'Tangled': Disney's take on Rapunzel is as gorgeous as it is engaging
By Ann Hornaday
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Almost one year ago, Disney made a bit of cinema history by releasing "The Princess and the Frog," featuring cartoon-dom's first African American princess. "Tangled," this year's animated holiday offering from the studio, may not have the same symbolic import or rich score. But it provides further evidence that, with live-action movies increasingly opting for naturalistic grit, animation may be the last refuge for sheer, unapologetic beauty.
"Tangled" is a princess story, too, in this case that of Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore), who as an infant is abducted from her parents' castle by the vindictive Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) and raised in a tower, her hair all the time growing, growing, growing. And glowing, glowing, glowing: Rapunzel's super-long (and amazingly well-conditioned) tresses have magic that make them light up and turn back the clock for anyone they touch - namely, the youth-obsessed Gothel.
Rapunzel's home life may be a study in passive-aggressive dysfunction, but for the most part "Tangled" is zippy and engaging, especially when the wide-eyed heroine joins forces with cocky bandit Flynn (Zachary Levi) - and a scene-stealing palace horse named Maximus.
Reportedly, the filmmakers were inspired by French romantic painting, but with its luminous azures, lavenders and golds, the film's dazzling color palette also recalls Maxfield Parrish. The result is an uncommonly pretty visual experience, especially during a climactic scene when hundreds of lanterns are sent aloft into the night sky. One thousand points of light never looked so fetching.
Contains brief mild violence.