Yeah, I’m about six years and some change late for this one. All I can say is… I had never seen it before. It wasn’t like I actively avoided it, honest! It just never found its way to me, ok? And I didn’t make it a priority. But, as with Finding Dory, I can credit being an uncle for letting me finally see this one this past holiday season. 🙂
Oh, and… six years, I think, is plenty of time for spoilers to become well-known. 😉
I have to say, Rapunzel was an interesting choice of story to tell. Obviously, Disney had to take great liberties with the original story in order to adapt this for modern audiences. That’s sort of to be expected, and they didn’t keep much of the original tale outside her name, her hair, and the tower. Stripping away everything else left them a lot of room to craft a pretty decent, endearing story.
There was a little action, but not that much, just enough to excite things. There was humor galore (I loved the horse, Maximus!). And the love story was appreciably well done. In the end, however, Tangled is a story about self-realization, self-discovery. Rapunzel may fall in love with Flynn, but she isn’t defined by her relationship to him. It merely helps her discover who she really is, her true identity.
It’s fairly poetic how Rapunzel is liberated when she learns who she is. She spent most of her life locked in the tower, and even when she escapes, she’s still, in her heart, a prisoner of Mother Gothel. Eventually, she returns, once again falling for Gothel’s heinous deceptions. Then she learns the truth, and that is when her soul is freed. Freeing her body takes some help, though, thus the importance of Euguene “Flynn Rider” Fitzerherbert.
Gothel always told Rapunzel that men outside the tower were a selfish, dangerous, evil lot, and Flynn, a double-crossing thief and scoundrel, is hardly the ideal figure to prove her wrong. Still, he honors a deal he makes with Rapunzel, and gradually comes to find a friend in her, the only friend he’s every really had. He confides in her, and begins falling for her. Most of all, in the end, he refuses to let her sacrifice herself for him, choosing to sacrifice himself instead, the ultimate act of selflessness. So, flawed as he is, he is still the walking embodiment of Gothel’s lie, and I note that the witch wastes away right after his most heroic act. Sort of like a lie withering in the light of truth, eh?
As I think about Tangled, I realize something. Disney has changed up its game the past little while. Tangled, Frozen, Moana, all stories about women finding themselves, becoming strong and independent. They may have romantic interests, and take joy in such, but they are not defined by that relationship. The Jungle Book is about a boy doing similarly, growing to become the equal of his friends.
In the case of the animated movies, there is something of a lack of villains, also. Moana is about coming to understand your supposed enemy, because you understand yourself. Frozen has the duplicitous Prince Hans, but he is not so threatening as all that for most of the movie. As for Tangled, Mother Gothel is certainly a villain, but she’s also the woman who raised Rapunzel, and the threats she can level against the princess are quite limited. In all three cases, what the female hero is dealing with is something much more nebulous than a person, and therefore more difficult to really overcome. I do love the nasty charisma of classic Disney villains, but I can see the appeal of this approach as well. 🙂
So, as late as this review is, I just want to say I like this movie. I am a grown man who likes Tangled. Heh.
Rating: 8 stars out of 10.