Cartoon Karma – Tangled | Everything Wrong and Right With


[♪ Singing ♪]
[“Character Dialogue“] I really do love that they
point out this film makes for fifty. Tangled is so steeped in Disney lore
that even if you prefer a recent film, none of them are as suitable
for this milestone as this one. FLYNN [voiceover]: “This is the story of how I died. “But don’t worry, this is actually a very fun story – ” The opening narration is a big positive right off the bat. It establishes the tone perfectly. You can tell the
filmmakers aren’t embarrassed to be making unironic, genuinely fun Disney fairy tale,
and that helps so much. The prologue is easily one of the best parts. It’s such an involving setup,
and arguably betters the original tale. If anyone ever says old-fashioned fairy tales are dead,
just point to this to prove them wrong. D’aww. Disney has always done adorable babies well, but just
look at her, and tell me your heart doesn’t melt. That Gothel claims to be Rapunzel’s birth mother,
since she gains delight from being manipulative, makes her that much more psychologically scary. The concept of the floating lanterns
is another great one. It just feels so right that I completely forgot
it wasn’t in the original fairy tale. This pot has a pattern of a flower here.
Guess what it’s missing later? About the title change. The argument of young males
not wanting to see a film with a girly title has some truth, but I don’t have to like the tradition
of renaming a fairy tale’s title to a disyllabic adjective this film kick-started one bit. RAPUNZEL [voiceover]: ♪ Polish and wax ♪
♪ do laundry and mop and shine up ♪ ♪ Sweep again, and by then ♪
♪ It’s, like, seven-fifteen ♪ The songs are largely catchy rather then exceptional,
but this one is great for kick-starting the film with lively energy,
and establishing the film’s complete lack of cynicism. Also, the humor. Tangled relies not on wink-wink gags
or the lowbrow tedium common in children’s cinema. It’s funny simply for being funny,
without being silly, clever or sarcastic. A genuinely guileless comedy. Glorious. Eight guards, and yet not one of them
is actually – WATCHING – the crown. [Sneezes] FLYNN: “Ugh. Hayfever?”
GUARD: “Yeah.” This is what I mean. The film has a breeze of
contemporary humor, but not in a snarky way. It’s just funny, no caveats attached. [Choral and Orchestral Awe] The score really works, combining
Medieval motifs with expected techniques. Alan Menken rarely gets credit for his scores the way
he does for his songs, so I’m acknowledging him now. So does Rapunzel’s hair need brushing
to turn Gothel young? The magic is mostly consistent,
but isn’t always on the mark. RAPUNZEL: “Actually, what I’ve wanted for,
quite a few birthdays…” Wait. Didn’t Rapunzel say she was – RAPUNZEL: “- finally going to do it!” Doesn’t quite match up, folks, does it? GOTHEL: ♪ Mother… ♪
♪ Knows… Best! ♪ Here we have the film’s best number. It accentuates Gothel’s hammy performance as she
dances with lyricism, in true Broadway fashion. How did Rapunzel’s hair switch
to hanging out the window? I love how their reactions are the same
as their illustrations on the poster. Disney Animation has made many great horses,
and here’s another. The comedy that results
from his job dedication is priceless. The character animation is stronger
then usual in CG features. It’s one of many facets of Disney’s
cel animation that transitions effectively. smell him out through there. He followed Flynn’s scent a further distance earlier. So in all of eighteen years…
no one has stumbled upon the tower? No one? It isn’t even that far from the kingdom. The saucepan’s end is facing away from the mirror.
Guess which way it’s facing next shot? RAPUNZEL: “I’ve got a person… in my closet!” She seems pretty ecstatic about it,
but the delivery suggests it’s for other reasons I’d rather not think about.
The delivery just misses the mark. Ha! Love it. GOTHEL: “You are not leaving this tower – ever!” This would be a good time
to realize you’re being manipulated. GOTHEL: “Almost three days time.” How old must she have looked
after being away for three days? Definitely old enough that Rapunzel would have noticed. FLYNN: “But may I just say…
Hi.” The banter between the two does sometimes
make them just that bit blander. FLYNN: “It’s in that pot, isn’t it?”
[Saucepan Banging] Really, the humor works wonders. Even if that were the only thing it had going for it,
the film would still be memorable. Flynn goes from lying on his side to lying on his back. RAPUNZEL: “And when I promise something,
I never, ever, break that promise.” That’s clearly meant to be her telling the truth, so where
does this fit in with breaking her promise to Gothel? It’d be fine if it weren’t for her verbal tone. All the development in making Rapunzel’s hair move not
realistically but to explore character and emotion, like the best Disney cel animation, was so worth it. The characters and journey are simple,
but the film sells it so well. RAPUNZEL: ♪ The first time ever ♪
♪ I’m completely free ♪ Honestly, the reprise of her yearning song
is weaker then the main version. It’s mostly a standard example of the genre. RAPUNZEL: ♪ Begin ♪
[Birds flapping] The first time I saw this, I waited for the inevitable
punchline. It didn’t come, and I was so relieved. The filmmakers are showing that the Disney tradition
is nothing to be ashamed of for even a second. You’ve got to love them for that. RAPUNZEL: “This is so fun! “I am a horrible daughter. I’m going back. “I am never going back! Who-hoo! “I am a despicable human being. Her swings between elation and guilt is easily one of the
film’s funniest things. Enough for me to single them out. RAPUNZEL: “Crush her soul?”
GOTHEL: “Like a grape.” That’s a tomato.
The joke’s weak if it’s not also a grape. That Thumper look-alike is so cute.
Why are we not getting a close-up? It’d make the joke funnier alongside being adorable. How did Rapunzel not know about this secret entrance? Gothel would have had to use it
when she was young and her hair wasn’t long. All the curtains are closed here.
Yet they were open when Rapunzel left. On the one hand,
this sequence demonstrates the artists’ skill at lighting Gothel in varying shades
as the scene requires. But given her control of Rapunzel is based solely on lies,
her credibility as a threat starts diminishing now, despite being psychologically scary. This is a great example of how they sought
to give the backgrounds not just the texture of oil paintings, but the depth too.
Just looks at the way the pub is portrayed. You wouldn’t think you could do that with CG,
but there it is. FLYNN: “Is that blood in your moustache?” We can see later his moustache is blood-free. This film
shows blood, so it’s not like it couldn’t have here. That poster’s text is different from the one earlier.
How come the others don’t state what the reward is? HOOK-HAND THUG: ♪ But despite my evil look ♪
♪ And my temper, and my hook ♪ I’m rather mixed on this number. On the one hand,
it’s the one song that’s completely unexpected, given all the others fit neatly into
established categories. Being surprised is good. But it also just doesn’t work. It feels like it should
be the film’s best song, all wacky and delightful. But it just isn’t, and I can’t pinpoint why. Well, that must be a magic piano. How else to explain it
playing perfectly after having its keys knocked out? Must be a friend of Aladdin’s Magic Carpet. Gee, isn’t it a coincidence that Gothel
happens upon them straight away? But I still like the sequence for all the fey sight gags
involving the burly men. Hey, I said I was torn on it. Obviously the filmmakers play around
with how much hair she has. But there’s no way it’s little enough
to hold all of it in her hands. The action-adventure parts aren’t quite
up to the standards of the comedy. But given we’ve established
the comedy works really well, not hitting that threshold still leaves
plenty of room to be more then fine. If the hair was shorter before, it’s really short now. Wanna guess what the body count is from this flood? Hint: it rhymes with zero. Oh, wait, that’s the answer.
Wish real life was that lucky. The filmmakers make sure we see they reclaimed
the saucepan. Yet it’s never pivotal again. There’s a plant without a payoff. RAPUNZEL: “I have magic hair that glows when I sing.” Bit late to the party, Rapunzel.
Kind of the point, of course, but still. Rapunzel needed to finish the song previously
for the hair to glow. Not so here. Also, her hair didn’t have a delay before starting to
glow. Dramatic effect is as dramatic effect does, folks. This is so gorgeous and painterly and breathtaking. It may combine nearly all of the things
difficult to do in CG, but it’s so worth it. FLYNN: “Why is he smiling at me?” I can think of a few reasons. Nah, but in all seriousness, Pascal is as appealing
as any toy-ready animal sidekick has ever been. Even if her credibility has dropped,
she’s still so manipulative. The filmmakers clearly love
classic Disney villains as much as us. How come that one hair strand is short
but the rest are not? Are we to believe Gothel’s
been cutting just that one all these years? The tradeoff to being so jolly and fun is that the film’s
lacking in thematic depth or psychological insight. Thus, the passages that are meant to be
sincere and meaningful aren’t especially. RAPUNZEL: “I like Eugene Fitzherbert
much better then Flynn Rider.” FLYNN: “Then you’d be the first.” Kind of a redundant statement to make. He said, “someone might as well know” earlier,
implying no one else knows both his identities. Pascal hiding here is pointless.
There’s no way Gothel didn’t see him. Her hair’s getting really grey there. Now would be a
good time to notice, Rapunzel, and connect the dots. GOTHEL: ♪ Mother… ♪
♪ Knows… Best! ♪ What a number, the reprise.
It combines bombastic Broadway-ness with dramatic lighting that casts her
in glaring foul shades. Another thing the artists did to hark back to Disney
cel animation was giving the characters a “glow”. They internally illuminated them to fit with the
painterly nuance of the film’s look and heritage. The dripping water makes for a funny gag.
But there’s no way it wouldn’t have dried away by now. I dig how Pascal turns red
at a moment of shock on instinct. This is what I do when the teacher’s back
is turned after they’ve paired me on a project with someone I can’t stand.
Or, it would be, if there was someone I couldn’t stand. The way the film’s visuals keep in Disney traditions
while making them contemporary is magnificent when you consider it mixes realism and crazy
otherworldly sights on the level of Sleeping Beauty. So after fields, a pub, a tunnel,
a dam, a cave and a forest, it takes a village square to tangle her hair up.
I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works. Another thing it pulls from the Disney past
is playing around with the styles of the minor humans. I can’t be the only one getting
Studio Ghibli vibes from these girls. [Folk Acoustics] It’s great how this whole sequence uses
folk music to drive its energy, rather then defaulting to a musical number.
Or worse, a pop song. None of that got on her dress.
And no, it didn’t just “blend in”. RAPUNZEL: “What if it’s not everything I dreamed it would be?” FLYNN: “It will be.”
RAPUNZEL: “And what if it is?” FLYNN: “Well that’s the good part I guess.
You get to go find a new dream.” Just because it lacks thematic depth doesn’t mean it
can’t be insightful. Here’s an ethos we should all carry. The parents never speak. But they don’t need to. Just
look at the emotion in their faces and small gestures. Animation itself can be so moving. For all that I’ve been praising the film’s incorporation
of aesthetic Disney traditions, it justifies being CG. The lighting of the paper lanterns is something
that couldn’t really be done in cel animation this well. RAPUNZEL [voiceover]: ♪ All those days ♪
♪ Watching from the windows ♪ ♪ All those years ♪
♪ Outside looking in ♪ The love ballad is another I’m torn on.
It’s appropriately soaring and moving. But it’s by far the film’s most anonymous song. If there’s enough wind to move the lanterns,
it would stir all these ships in full sail. Furthermore, it’s impractical to remain
in full sail when anchored. Um, Flynn definitely didn’t have them anywhere
on the boat when they left the harbor. Same goes for the satchel. This isn’t a Looney Tunes
short, the rules of Hammerspace don’t apply. I hope I don’t need to explain why this is so beautiful.
It speaks for itself. Just be glad Tangled’s given us one of the most singularly
beautiful passages in animation, CG or otherwise. The film’s tone has held up superbly, but the
third act makes a dive towards pronounced horror that it hasn’t built up to at all. If Gothel told them what Rapunzel’s hair could do,
what had she said she wanted? They’d be suspicious otherwise.
We’re missing information here. This scene plays out like they didn’t meet
back in the forest. No, I really mean that. On my first viewing, this made me think the forest scene
was a deleted scene that got left in for a moment. Also, her hair isn’t as grey as it should be,
given its deterioration before. The glaring green and foul white here.
It’s so striking, folks. That guard looks kind of regretful about hanging Flynn. Disney has benefitted from the Pixar merger by taking on
that studio’s attention to detail for repeat viewings. Not that Disney didn’t do that already,
but Pixar excels at it. Removing the flowers wouldn’t be enough to straighten
her hair. It was braided, after all. GOTHEL: “If it finds even the slightest ray of sunshine…
It destroys it.” By the third act, Gothel might as well
be any cringing, craven bad guy. It’s always disappointing when a villain
gets less interesting as we reach the end. So Rapunzel has been sublimely painting
the sun pattern all these years, and seeing it after the festival unlocks her memories?
That’s… actually pretty neat. Their relationship echoes the one
between Quasimodo and Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame too much by now. It’s a common trope in old tales, of course,
but the execution is too similar for my liking here. Rapunzel hadn’t moved any further then the stairs,
yet her hair isn’t draping down it like it was previously. The climax was getting too serious and bland,
so I’m so glad they brought back all these guys. They were very entertaining. At no points do the others break Flynn’s shackles.
They just vanish. No way the kingdom has that many guards.
No blooming way. That still would have hurt in a way
you can’t imagine if you’re not male. Also, while it was nice of Maximus
to bring them to save Flynn, he could have easily caught up to Gothel and Rapunzel
before they reached the tower instead. FLYNN: “I feel maybe this whole time we’ve just been
misunderstanding one another, and we’re really just… “Yeah, you’re right, we should go.” Just what the doctor ordered. I really dig that joke.
Playful without overly winking at the audience. How did she bind Rapunzel? No seriously, how?
Gothel didn’t seem to be especially stronger earlier. Assuming that the knife was bloodless to remain family-
friendly, how come they can show a bloody wound? Is there a distinction between the two? I’m not seeing it. I get that Flynn was saving Rapunzel nobly,
thus completing his arc. But he could have done that as soon as she healed him.
Just saying. And it all comes to a head. Gothel’s final scene is as
pasted and routine as any Disney villain’s has ever been. Despite her hands withering earlier,
they look younger as she falls. Unless Flynn is faking his near-death experience, he shouldn’t have been able to flip
his palm back onto his body. Lo and behold, now it’s back on the floor! It was his
other hand he was stroking Rapunzel’s face with. Again, the parents have such touching moments
due to their facial animation. Rather then hug straight away, there are a few moments
of shock and disbelief, and that goes a long way. FLYNN [v-o]: “Dreams came true all over the place. “That guy went on to become the most
famous concert pianist in the world. “And this guy? Well he eventually found true love.” I really dig that we get happy endings for these guys. Helps make them as memorable as they
can be for their limited screen time. They’re like the Seven Dwarfs for a new generation. This guy is rather divisive.
A decent amount of people find him off-putting. Me, I quite like him. Suits the goofy tone of the thugs. I love that we get a map
of the kingdom and surrounding areas. It reminds me of similar features in the works of
J. R. R. Tolkein. Glorious stuff. FEMALE SINGER: ♪ She’s a girl with best intentions ♪ Unlike the Disney Renaissance films,
the credits song isn’t a cover of a song in the film. Just your typical unrelated song,
and all the blander for it. The film’s not perfect, let’s be clear.
The script isn’t consistent, the villain gets muted as it progresses,
the songs are good rather then earworms, and there’s little thematic depth.
Just enough to hold it back. But many Disney films are guilty of these traits.
And Tangled succeeds in many others areas, making for a gleeful entertainment
that is legitimately great. Not a masterpiece,
but easily a film Disney should be proud of. And that doesn’t matter
when it’s this artistically groundbreaking. All the work to capturing the essence of the
classic Disney films paid off, leaving the film overtly familiar, yet also
looking like no other film in history. Even now, it’s still Disney’s best CG achievement,
a proud successor to the groundbreaking Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs if ever I saw one. Minus twenty. With this film, at least,
Disney Animation is alive and well.

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