BluRay/DVD Reviews


By • Apr 13th, 2011 •

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I’m gonna be hunted down for this, but I liked TANGLED more than TOY STORY 3. I didn’t get to see it until the DVD/BluRay arrived recently, so I missed the opportunity to rave about it last year. But much as I loved TS3, I felt its first act was flat. Things really heated up once the toys ended up in their Hell on Earth in act two. TANGLED started off strong, with good characterizations, modern riffs on an old Grimm’s fairy tale, and the rampant imagination of screenwriters and animators at the height of their creative powers, deluging the story with engaging character details and transfixing animation (how many permutations can you come up with involving her hair…? It began to remind me of Ka the Snake in THE JUNGLE BOOK).

The protagonist – Rapunzel – is a well-drawn character, a strong adolescent girl despite having been caged in a tower all her life. This is similar to the fate that befell the recent eponymous protag in HANNA, which is also fairy-tale-like in tone. Of course Rapunzel doesn’t turn out to be an assassin, though with the pestilent faux-mother she has, she could have easily turned out to be a serial killer (a subject more suited for Ralph Bakshi than Disney).

The character of the mother is the best-drawn villain in recent cinema. The Bear in TS3 was also terrific – reminiscent in its kindly initial demeanor of Will Gear in John Frankenheimer’s SECONDS – but with less screen time. Donna Murphy as Mother Gothel digs into the character from theget-go, with sudden, terrifying emotional reversals and horrific duplicities. Although Alan Menken’s music is not memorable, the lyrics are laugh-out-loud clever and delightful, and are wonderfully interpreted in her voice performance.

There is also a horse that acts like a dog, and has a strong character arc, every frame of which I loved. And I was thrilled to see, in an inn-full of medieval thugs, that one of them (Vlad) was voiced by none other than Richard Kiel, who played “Jaws” in two James Bond films, as well as most of the monsters in the 70s TV series KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER. Ron Perlman also shows up. A really inspired casting.

Clearly a rave review, right?! Was there anything that put me off about the film? Actually, yes – the title. I guess they couldn’t go with RAPUNZEL; the screenplay dances too far astray from the Grimm tale to be regarded as more than a departure point. But I wish they’d thought of something else to call it. The title didn’t attract me to the film at all. However, now that I’ve seen it, I guess I’ll grow to like the moniker. I remember thinking BONNIE AND CLYDE was a stupid title when I first heard it, and boy, did my perception of it change after I’d seen the film.

The TANGLED Blu-Ray/DVD is radiant, the soundtrack, vivid, and it hasn’t stayed on the shelf for long. It’s a popular title, whose compelling narrative moves quickly enough to bear repeated viewings.

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