When I say Disney's back, I very much mean it. Ever since the renaissance of Disney animation ended in 1999 with Tarzan, and Disney Feature Animation fell into a mediocre movie slump people began to ask the question - "When will Disney get back on its game and dominate the animation industry again?" Clearly, this took a little while, but when Princess and the Frog was released it seemed that Disney was finally getting back on the quality horse. Now, having seen Tangled, I can very happily say that Disney is on that horse and riding it at full force again. Welcome back Disney. We've missed you.
Tangled is the story of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. Rapunzel is a girl with magic hair that can heal when you sing a special song, who has been locked in a tower ever since she was kidnapped as a baby, and Flynn is a nimble thief on the run - having just duped his 'co-workers'. A perfect couple, right?
Rapunzel's mother, Gothel, has forbid Rapunzel from ever leaving the tower, so Rapunzel spends her days playing with Pascal, a chameleon, until Flynn bursts into her tower looking to hide out. Rapunzel realizes that this thief is her chance to see the world, but more specifically the myterious lanters that float over the city every year on her birthday. After some creative bargaining, Flynn reluctantly agrees to take her to see the floating lights, which quickly leads to the couple being chased by two theives, the palace gaurds, Gothel, and an incredibly intense soldier horse named Maximus. Hilarity, adventure, and fantastic action ensues.
This movie took Disney and brought it back to being a family studio again, not just one for little kids. There are intense moments, possibly scary ones, and even a little blood - but it's perfectly matched with a fresh take on an old fairy tale, and humor so funny that it matches The Emperor's New Groove. The characters are real and very 3-dimensional, and the animation sells them even further.
Ah, the animation. To not mention the visual quality of this film would be a crime. It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. The character animation, textures, backgrounds, and everything else is pretty much divine. If you want to know more about the process it went though to be created - click this - but know that this is a movie to see in theaters or on blu-ray. Standard Definition does NOT do this film justice.
As to the music, Alan Menken and Glenn Slater provided a weatlh of decent songs - it's not their best - but they are none the less very good (slightly reminiscent of 'Hunchback of Notre Dame' and 'The Little Mermaid' with a new 'Pop' feeling). If you love Disney, these songs will please you, if not maybe not - it's up in the air, however, the 'Flower Incantation' and Mother Gothel's villian's song reprise are both phenomenal numbers.
My only major gripe with the film is that after the climax it kind of rushes through the ending in a way that seems to say "um... we didn't quite know how to end this movie." There are a few ways it could have gone other wise, but then the film wouldn't be a Disney one. Of course it wraps up in the cliche Disney "happily Ever After" manner that we've all come to expect - but I don't think that's a spoiler because with Disney films it's not what the ending is, but how the characters got there, and this journey is not a journey worth missing.
Tangled swings into theaters Wednesday. Be there.