Thursday, February 10, 2011

Long Flaxen Bouncing Golden Hair

If you want to be happy, go see “Tangled.” It is pure delight. The animation is stunning, the hair, the wind, the flowers, the hair, the faces, bodies, that hair -- the attention to detail is exceptional. Not a 3D fan, I enjoyed it here, perhaps because it was used to enhance the animation, not take the place of story.

Music and lyrics by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, respectively, were clever, funny, warm and sweet. Some sample rhymes – dreamers, femurs; deadly, medley. Help me, how wonderful are those. Each and every song moves characters and story forward and they are well placed in the witty and wild screenplay by Dan Fogelman (based on the fairy tale “Rapunzel” by the Brothers Grimm, of course).

There’s a long list of wonderful people voicing characters from guards to thugs, each character fully delineated and hilarious. As for the main characters:
  • Zachari Levi (from “Chuck”) is the voice of the thief, Rider (who looks more like Jake Gyllenhall), and he’s quite charming, smarmy, contrite, sincere, and very funny. He also sings quite sweetly.
  • Mandy Moore is Rapunzel, and of course her voice is just right for this blossoming young girl. She’s full of life, exuberance, and joy, whatever her circumstances. And she’s very funny.
  • Donna Murpy does a great job as the wicked kidnapping old crone. She’s a hoot, and her singing, of course, scores.
The horse from the palace guard, Maximus, is just too fabulous. As much a dog as a horse, Maximus competes in my heart with Pascal the chameleon, who is Rapunzel’s best friend. These animals’ facial expressions, body language and action are brilliantly drawn, and are intricately woven into the story.

Rapunzel has created wondrous paintings in her tower prison, vibrant, colorful scenes of nature, earth and sky, and most particularly the highly affecting lanterns released from the royal palace every year on the anniversary of Rapunzel’s birth. When she finally gets out of her tower into the world, Rapunzel lives her paintings, in particular those birthday lanterns. The release by the king and queen of the first lantern in memory of their kidnapped daughter is followed from the top of the castle through the streets and plazas and onto the ships at sea. The light is sublime, the colors exultant, the emotional impact extraordinary. Beware, those prone to weeping at sheer, sweet gorgeousness.

Tangled” just gave so much pleasure I cannot recommend it more heartily. It was directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard, but of course this is an animated feature. Art Direction, individual animators, a huge number of people were gathered to put this gorgeous gift together. Apparently this was the most expensive animated film ever made by Disney or anyone else, but it’s so damned delightful, who could complain.

Tangled” has lots of action, frying pans, slingshot moves with long golden hair, dam busting, and the good guys and bad guys satisfactorily getting their due. Go on, let your hair down.

~ Molly Matera, logging off. I have more movies to see before the Oscars....


  1. Of the BP nominees (and if there are any "must see" performances not included in BP categories), how would you rank order of importance for those who are trying to cram in movie-going before the Oscar Night?

  2. You know BAFTA is being televised on BBC America Sunday night, right?

  3. I did not know BAFTA was on BBC America this Sunday, thanks for the heads up. Re Oscar BP, I've seen all the nominees except "127 Hours," so cannot speak to that at all. If I absolutely must list faves, they'd go something like this: Toy Story 3, Winter's Bone (and their order switches back and forth), The King's Speech, The Social Network, Inception, The Fighter, Black Swan. True Grit does not belong in the BP category at all, and I'm not so sure about The Kids Are All Right, much as I liked that one.

  4. BAFTA 8 pm tonight EST. Of course, there are "spoilers" on the web, since the award show has taken place thanks to time difference.