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Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tangled - B

Rated PG for brief mild violence, 92 minutes

"Tangled" is a smooth, witty, fun animated musical

Disney does it again. It's created a lively, colorful and charming new animated musical in "Tangled," a fun re-telling of the Rapunzel fairy tale. It comes as a surprise but a pleasant one, given that most of Disney's best work these days is done by Pixar. The fluid animation helps to advance the genre some even if the story seems a tad unoriginal, but this heartwarming tale will leave you with both a smile and a tear in your eye.

A baby princess named Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) is born to the King and Queen and her hair has magical powers. However, an evil witch named Gothel (Donna Murphy) steals Rapunzel from the palace in revenge for the royal family taking a magical plant responsible for saving the baby princess and her mother. Gothel keeps Rapunzel for herself for years locked away in a high tower as Rapunzel's hair keeps Gothel young. However, one day a thief named Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) with the stolen royal crown in tow and a bevy of bad guys after him comes to her house, changing everything for Rapunzel, who's destiny hangs in the balance with Flynn's crown, which rightfully belongs to Rapunzel.

"Rapunzel" is a playful, often hilarious and entertaining fairy tale that casts its own spin on the Rapunzel story. The basic themes are in place, but those familiar with the tale will notice the significant changes, noticeably adding a love interest for Rapunzel with Flynn, and the addition of the fun songs. Most of it works well, though the story seems a little "Beauty and the Beast"-ish, which isn't surprising given the music, most of it emotional ballads, comes from Alan Menken, the guy who helped restore Disney back in the late '80s and early '90s with "The Little Mermaid," "Aladdin," and of course, "Beauty and the Beast."

The cast does well, particularly Tony award-winning character actress Donna Murphy, who nearly walks off with the movie as the evil mother. She's a hoot and she has a glorious, rich voice that lift the story and music to a better place. Levi and Moore are decent but bland, and upstaged at every turn not just by Murphy but by Rapunzel's pet frog Pascal and royal horse named Maximus who acts like a dog and has a love-hate relationship with Flynn.

"Tangled" best, most touching moments come near the end with a host of different "lantern lights" fill the screen quite beautifully. "Tangled" should be a hit, but Disney may have trouble marketing it to anyone other than pre-teen girls, but really everyone will have a good time. "Tangled" is Disney's best non-Pixar film in years and is miles ahead of last year's disappointing "The Princess and the Frog." Definitely worth checking out.