Disney recently announced that they’re getting out of the business of making princess movies. After seeing Tangled, I’m hoping they’ll reconsider their decision.
Fans of princess movies will get their fix here. Tangled features more than a few traditional trademark fairy tale touches (it is, after all, loosely based on the Brothers Grimm tale of Rapunzel).
There’s the beautiful, young maiden who is mistreated by a nasty, vain mother-figure (a la “Snow White” and “Cinderella”).
Like Cinderella and other princesses, Tangled‘s golden-haired Rapunzel has a special way with animals. In fact, her only friend in the world is a animal creature (in this case, a cute chameleon). And there’s lots of dreaming of freedom (think of Jasmine in “Aladdin” and Mulan). Plus, of course, some old-fashioned courtship and romance courtesy of Flynn Rider, a rafish boy who might just be her prince charming (like “Aladdin”).
But the movie will also resonate with parents who can relate to its larger theme of an overbearing mother who doesn’t want to lose control of her child.
As Famecrawler blogger Sunny Chanel writes, “Tangled ain’t just a tale of a young Princess finding her way. It ain’t just about Rapunzel finding her Prince. It’s also about a topic that is heavy, heated and sometimes heartbreaking…the struggles of the mother daughter relationship.”
The story resonated with my 5-year-old princess-obsessed daughter, Ruby, who said “I liked that Rapunzel was adventurous and pretty and always wanted to see the floating lanterns. I loved it!”
Meanwhile, Ruby’s big sister, 8-year-old Jesse who won’t admit to liking princesses, said “it was very exciting. It’s not like a fancy princess movie. It’s not just for girls. Anybody can watch it and like it.” She cautions parents with young kids that “it’s a little scary.”
As an aside, my friend who joined us at the movie with her two girls also liked the movie but was irked by the fact that Rapunzel’s magic hair was blonde and only turned brown once it “died.” There’s no reason to make brunettes in the audience feel anything less than magical.
Overall, though, I’d say that Rapunzel is a wonderful role model for young girls: she’s faithful and devoted, but also adventurous and open-minded. Her bravery and big heart lead her to follow her dream, despite the many obstacles that get in her way. She also knows how to sing a catchy tune!
The dialogue was snappy and clever without being too snarky and laden with pop-culture references (a la Shrek).
Critics are generally embracing the latest princess film. Time Magazine film critic Richard Corliss writes, “The film gradually achieves the complex mix of romance, comedy, adventure and heart that defines the best Disney features.”
My only real criticism of the film was that the 3D effects were superfluous. Apart of the visually stunning lantern scene (you’ll know it when you see it), the 3D technique was underutilized and unnecessary. If anything, I found it a bit distracting from the engrossing tale.
If you’re wondering what else to see this holiday season, check out Babble’s guide to holiday movies.
Have you seen Tangled? What did you think?