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Disney is ‘Tangled’ in all the usual stereotypes

Claire Stephens | Tuesday, November 30, 2010

3 out of 4 Shamrocks

“Tangled,” the new princess story directed by Nathan Greno and Bryon Howard and produced by Roy Conli, is yet another cute, colorful and crisp 3-D feature by Disney, just the kind of movie viewers have come to expect. Starring the vocal talents of Mandy Moore as the endearing Rapunzel, Zachary Levi as the charming Flynn Ryder, and Donna Murphy as the savvy but evil Mother Gothel, “Tangled” is a fairly cookie cutter Disney classic fairy tale for the holidays.

Continuing the tradition of Disney’s more recent films starring strong, coming-of-age princesses, Rapunzel is exactly where we expect, longing for what we expect her to want — a way into the world and out of that tower. The audience finds themselves in the typical fantasy kingdom composed of a happy lower class, ruthless royal guards, surprisingly lovable thieves and thugs and a princess in a pink and purple dress. Complete with a villain played by the foster mother and good-looking hero/love interest come to help set her free from eternal grounding, all the ingredients are present to make a successful Disney animated feature.

With a few pleasant and passionate songs thrown in, “Tangled” pleases musical, adventurous and overall cheerful audiences alike. Though not nearly as scary, dramatic or suspenseful as some of the Disney masterpieces of the 1990’s, it is to be expected for a film whose target audience is younger girls.

Although there is intermittent action, a movie predominantly about a timid girl with fabulous hair who longs to escape and fulfill her dreams is hardly an hour and a half to please most fellows in the crowd. Despite a few exciting chase scenes involving royal guards and Viking-esque thugs, it just barely earns itself a PG rating.

Of course a Disney movie would not be complete without humor. Though both the physical and visual humor to please the children and the somewhat clever dialogue to please those who took the children are present, don’t expect to be laughing your head off throughout the movie.

With the strong, obvious fairy tale theme, this colorful and fun film is a pretty good choice for a predominantly female audience. Though it’s an entertaining retelling of a classic fairy tale, the young female protagonist’s efforts are still strongly colored by a princess theme. Even the heroic male lead next to her matches the female ideal — clever, handsome and a bad boy—in Disney terms, anyway.

Walk, but don’t necessarily run, to see “Tangled” with younger sisters or cousins. It has enough action and humor to keep you interested, enough fun music to get you humming and enough of a plot to keep you from falling asleep, but not enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. You might not guess the whole plot, but you’ll get pretty close. Surely we have all come to the realization that Disney movies are good, but terribly predictable. Not this decade’s next animated masterpiece, but another enjoyable Disney movie. Overall, “Tangled” is another addition to the Disney princess repertoire.