Tangled: A Sweet Peek Into Fairytales of Yore

Tangled: A Sweet Peek Into Fairytales of Yore

We took our five-year-old to see Tangled over the holiday weekend, and we were pleasantly surprised at how lovely it was. The film was largely able to take a classic fairy tale and provide it with a little bit of modern sex roles. While it still featured the kidnapped princess waiting on her prince—or, in this case, thief—it provided a better explanation as to why she didn’t escape on her own for so many years—and then the rest of the film was mostly based on her repeatedly saving him instead. Rapunzel is artistic, brave, and a loyal daughter who ultimately beats villains with three tools: her wits, her hair, and her frying pan (which becomes a favorite weapon of everyone in the village by the end of the film).

Overall, it was a very cool movie—with classical fairytale elements like magic, castles, horses, and the like. In fact, the story is based on Rapunzel’s magical hair—something she inherited when a magical plant was given to her mother while she was ill and pregnant with the young girl. (This took a little explaining on our part, which was fine; I like movies that make my kiddo think and ask questions.) The music was good—not amazing or goosebump-inducing, like The Lion King or The Princess and the Frog, but still fun to listen to—and the animation was good, too. I really liked how they changed their original concept in particular, rounding out Rapunzel’s features to make her sturdier than the average Disney princess. She wasn’t fat or even chunky by any means, but she had the rounded edges that you’d expect from a female—the ones that girls should be seeing instead of stick figures, anyway. Some scenes were pretty dazzling—including a gorgeous number where Rapunzel gets her hair braided and dances in the castle square.

The hero, Flynn Rider (who actually goes by a different name) is a bit of a cliché, full of himself with a slightly tragic background (not as tragic as hers, of course), and changes because of her—a method we actually just followed in The Princess and the Frog. Still, he was fun and funny, and the kids in the audience (which was packed, I might add) seemed to enjoy both characters.

A couple of the things I did not enjoy in the film were its lack of diversity, its fat joke, and the take on the movie’s villain. We’ve had plenty of female villains who were mothers or step-mothers, and while this movie depicted an old woman pretending to be Rapunzel’s mother, it still portrayed a mother/daughter relationship in such a negative light. The “mother” made a fat joke (among others) about Rapunzel in her constant passive-aggressive commentary and it all seemed like it could really confuse kids. I didn’t notice any non-white characters, either, which you’ve come to expect from Disney but nonetheless remains annoying. How difficult would it have been to have made a few characters from different ethnicities?

Overall, I give the film a solid B, and chalked it off as one that we did enjoy as a family. Seeing as it’s Disney’s last fairy tale film, I suppose we should enjoy it while we can rather than mourn the loss of the now-dead Jack and the Beanstalk, The Snow Queen, and other tales that Disney had in the making.