Mandy Moore (voice)
Zachary Levi (voice)
Donna Murphy (voice)
Brad Garrett (voice)
Jeffrey Tambor (voice)
Richard Kiel (voice)
Before Disney delivered the mega-hit it was desperately searching for with Frozen, there was an attempt to nail the non-Pixar 3D animation formula once and for all with Tangled, a fresh take on the classic Rapunzel fairy-tale from the Brothers Grimm, released in 2010.
With 2009's The Princess And The Frog, it looked like Disney was ready to be Disney again by finally bringing back its classic style of 2D animation. Unfortunately, that film didn't make the impact at the box-office that Disney was hoping for despite the solid reviews and it, in fact, being a hit. And so, continuing on that same Grimm path but instead opting for polished 3D animation, Tangled followed. Here was Disney's best-looking 3D animated film by far (not counting Pixar's output, of course) yet it still felt somewhat like a throwback to the studio's 90's output with the princess theme and its Broadway-style musical numbers. The story of Rapunzel, like the Frog Prince, was a safe enough choice for Disney but both stories were admittedly handled with a lot of care, and with 80's kids in mind.
Tangled, it should be said, is a pretty derivative Disney film: the humour is reminiscent of the Shrek movies, the Flynn (Zachary Levi) character has that Aladdin look while Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) looks a bit like Ariel and the villain also feels pretty generic. And yet, the film manages to be so clever and so much fun that it still comes off as fresh and new. This is mostly thanks to the amusing, show-stealing combination of a wacky horse and a gecko as well as a more modern approach to the jokes and musical numbers. The songs themselves are catchy enough in the moment but the lack of genuinely memorable tunes hurts what is otherwise a very slick, charming and hugely entertaining Disney movie. One can't help but feel that this film was one "Let It Go" away from being the relentless blockbuster that Frozen would later become.
Tangled was another move in the right direction for Disney. A little more originality, catchier songs and a better ending would have elevated this one quite a bit but, as it stands, it's a really enjoyable movie with laughs, likeable characters, gorgeous visuals and a good amount of heart.