both the look and the spooky fast-regeneration abilities of Cher) and the charming thief who helps the long-tressed dreamer finally break free, Bolt directors Greno and Howard have hit the right tone. While not all the songs work, Dan Fogelman’s script is brought to life with impish glee by Chuck star Zachary Levi, who more than makes up for the slightly blander turn by Mandy Moore. And the rest of the cast is a rogue’s gallery of stalwart character types (Ron Perlman, MC Gainey and even Richard Kiel) who chow down on smaller roles with gusto.
The kids will sit still for the wacky madness (the breakout star is snooty royal steed Maximus, a horse who thinks and acts more like a dog than a nag) and anyone they drag into the cinema with them won’t find this a pain to sit through either. For the first time in a while, it looks like Disney’s cracked the formula without needing to rely on Pixar to figure out the equations.