Subject: doctorlit reviews Tangled (warning for spoilers)
Posted on: 2020-01-27 02:05:55 UTC

I need to catch up on some Disney films, especially the ones the Kingdom Hearts series already spoiled for me. I decided to start with Tangled, since it’s a standalone, and I’m ostensibly going to finish watching The Mandalorian with my brother next week.

Spoilers follow for Tangled and Kingdom Hearts 3.

It’s interesting that the movie actually gives away the twist (or what I thought of as a twist) right in the prologue, so that’s it’s actually not a twist at all. We start out knowing Rapunzel is the kidnapped princess right out the get-go, which made for quite a different feeling from when I played through the Kingdom of Corona level in KH3, where I only figured the connection out just before the scene that revealed it. It kind of feels like they were wanting to keep the plot simpler to emulate the feeling of the older Disney adaptations of fairy tales, rather than newer Disney films that seem to always have a twist lately. And it’s fine. I still liked the movie quite a bit, though I don’t think I rate it among the crazy-good Disney films like Lilo & Stitch or Frozen.

I’m amused that the token “I want” song of the film’s opening is basically a song about keeping busy to avoid boredom. I can relate. (Could Mother Gothel really not get more than three books for Rapunzel? I know she’s the bad guy, but come on, lady!) I don’t think Rapunzel can quite replace my girl Cinderella as the workaholic’s token spirit Disney princess, but it was still kind of fun imagining myself locked in a tower and coming up with projects to keep busy . . . What do you mean that wasn’t the takeaway of the scene?

Mother Gothel’s character is something else my KH3 play-through skewed expectations for. In the game, she gets manipulated by a villain from another world, and generally doesn’t have a lot of early scenes alongside Rapunzel, so I found myself sympathizing with her more there, up until she kind of snapped at the end. In the film, though, I was very quickly shocked out of that mindset by their very first interaction, where Gothel’s blatant insults straight to Rapunzel’s face are just . . . just horrible, and felt enough like realistic verbal abuse among family members that it even made me a little uncomfortable just to be listening to it. The writers also gave Gothel some lines that have very different meanings than they would in a more normal context. The ones that stood out to me were “Rapunzel, I’m not getting any younger down here,” which Gothel means literally, and the fact that Gothel calls Rapunzel, “Flower” as a pet name—except it’s not a pet name, but a sign that Gothel only sees the princess as a replacement of the object she needs for her eternal life. Gothel is quite a nasty addition to the Disney villains pantheon, and her vanity and selfishness come through with just about every word. I was glad to see her meet her end, after so many centuries of bonus life.

Flynn’s vague, G-rated womanizing and general attitude turned me off almost immediately, because those sorts of characters tend to get on my nerves pretty quickly. Fortunately, he turned out to be more tolerable than I was expecting, and I like that the development of his relationship with Rapunzel made a lot of those negative character traits vanish by the end. A volunteer I work with in Small Mammals building had told me that the horse was the best character in the film, and he really does carry a presence to him every time he appears onscreen. Despite being fairly natural-looking and non-anthropomorphized, at least by Disney standards, Maximus’s facial features and body movements are so incredibly expressive, even without saying a single word. In a movie that’s so human-focused, it’s delightfully hilarious to see this horse behaving so dutifully and seriously, to the point where it sometimes feels like he’s defying the laws of physics in hunting down Flynn. Pascal is well portrayed, too, and with the same lack of speech, which is impressive. But Maximus is definitely my favorite of the movie.

I found the music to be largely forgettable, which is unusual for Disney. That opening boredom song has a decent beat, but it just doesn’t grab me for some reason. Actually, I think the song with the most energy is the reprise of “Mother Knows Best.” The voice actor put a crazy amount of emotion and power into her voice for that, and it’s sticking with me longer than the rest of the film’s music, even the original version of the song that the reprise is reprising.

—doctorlit isn’t going to watch any of the modern Winnie the Pooh films, for the record

“No, it wasn’t us! It was the old spoiler!” “No, it wasn’t us! It was the old spoiler!” “No, it wasn’t us! It was the old spoiler!”

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