Because This Time, Sneaking Out of the Window is No Easy Feat
by Issa Perez de Tagle
D: Nathan Greno and Byron Howard
S: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy
Every kid has been grounded by their parents at least once. If you haven’t, you’re probably an orphan. LOLJK! Okay that was mean — sorry. But seriously, though, almost everyone can relate to the sheer frustration of being trapped at home because of getting shut down by the parental units. Then again, a normal kid has been grounded maybe for a few days and, at most, probably a month. Our main protagonist Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), however, has basically been grounded for all her 18 years of life. Hmmm… suddenly a month doesn’t seem so bad, eh?
That’s what happens when you’re born with magical hair that has the power to cure any ailment and keep someone forever young. Evil old women like Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) kidnap you from your palace, raise you as their own, and lock you up in a tower deep in the forest under the pretense of “protecting” you against the innumerable horrors of the outside world (this is the part where overprotective parents shift uncomfortably in their seats LOL!).
Mother Gothel might not be the baddest villain on the Disney block, but she’s certainly one of the most manipulative. She gets Rapunzel to love and trust her so you really get to witness this interesting and at times even hilarious moral struggle as the princess decides whether or not to disobey the woman she’s come to know as her mother, so she can fulfill her desire for independence. But Rapunzel is a teenager, and the latter wins out eventually. Her birthday is fast approaching and for some inexplicable reason, during this time of year, lights appear in the sky coming from the direction of a faraway kingdom (cough, cough, hint, hint) and she’s just dying to see them up close.
That’s where Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) comes in. Escaping from the consequences of his latest heist unexpectedly lands him in Rapunzel’s tower, and after a few bumps and bruises, our not-so-distressed damsel has successfully blackmailed the hapless youth into being her guide. As you might imagine, this jailbreak does not go over well with Mother Gothel who comes back to the tower in need of a touch-up only to find that her personal fountain of youth has flown the coop.
To say that I’ve been waiting for this movie for a long time would be an understatement. When I first saw the trailer for Tangled, I basically lost my shit. I pretty much bleed Disney, and Rapunzel was one of my favorite bedtime stories growing up. In the beginning, I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t going to be done in traditional 2D animation, but what can I say? Disney’s latest production sans Pixar seems to be a glowing success. The visuals are lush and gorgeous, and they still maintain a kind of Rococo oil painting-like quality that really work the 3D feature to its advantage.
The film really picks up speed and gains momentum around the time Flynn comes bounding into the screen. This is largely due to the side-splitting interplay between his character and over-zealous guard horse Maximus who’s just determined to bring the rogue to justice. I think that’s what really makes this movie come alive: the humor. It’s quick and witty, and it even manages to sell the cornier stuff even to adults. The filmmakers did an amazing job penning something that the whole family can enjoy, and the principal voice cast and their animators made sure that they did it justice. Everyone brings their A game.
That is, except maybe in the music department, which I’ll probably have to grade a B. Although legendary composer Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater create a beautiful harmony of medieval music and 1960s folk rock, on the whole it’s still not as magical nor as memorable as the ones in the older classics. I do have my favorites which include the hilarious, “Mother Knows Best,” the tender love theme, “I See The Light,” and the haunting, “Healing Incantation.” But it’s highly unlikely that you’ll walk out of the theater with any of them stuck in your head.
So yes, maybe Tangled does need a dash more pixie dust to truly soar, but in my opinion, it has enough to take off. It’s the closest Disney has come to recapturing their old magic. There are some truly wondrous moments in this film — just wait for the boat ride scene. The characters are also more lovable than the ones in The Princess and the Frog, but I think, most importantly, it does what Disney films do best: it lets your relate to these classic fairy tales and believe in your own happy ending. For this movie specifically, it shows us that sometimes we’ve got to step out of our comfort zones and get over our fear of getting hurt to truly have a life worth living.
Tangled will have sneak previews in selected cinemas in Metro Manila on January 24 and 25. The film opens nationwide on February 2.