Saturday, December 11, 2010

Movie Review - Tangled

Tangled, for those of you who have been living in some sort of alternate universe where you aren't spammed with advertisements for everything having to do with Disney every five minutes (which admittedly actually sounds pretty nice) is the latest Disney film. It is, like many older Disney movies, and like last year's "The Princess and the Frog" is a modernized version of a classic fairy tale. This time, Disney chose the well known story of Rapunzel.

You know the story, girl has a wicked stepmother/witch/whatever who traps her in a tower, and for some reason she grows really long hair and yada yada yada blah blah blah. If I have to tell you the story of Rapunzel... Who are you? Seriously. If you don't know the story this film is based on... Go Google it you strange person.

The major difference, and one that I will admit made me very hesitant of seeing this film, is that this is not traditional animation, this is CGI. And looking back at Disney's CGI track record... Errrr... It's not the best. I mean, on the one hand you have movies which are good but not great like Meet The Robinsons or Bolt, which are both worth seeing... And on the other hand you have Chicken Little and... Well...

Yeeeeaaah... Not a good track record for Disney here when it comes to CGI* thus far. So, while the trailers looked good I've been disappointed by a movie with a good enough trailer before so I've since learned not to trust them. And so I went into the theater hopeful, but skeptical. So what was the verdict? Is the movie good? Decent? Terrible?

Ladies and gentlemen, this movie is absolutely FANTASTIC.

Seriously, I never thought I would say this, but this is a real contender for my favorite animated film of the year, and that's saying a lot considering this year brought movies like "How to Train Your Dragon" and of course "Toy Story 3". In fact, this is one of the best MOVIES I've seen this year. And I saw Inception, so... I was wowed.

But let's back up a minute, shall we? What makes Tangled so good? Well, I'm tempted here to say "everything" and just stop writing, but NO! I shall tell you just what makes this movie so darn good.

First, let me tell you about the plot. As you could see from my statement above, everyone knows the story of Rapunzel, so it would have been very easy for this film to feel repetitive and redundant and repetitive and redundant. But was it? No! Not at all! They introduced many new elements that vastly improved the typical story of Rapunzel. So let me give you a quick outline of the plot. This is spoiler free in my opinion, since everything I tell you is recapped in the first 5 minutes of the film, but uh... If you really care that much about spoiling the first 5 minutes of the film... Scroll down a bit.

Are they gone? Ok good. Now then, long ago there was a magic flower. An old hag found the magic flower, and learned that it had magical properties that would return her to youth when she sang to it. She kept this power to herself and would return to the flower every so often, to return her youth. Centuries passed, and there was a kingdom which sprung up in the area, ruled by a beloved King and Queen. The Queen was pregnant, but unfortunately before the child was born, she became very ill. Dying, the entire kingdom searched for a miracle. And thus, they found the flower, much to the dismay of the old hag, Gothel.

The Queen was restored to health and the girl, Rapunzel, was born. Gothel, unwilling to give up her eternal youth, however, snuck into the castle, and attempted to steal some of the girl's hair, which she knew would have the same magical properties of the flower. However, as she cut a lock of Rapunzel's hair from her head, it turned brown, and lost it's magical properties. Still unwilling to leave her eternal youth behind, she stole the child, and hid away with her in a tower deep in the forest, never to be found again.

Cut to 18 years later, when Rapunzel has grown, and wants to leave the tower. "Mother" Gothel, isn't pleased with this however.

Now, let me say, the writers for Rapunzel did an AWESOME job. She totally feels like a fully fleshed out character, and not a stereotypical princess, which would have been an easy trap to fall into. The voice actress did an awesome job with her lines, and just in general they took a generic princess character, Rapunzel, and made her kind of awesome. Her character feels intelligent, capable, and fun. Also, there's a very interesting dynamic between her and "Mother" Gothel. You see, Gothel raised her, and Rapunzel really thinks she's her real mother.

And so, even though to the audience it's very obvious that Gothel is evil, you can also really feel for Rapunzel, as everyone's had a point where they've been frustrated with a close family member in some way, and can relate to still loving your family, even when you don't particularly like them.

The other main character of the film, aside from Rapunzel, is Flynn Rider, the daring charismatic thief. The best way I can describe Flynn, is if you took one part Nathan Drake (or for that matter any character voiced by Nolan North), one part Captain Mal, and one part Aladdin, and mixed them together into one awesome character.

Flynn, voiced by Zachary Levi the actor who plays Chuck in, well, Chuck, is a LOT of fun. His dialogue is always fun, and well written, and... Well, he's just awesome. He's, again, a really well done character. Major props, again, to the writers for that character.

But what would a Disney musical extravaganza be without music? ...Er... I guess it would just be Atlantis, But that's aside the point. What I was getting at is that the music in this film, written by the legendary Alan Menken, with lyrics by "Glenn Slater" who I've never heard of, is really really good. I could tell you about it, or I could give you an example.

Guess which one I'll pick? (Hint: Both.)

The music feels both modern, and at the same time completely feels like the music from classic Disney movies like, again, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, or The Lion King. Due in no small part I'm sure, due to the fact that it was composed by, well, Alan Menken. The guy who WROTE all the music for those movies.

But, the real big turnoff for most people, myself included, was the animation. So I suppose I should probably talk about that some, right? Right. So is the animation good? HECK YEAH! This is, I don't hesitate to say, some of the best CGI I have EVER SEEN. Avatar has nothing on this movie, not because this is more photo realistic, but because this is more gorgeous.

Let me give you an example. The tower. The tower Rapunzel and Gothel live in. Every surface in the tower has been painted by Rapunzel during her 18 years living in the castle. The result? An absolutely gorgeous set, which, just looking in the background, is jaw dropping. It's visually stunning, seeing intricate designs on every surface. The outside of the tower is also gorgeous, and the sequence about 2/3rds of the way through the movies, during the song "I See The Light" is probably the most amazing piece of CGI animation I've ever seen. It's fantastic, on par, perhaps even surpassing, anything Pixar, the best animation studio on the planet, has put out.

If you get a chance, see it in 3D. Why? Well, while there won't be that many things popping out at you, the 3D adds a depth to the film which makes it even more visually stunning.

The action sequences are awesome, the characters, even the minor ones, are all a lot of fun, the humor is always spot on, and... This movie just rocks! I loved this movie. It was absolutely incredible. You are doing yourself a disservice if you dismiss this film as "just another Disney CGI film" like Bolt, Meet the Robinsons, or Chicken Little (And 2/3rds of those movies were pretty darn good, see if you can figure out which two.), and you should see this film.

10/10. This movie is incredible. The voice acting, the animation, the writing, the music... All perfect. Go see it. End of story.

*For the love of god if I get a single person who tries to tell me I'm wrong about Disney CGI movies because I'm forgetting Pixar I will give that person an internet punch in the face. That's right. I will reach through your monitor and give you an internet punch in the face. PIXAR =/= DISNEY. Pixar is (now) owned by Disney, but this was NOT produced as a Pixar film, and I was speaking of DISNEY ANIMATION movies, NOT Pixar animation movies. Big difference.

1 comment:

  1. yidio - As most of the reviewers have stated they are of an 'older' viewing audience and still think the Movie is brilliant. As a 19 year old Boy viewing this film i can also agree with everyone else in saying this film is brilliant!! and can be viewed and greatly enjoyed by an audience of any age! With many funny moments ( for both older and younger viewers to understand together) and many others just primarily for younger viewers to laugh at and moments for the older viewers to laugh at. Has a brilliant story that grips your attention through the whole film. And lovable characters that all in all makes you want to re-watch the film over and over!! Keep em coming Disney!
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