Some of Disney's biggest hits have been their takes on classic fairy tales, and this continues with their latest movie: Tangled. This cgi film is part action, part romance (very large part romance), part musical, part comedy -- and very entertaining.
The story starts with the evil Gothel (Donna Murphy) kidnapping the baby Rapunzel, princess of the kingdom, to use her magic hair to stay young. (The hair lights up, can heal wounds, and can reverse aging -- when sang to. Go with it.) Jump ahead several years and Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) is about to turn 18, has lived her whole life trapped in a high tower, thinks Gothel is her mother, dreams of leaving the tower to see the floating lights that appear each year on her birthday, and has very, very, very long hair. In Disney tradition, there's a cute animal sidekick: Pascal, a chameleon. Gothel keeps the young heroine staying put with scary tales of the outside world, and passive-aggressive insults to her "daughter."
Enter the lovable rogue Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi), who just stole the royal crown and is fleeing from the royal guard (and animal antagonist Maximus, who acts more like a bloodhound than a horse) and the Stabbington Brothers (Ron Perlman). Flynn winds up captured by Rapunzel (their "meet cute" involves her repeatedly bashing him with a frying pan) and agrees to take her to see the floating lights in exchange for her giving him the crown afterwards. What follows is a series of adventures, from painting and dancing to a tavern filled with soft-hearted ruffians.
Tangled is, simply put, a lot of fun. Mandy Moore may not be a teenager anymore, but she certainly captures the exuberance, wonder, and conflict of being a teen (especially when alternating between glee and guilt about defying her "mother" and leaving the tower). Flynn Rider is very close to Aladdin from, well, Aladdin, but Levi does a fine job as the thief who's in love with himself, but grows (of course) through the film. And Gothel is an unusual Disney villain, relying on guilt more than magic; Donna Murphy voices her beautifully, reminding me a lot of Marina Sirtis (best known as Counselor Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation). The songs are mixed (Moore sings beautifully, though other songs are forgettable), and action is well done, there's plenty of comedy, and the romance is predictable but sweet. Tangled captures the enchantment of the fairy tale, making it a very entertaining movie.

Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch
(the only male in the theater when I saw Tangled)

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