Tangled is a great and perhaps slightly underrated film that shows that Disney is more than just Pixar and that their in-house studio can still produce quality work with interesting stories and humor that relates to both kids and adults alike.
Blu-ray + DVD Combo Set
Genre(s): Animation, Comedy, Fantasy
Disney | PG – 100 min. – $39.99 | March 29, 2011
Directed by: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard
Writer(s): Dan Fogelman (screenplay)
Cast: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Ron Perlman
Theatrical Release Date: November 24, 2010
Features: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, DVD Copy
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 7.1), French (DTS-HD HR 5.1), Spanish (DTS-HD HR 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Region(s): A, B, C
THE MOVIE – 4.5/5
Disney animation has had such a rich history from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to more recent successes (within the last 20 years) with The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. Of course, they’ve also had some duds or at least disappointments such as Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Tarzan. But now with their 50th animated film, not including the Pixar releases, they seem to have hit a home run once again with Tangled, a film that is similar to Beauty and the Beast taking a known fairy tale and giving it that Disney magic to make it a potential classic.
The story is based in part on the fairy tale Rapunzel but here the story goes like this: In a great kingdom, the king’s wife is with child but is gravely ill so the king sends out men to find a long sought after magical flower which has healing powers gained centuries earlier from a drop of sunlight. Until this time, the flower remained hidden by Gothel (voiced by DONNA MURPHY) who used it for herself to remain young but the townspeople found it and delivered it to the king who used to save his wife and unborn daughter.
His daughter, who they named Rapunzel, is born healthy with long golden hair which contains the healing powers and when Gothel breaks into the palace to take a lock of the hair, she discovered the power is only good when uncut as once it is cut the power is gone. So Gothel has only one choice and that is to kidnap Rapunzel and for 18 years has kept her locked away in a tower that has remained hidden despite the king and queen nonstop quest to find their child. Now grown up, the 18-year-old Rapunzel (MANDY MOORE), has miles upon miles of hair which Gothel has been using, by Rapunzel singing a lovely melody, to stay young.
Then we meet our hero the dashing and confident Flynn Rider (ZACHARY LEVI), an outlaw in the kingdom stealing riches and giving them to… well, himself. He also gets help from a couple of thugs (RON PERLMAN) but double-crosses them as the Captain of the Guard and his valiant and determined steed are in close pursuit. As Rider flees, he manages to make his way through a secret passage which leads him to the tower, climbs up and gets knocked out by a scared Rapunzel. Long story short, she takes one of the prized possessions, the princesses’ crown, Rider stole and hid it but would only give it back after he took her to town to see the floating lanterns, an event held by the king and townspeople in honor of the lost princess.
So now Gothel is in hot pursuit along with the thugs and king’s guards but soon fall in love, but will she find out her true identity? Given it’s a Disney film, I think we all know where the story is headed, however like most movies with obvious endings, it’s the journey and adventure which makes it either pointless or worthwhile and memorable, for which Tangled is indeed the latter.
I was pleasantly surprised by just how good Tangled was. The trailers never really did anything for me beyond that the film looked good and during its theatrical run, I was amazed by its reported $260 million production budget, a vastly hefty sum especially considering there aren’t any real “stars” in the voice casting (I’d venture to guess what Jack Black makes for the Kung Fu Panda movies covers the entire voice casting budget here), and while I still don’t exactly know where all that dough went, it is a splendid movie to behold and one with a great story. Most importantly, and I think I mention this with every animated feature review, is that it’s appealing to all age ranges with jokes that will get the kids to laugh in one scene and then others that get the adults involved as well.
In terms of the voice casting, both Zachary Levi and Mandy Moore were brilliant choices with Ron Perlman providing some fun thuggery to provide some laughs yet still a challenge to our main characters. While all three are great, there’s nothing overly special about them or even memorable in comparison with other Disney animated films, but at the same time they still did a good job with it.
Where the film really excels is with the musical numbers/songs. A couple of them are, quite frankly, forgettable for every one that is, there are three or four that could be remembered for years to come not unlike the music from Beauty and the Beast.
Between The Princess and the Frog and Tangled, is Disney back to their glory days of animation? Well, I’m not an aficionado in the animation arena but I think they’re on the right path. They still have the Pixar wing to produce some quality kids’ films but it’s good to know that the Disney in-house studio is still alive and prospering.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5
This Tangled Blu-ray/DVD combo comes inside a standard HD slim case with a glossy slip cover.
Deleted Scenes (12:36; HD) – There are 3 scenes that were ultimate excised from the film shown in basic animation since they were completed. These are accompanied with intros by the directors. Running time includes the intros. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Original Storyboard Openings (7:59; HD) – Here you can watch two different openings in the storybook fashion. Again, these include comments by the directors before each.
Extended Songs (7:52; HD) – There are two songs featured, “When Will My Life Begin” and “Mother Knows Best” in their full versions and beforehand, the directors offer an explanation as to why the songs were cut down. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Untangled: The Making of a Fairy Tale (12:28; HD) is an all too short making-of that looks like it was created for the Disney Channel as this featurette is hosted by the stars Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi giving behind-the-scenes glimpse at how the film was made. It’s mostly comprised of the two bantering back and forth. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Finally there are the Tangled Teasers (9:12; HD) which are mock commercials (** Blu-ray Exclusive **), a 50th Animated Feature Countdown (2:03; HD) and a DVD Copy.
VIDEO – 5/5
Tangled is presented in 1.78:1 (MPEG4) on a 50GB Disc. Amazing. Astonishing. Perfect. Yep, this 2D presentation looks nothing short of amazing. Colors are incredibly vivid. It’s almost like this was made with Blu-ray in mind.
AUDIO – 5/5
Disney has included a Lossless 7.1 DTS MA Track for this release. An enthralling track that has dialogue coming through perfectly and the rears are used quite a bit (much more than I thought out of an animated title). How does Disney continue to do this?
OVERALL – 4.5/5
Overall, Tangled is a great and perhaps slightly underrated film that shows that Disney is more than just Pixar and that their in-house studio can still produce quality work with interesting stories and humor that relates to both kids and adults alike. The Blu-ray meanwhile has excellent video and audio transfers while the features left much to be desired. However, this is one set worth owning.
The Movieman / Brad Lowenberg