Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Movie Review - Tangled

Tangled - ***

Directed by: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard

Starring (voices): Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Ron Perlman, Jeffrey Tambor, Brad Garrett

Review: It is with a bittersweet lament that I enjoyed Tangled as much as I did. Perhaps it is my traditionalist nature but I have always been one for the hand drawn animation. Now, I realize that you can do more with CGI, it's cheaper, and faster, but still, there is something about hand drawn animation that really draws me in. This movie signals the death of hand drawn animation if you ask me.

Disney attempted to bring it back last year with "The Princess and the Frog" to moderate success. Disney has been playing second fiddle to their own Pixar for years now and they tried to re-carve out their niche that they once owned. It didn't work as they planned and along comes Tangled. The movie has already done very well at the box office and was generally more well received.

Beyond all of that, Tangled, for the first time since Disney has dabbled in the CGI animation, has the feel of the hand drawn Disney movies of old. They have gone back to their musical format and the old format of the princess/damsel in distress that has served them so well. 'Tangled's' Rapunzel reminds everyone of the princesses of the past, she is quick witted, spunky, and incredibly likable. Her mother, the antagonist, is also a classic Disney villain is was extremely well designed and voiced. It seems Disney has found their magic again for what makes their movies successful. They are not Pixar movies but that's what Pixar is for, Disney doesn't have to make movies as brilliant as Toy Story 3 or Up for their movies to be successful. Disney has struggled with this for a while, and it seem has finally figured it out.

Unfortunately, Disney has seemingly referenced back on itself for it's songs. The problem with having very similar story lines in their movies means the songs can only go so far. The songs all left one thinking I've heard this one before" cause we pretty much have. That doesn't mean the songs weren't good and won't get recognition come awards time, but still, it something Disney will have to grapple with going forward.

Before the film started it proclaimed itself to be the 50th full length animated feature by Disney. While that may be true, it might as well call itself the 1st as it is the start of a new era for Disney, a mesh of the old with the new that brings Disney back to it's glory years. Disney returning to this territory is good news for everyone and this movie is worth your time.

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