I watch a lot of children’s movies. Two small children have provided me the “opportunity” to become a connoisseur of all things Disney, and in the process, I have seen many animated films that I found very entertaining and many others I found unbearably juvenile. I try to steer my children toward the former as much as I can.
For the benefit of those entering this phase of childrearing, I have decided to share my thoughts on these movies from the perspective of a parent who must watch them over and over again. In this article, I discuss Disney’s Tangled.
The Tangled Plot
Tangled, loosely based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale Rapunzel, is a coming-of-age story about a young woman kidnapped at birth from her royal parents and raised by her kidnapper. The movie’s villain, Mother Gothel, takes the child for her hair’s healing and rejuvenating power—power it loses once cut.
Ignorant of her royal heritage and confined to a tower since infancy, the film follows Rapunzel’s journey of self-discovery as she leaves her tower to explore the outside world for the first time. In the spirit of Aladdin, Rapunzel’s love interest is a charming, good-natured thief whose princely credentials are established only later by—you guessed it—his marriage to Rapunzel.
Rapunzel is a sympathetic and identifiable character with a more developed and complex personality than some of the more one-dimensional Disney heroines—Princess Jasmine, for example. Flynn Rider, the thief with the heart of gold, is a bit less believable, but not so much as to hamper the story.
Overall, I found Tangled to be an entertaining film with sufficient humor and action to keep both children and adults entertained, and this is probably my favorite of my daughter’s go-to movies. It is one of the easier films to watch repeatedly.
A Weak Score
The story is exceptionally well told and does not suffer from the plotting and pacing problems of other recent films, such as Frozen. I judge these films by the strength of the story absent the music, and Tangled would be a highly engaging film with no music at all. So, those more interested in plot and quality storytelling will find this to be one of the better Disney films.
The strong plot—not the soundtrack—makes Tangled work. Unlike Frozen, the film’s music serves only to enhance the story and does not do well as a stand-alone soundtrack. Disney has developed a reputation for strong musical scores, and this movie, despite its being Disney’s best-written film since The Lion King, probably failed to gain the acclaim of some others because of its weak soundtrack. Those enthralled by the exceptional musical numbers for which Disney has become famous will likely be disappointed.
I found Tangled to be exceptional and readily recommend it to parents who frequently watch movies with their children. It is one of the most adult-friendly children’s films I have seen in a long time.
Rating: Adult Friendly