Tangled Review


Tangled, like The Princess and the Frog in 2009, is a send-back to the Disney animation of old. It looks modern, but it has films like The Little Mermaid and The Lion King at its heart. It’s not as good as those films—few animated movies are—but it’s a worthwhile adventure. It might work more for the young ones than adults, but few people will walk away from it grumbling about another lackluster kid’s movie. I know I sure didn’t.

As with many Disney adventures, this one starts out with a princess, Rapunzel (voice of Mandy Moore), who grows up in less than ideal circumstances. Having been saved at birth by a magical, life-giving flower, Rapunzel has long, flowing blonde hair that can grant eternal youth and heal any wound. She’s kidnapped by the evil Mother Gothel (voice of Donna Murphy) who locks her in a tower and raises her to fear anything and everything outside it. Shortly before her 18th birthday, Rapunzel’s desire to explore overcomes her. She tricks Mother Gothel into going on a journey and blackmails an intruder, Flynn Ryder (voice of Zachary Levi), accompanying her to see the “floating lights” of the kingdom, which the King and Queen release every year in her honor, hoping she’ll one day find her way home.

The story is incredibly familiar and even has a familiar lead character, but clever animation, decent music, and a lot of heart save it from being immediately dismissible. By making the lead character such a plucky, free-spirited young girl at heart, we feel for her. She’s struggling to break free, and in Flynn, she doesn’t exactly find the most ideal partner-in-adventure, but the two bring out the best in each other.

In terms of voice work, the two leads are perfect for their parts. Neither Zachary Levi nor Mandy Moore has the most recognizable voices, which allow them to disappear behind the characters. That being said, Moore certainly has the pipes needed to belt out Tangled’s songs, none of which is incredibly memorable. They’re good enough in the moment, but there definitely isn’t a “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” or “A Whole New World” in the bunch.

When put up against 2010’s best animation—Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon—Tangled is definitely second-tier. The same can be said when putting it up against some of the older Disney films it emulates so successfully. But it’s a fun time at the movies and a welcome mirage in the desert of disappointing end-of-year major studio releases.

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