Friday, December 14, 2012

Movie pReview: Tangled (2010)

This is the version of my review that should be read before watching the movies (Spoiler FREE!). Hence the name pReview. In these, I mostly discuss whether the movie deserves watching, re-watching, singing its songs in the shower (not that I would ever do that), and other ratings. I also discuss content and give a hint at worldview analysis. Final review is in another post that I will link to here after I write that post.

A Movie
Directed by Bryon Howard and Nathan Greno, Starring the voices of Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi.

A few words as I begin.
This movie. Was. *sets aside manliness on far shelf and tells it to be quiet* amazing
One of very few movies that I rate as having been worth 100% of the time they took to watch, and among those it is one of those that I was instantly thinking, "I liked that movie."

Summary: Rapunzel was a princess, vested with magically growing hair, and of course given the amount of beauty to which all princesses are entitled. But she was snatched away and stuck in a hidden tower, to be raised by her kidnapper. She has never left, but everyday enjoyed watching the outside world from her window, especially the light show that comes every year on her birthday. Then finally she gets the chance to see where the dreamy lights come from... and ends up discovering much more about her dreams than the lights.

Setting: Well, Disney did it again. Admittedly, animation makes it, in some ways, easier to have a spantabulous (and that's a good thing) setting, but in many ways much harder as well. The camera will always go totally realist, though nowadays even that is in question, but the animation studio is totally free as to the balance of realism and craziness in their settings. It is all pretty beautiful, from towers to kingdoms, all so classically done without screaming, "I am a cliche! Be appalled by my presence!" We never really get a sense for the geography of this fantastic and seemingly nameless land, but who needs maps when you the rest of this going for it! Only irked me once that I had no idea where in the world we were all going.

Characters: I may be using the word "stunning" a lot (as having used it now in both of my movie reviews) but it really is a nice word for describing the acting of both this movie and The Amazing Spiderman. I know I know, these characters were drawn by some guys and gals at a computer, but my hat (which I don't wear) is off to them! Flynn Rider, Rapunzel, the king and queen, guards, even a horse were all very convincing, and I am not always the easiest to please.
On a writing level, these characters pass muster as well. Flynn may seem somewhat one-track at times, but we get the idea that he is not even our typical playful-thief archetype rehashed. He is all that and yet something just slightly more, and we suspect it right until it is all revealed. Rapunzel remains her consistent self the whole movie, never flabbergasting us at her actions (except maybe at her talents in the first song) and pulling of the princess very well. I didn't feel like I had seen this plot eighty-million times before, even though it is a fairly stock fairy-tale plot (or so we would think).

Plot: And about the plot, it was good, too. Twists and turns that not even a con-artist could expect with linearity that all of us movie-reviewers and watchers are thankful for! Logic gaps are few if any and virtually non-existent, though one particular time I felt like I had to put my disbelief over by where I set my manliness a few minutes ago (particularly the super-pelvis moment, but that was delightful enough). The writers pulled off a good one in the plot department, particularly with their alternate revelation of layers of dubiousness. Good plots are where not all is at seems (to you and the characters both). Tangled does well by not simply proceeding from one conflict to the next and solving each one with magic and cunning and good one-liners, as happens in more Aladdin-like movies. It kept be guessing to the very end.

Content: As always, Plugged In is my first recommendation for content concerns, but if you want an utterly spoiler-free version you can stick with the following vague warnings.
Violence is never anything but comic, and never gratuitous in even that way. Guys brawl and fight, but it appears that getting knocked around is just about the only thing that happens when you fight and bang into one another.
Astonishingly, the romantic content in this movie is (remember my manliness is waaay over there, right?) at an acceptable and harmless level. Modesty is fabulously protected, and yet Rapunzel pulls off some good looks that not even I could fail to recognize (even if her eyes are unearthly huge). The only concern that could possibly be voiced here is that Rapunzel is unearthly beautiful (especially the giant-eyes thing) and may set some impossible expectations in the little-girls. But the story also preaches a message of confidence and self-worth (more on that in the next review), which helps counter-act that problem. Also, there is a bearded old man in a diaper. Not sure why that's there, but it is, and he's a little bit strange.
Parents may find concern with Rapunzel's running off from her home, especially at the inauspicious age of eighteen, making me think the writers might have chosen a less cliched date for taking control of one's life. Take it from an eighteen year-old guy, it felt weird.
So, my final word is a hearty "Good movie!" Not as deep as Inception, or The Dark Knight Rises, but maybe deeper than Men in Black III.

Worth its time in watching: Yes!
Worth watching again sometime: Yes! But probably not much more than once and not very often
Worth singing its songs in the shower: *checks to make sure manliness is still on far shelf* Yes! Several here that I liked!
Worth raving about in public: No. But worth saying, "Hey, that movie was funny." And if I am not with other guys... then I could say more...


  1. I like the pReview concept. :D

    This is one of Disney's best films (that I've seen) in terms of story and art. It's very well written, as you noted, and absolutely gorgeously animated. Just beautiful eye candy there. I have some quibbles with the morals, but it's still a film I very much enjoy.

    And don't get me started on singing. Motherrrrrrrrrrr knows best!

    1. I like this concept, too. Let's me double my posts, hehe.
      It was fantastic. I have always been rather critical of Disney and was not expecting much when the movie began, but it turned out pretty spantabulous (which is a good thing). Of course, with Disney, I have been suspicious of the morals, and more on that will come out in the post-review (still need a cool name for those).

      I am personally a bigger fan of "I've Got a Dream" (always loved bar-sounding songs). "Mother Knows Best" was a good one, but not one I could go around singing, haha.