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Monday, January 24, 2011  

M. Ovie Reviews: Tangled

M. Edium had been wanting to see this for a while, so I had the idea that maybe he could review this one. But then in the parking lot he said it was his second-favorite movie after Megamind, so I reconsidered.

We ended up going on my birthday. Interestingly, much of the action takes place on the lead character's birthday, as well. Surprisingly, that's not all it takes to make a good birthday movie. Albert Brooks also starts movies on his characters' birthdays, but I would not advise seeing Lost in America or Defending Your Life as part of your birthday celebrations. This was much more fitting.

I have to say that when I saw the trailers for this movie, it looked really dumb. Somehow I got the impression that it was all about this smarmy dude getting beat up by sentient hair. Of course, I'm certainly not the first to complain about how mis-marketed this film was, so I'm going to stop now.

Because the thing is that it was actually really good. Somehow I missed the fact that it was Disney's 50th Animated Feature, which is not the kind of thing people should be missing (this is not the kind of movie people should be missing, but I'm repeating myself). Instead, the ads make it look like a typical DreamWorks Animation knockoff when it totally isn't. As a computer-animated Disney film, it's an odd mix of old and new. It looks like Pixar, though not as gratuitously detailed, and yet everyone's dressed like it's Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella. There's anachronistically snarky dialogue, but there are also actual songs, actually sung by the same actors who do the speaking, like in an old Disney musical (and composed by Alan Menken, no less). And it's that hoary Disney mainstay, a fairy tale about a princess, but it's got enough edges and twists to keep it from being a dull bedtime story.

I'm not complaining about the dialogue, because there are a fair number of standout characters who don't say anything at all -- and a couple of them are even human. The king and queen are both persistently silent and yet heartbreakingly expressive, the chameleon gets his points across without ever saying a word, and the horse will crack you up with a look. It's like non-verbal communication is the new 3-D or something.

That said, Tangled is an awful title. Rapunzel's hundred feet of magical hair is many things at any given time, but the one thing it never is, no matter what happens to it, is tangled. That amount of hair should be getting snarls in it from any activity beyond semi-complicated thoughts, but it behaves itself ridiculously well. Between its getting dragged through the wilderness, being carried like a bundle of firewood, and a couple of full immersions, not to even mention its customary use as an elevator, she should have arrived at the end of the movie looking like Sideshow Bob instead of [SPOILER].

And as an adoptive parent, I really should be used to the ubiquity of parent issues in children's pop culture. Dead, absent, and just plain horrible parents are everywhere from Narnia to Hogwarts, and you have to navigate them carefully. Just as one example, a couple of years ago, M. Edium asked who Princess Leia's father was and I heard myself saying, "Bail Organa." So I had mixed feelings when Rapunzel rebels against her adoptive mother, and it's okay because she's not her "real" mother. In the car afterward, I had to make sure we talked about the ways his adoption was different than Rapunzel's; for instance, we didn't steal him and stuff him in an isolated tower for selfish reasons of our own. His tower has all kinds of local amenities.

Other than that, though, I loved it, and so did . Rogue with heart meets princess with balls. Those aren't my words, but M. Edium's. More or less.

posted by M. Giant 8:26 AM 1 comments


Long-time lurker, first-time commenter.
I saw this movie with my 17-y-o daughter. As a Disney-phile, I loved it, but the best part is I can totally creep her out now just by stroking her hair and saying "I love you most."

By Anonymous sheri, at January 25, 2011 at 11:51 AM  

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