TANGLED Review

'Tangled' is what Disney does best. It is a classic princess tale that will no doubt spawn thousands of toys and other items that little girls will be wearing for many years. I knew this going in, we all knew what to expect and honestly it was kind of heart-warming knowing we were about to be taken to this world that would remind us of the princess tales I loved the best as a kid. Ones like 'Aladdin', 'Beauty and the Beast' and even 'The Little Mermaid'. This is the first step back in that direction for Disney and its computer animated department. I mention these movies because the male figure was more developed, more central to the story than they were in say 'Snow White' or 'Cinderella'. Instead of stock characters Aladdin drove the story and the beast was kind of the reason for the entire film. The same can be said about 'Tangled'. Whereas this is a retelling of Rapunzel it spends just as much time developing Flynn Ryder, our heroine who is actually a thief (nice little twist I thought). "Chuck's" Zachary Levi voicing Flynn with a kind of suave-dunce persona makes for an amusing lead male and Mandy Moore provides just the right amount of sweetness and song bird for the adorable Rapunzel. Yes, the story is familiar, it is the princess tale we have all heard before, evil old woman and all. I enjoyed the tone of the film though and that is what's most important here. The makers know the older audiences will see where this is going from the first scene, which is actually quite nice and epic as it sets up the back story for the main action. The film from that point unfolds with ease at a brisk pace and never wonders into boring territory, which is to say it is consistently entertaining but what I was even more surprised by was how often I actually found myself genuinely laughing. Sure there were plenty of kiddie jokes and that's fine and dandy, they should be there, what I didn't expect but was more than happy to see was the little, old, drunk, cupid man who would pop up occasionally. The little hints at something more, even the chameleon and his entire persona had me chuckling. This great sense of humor and the beautiful, vibrant colors and visuals of the animation create that tone I was pointing out earlier. It is hard to explain as I try to think back on the viewing experience, but it just felt the entire time I was watching this I simply feel like I was escaping and if you are of a certain age, it felt somewhat nostalgic with a present twist on it. Directors Nathan Greno and Byron Howard handle the familiar story well and I was very happy with the musical numbers here. First of all, I was glad they decided to include them and second, it was nice to see Alan Menkin back at the reigns. As with last years underrated 'Princess and the Frog', 'Tangled' hearkens back to a time when the songs moved the story along as well as creating a spectacular visual statement on screen and I hope this little trend continues outside of the princess genre. My main complaint is that it doesn't set itself far enough apart to be an instant classic as all the aforementioned films seem to. Sure, there is the whole hair thing and as interesting and legendary a fairy tale as that is, it seems to take a back seat to the love story instead of playing a crucial role in that love story as most of these complications in Disney films do. Would Ariel become human to be with Eric? Would the beast transform back into a man? And as some will argue, you could ask the question will Rapunzel escape her evil, adoptive mother and find her way back to her real king and queen parents? Yea, you could do that, but this question doesn't hinge on the hook. This may all sound a little too picky and I certainly might be reading too much into a children's movie but in a year that has produced some great animation I think I have the right to be. It is not that I didn't like the film because of this, in fact I thought it was a great modern way to tell a story that never gets old and in fact needs to be passed on in different incarnations. I hope that this is the first of many CG Disney films that attempt to continue on with the tradition of the hand-drawn Disney movies I loved as a child and still watch today. It is good, not as great as it could have been, but satisfying none the less. No reason not to go get "tangled" up in it.