‘Tangled’ fails at attempt to be fresh or classic Disney

Courtesy Photo
With her pet chameleon, Pascal, on her shoulder, Rapunzel holds Flynn Rider hostage with her hair after he climbs into her tower. Rapunzel is voiced by Mandy Moore. Flynn Rider voiced by Zachary Levi.

By Cara Leigh

In an attempt to wring a modern twist out of a fairy tale classic, “Tangled” fumbles around on screen with much-intended charm which, in the end, turns out to be the stubborn knot in this new Disney charade.fA savvy re-vamp of the fable of Rapunzel, “Tangled” is a frank, abrupt, tongue-in-cheek animated musical about the girl with the long blonde hair.

After drinking an elixir from a single enchanted healing flower, a sick and pregnant queen gives birth to a princess with radiant golden locks which, it turns out, contain concentrated magical healing powers as well.

But not all is well in the kingdom: the vain old hag Mother Gothel wanted to use the rare flower as her own fountain for beauty and youth and in greed snatches up the baby princess in order to exploit the child’s magical power.

Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) grows to be a feisty and wistful stowaway, and with the sensuous and seductively wicked Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) hiding her from the kingdom and the world, the teenager and her quirky pet chameleon soon get cabin fever within the confines of their tall, lonely tower.

The blonde beauty is endearing enough, but her naivety and wide-eyed innocence is an act that we’ve all seen before thanks to the very same hands of Disney’s animation studio. She adds nothing new to the Disney vault with her gumption (Belle, Pocahontas, Jasmine and Ariel), woes of confinement (Ariel, Jasmine, Pocahontas and Cinderella) and stunningly good looks (any Disney princess ever conceived).

This unoriginality flattens out her character into a well-meaning but fairly boring princess, and the introduction of the disarmingly debonair bandit Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) does not help her case. Pooling all of their resources to make a cad-like Rider pop off of the screen, the animators ended up neglecting poor darling Rapunzel.

With some assistance from a bloodhound of a white stallion and an ensemble of an exaggerated and spirited nature, “Tangled” is a silly, slapstick comedy lathered in a sappy, melodramatic finish.

Its angle was to appeal to a more advanced and informed crowd, one that has grown weary of happy endings and trite, fairy tale narratives. It was supposed to appear laughably self-aware, supposed to be snappy and fresh.

It makes for a cumbersome musical, has little sense of rhythm or nuance, and is — despite a briefly intriguing climactic twist — predictable. Disney has lost its once-invaluable ability to tell a good, simple story well, and with this talent they also lose their luster.

“Tangled” is a cheesy fairy tale, and a far cry from a masterpiece.

Grade: B+