In 1937, Walt Disney Studios released their first Technicolor animated film SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, which catapulted animated films to the forefront and allowed Disney to have a stranglehold on the niche for nearly 60 years. But the rest of Hollywood caught up to the 2D animation Disney was using and then came Pixar, Dreamworks Animation and even Fox with new, innovative ways to animate a film. After TOY STORY, many fans thought that Pixar had killed 2D animation, but the resilient Disney wasn’t attending the funeral and instead, they brought us the PRINCESS AND THE FROG in 2009 and then TANGLED in 2010.
Much like PRINCESS AND THE FROG, TANGLED is a new twist on an old fairy tale. Disney “princess-fies” the old story of Rapunzel and adds little twists here and there to keep things fresh, but the basic premise is the same; the kidnapped Princess with magically long hair is held captive until her dashing prince-charming rescues her from her tower. Except this time, the dashing prince is actually a petty thief named Flynn Rider, voiced by the talented Zachary Levi, whose voice-work was one of the highlights of the film. Our princess doesn’t know she’s a princess adding a sense of innocence to the whole “evil-woman-kidnapping-a-baby girl” schtick.
Animation fans today have their feelings about musical numbers in their films, but the bottom line to any musical number is that the music has to be enjoyable. Unfortunately, the music in TANGLED is probably the worst music to ever appear in a Disney animated film. TANGLED hit another obstacle by overstaying its welcome by about 20 minutes. With a runtime just over 100 minutes, we were left with too many dry spots that slowed the pace down. We had some good action moments with Flynn and Rapunzel narrowly escaping danger, but each scene was sandwiched by extended dialogue sequences that took away from the fun of the film.
The classic Disney films of the late 80’s and early 90’s combined good music, slick animation and a deeper message to create a quality animated film. TANGLED fails to live up to its pedigree, especially when it comes to delivering a deeper message. Both Rapunzel and Flynn went on a journey to discover themselves, which could have been developed into a deeper storyline and given the audience a message of greater importance. But the filmmakers didn’t fully explore it, which caused the film to fall a little flat. I don’t need to learn a life lesson every time I watch a Disney film, but when it’s there, I expect the filmmakers to seize the moment.
Every animated film gets compared back to Pixar, which admittedly isn’t fair, but after watching a film like TANGLED, I manage to gain an even greater appreciation for what Pixar does. The differences in animation quality don’t bother me at all, but what gets me is the lack of consistency in Disney’s 2D offerings. For example, the length of Rapunzel’s hair was a source of aggravation throughout TANGLED; one minute it’s 50 yards long, the next minute it’s about 12 feet. It’s a simple issue, but it’s one you would never see in a Pixar film. It’s the little things that keep TANGLED from being entirely enjoyable for those of us that don’t take our lunches to work in plastic boxes.
Video (1080p HD): No one does Blu-ray transfers better than Disney and TANGLED is no exception. The film is beautiful and this is a fine transfer.
Audio (7.1 DTS): The audio was also top-notch.
Deleted Scenes (12:36): Three short scenes with introduction from the directors, these are storyboard deleted scenes and not the pretty images you see in the film.
Original Storybook Openings (3:57 and 4:02): Two versions of an opening sequence also with an introduction from the directors.
50th Animated Feature Countdown (2:03): This is a montage of clips from all of Disney’s animated films.
Extended Songs: “When Will My Life Begin” and “Mother Knows Best” and more introductions from the directors.
Untangled: The Making of a Fairy Tale (9:12): This featurette is led by Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi and gives a little information on how Untangled fits in with the other Disney films as well as some technical stuff. Interesting enough.
Tangled Teasers (9:12): This is a compilation of ads, news clips and educational videos that use different scenes from the film for support, such as “Smolder” By Flynn or “Grounded for Life”. These are cute and worth a viewing.
Discover Blu-ray 3D with Timon & Pumba (4:25): This is a short clip about Blu-ray 3D that Disney puts on all their releases now.
Learn How to Take Your Favorite Movies on the Go (1:04): Quick lesson and ad for Disney Digital Copy.