Sunday, November 21, 2010

RAPUNZEL: A Tangled Tale - Chance To Let Down Your Hair

RAPUNZEL: A Tangled Tale aka TANGLED (animated fairy tale)
Cast (Voices): Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Ron Perlman, Jeffrey Tambor, M.C. Gainey, Brad Garrett and Paul F. Tompkins
Directors: Byron Howard and Nathan Greno
Script: Dan Fogelman from the Grimm Brothers fairy tale
Time: 100 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)

PREAMBLE: In the US and elsewhere, the title of this movie is just Tangled, to make it more gender-neutral so that boys would not regard it solely as a girlie flick. And of course, the folks at Disney have also made sure that there is enough swashbuckling action and humour not just for the kids but for the whole family as well.

With or without 3-D, Rapunzel (or Tangled) looks set to overtake last year's under-achieving Princess and the Frog at the box-office. What's more, its non-verbal horse Maximus is bound to give Shrek's talkative Donkey a run for the money!

THE SKINNY: The Rapunzel (voice of Mandy Moore) caper gets a revisionist twist here and she is 'rescued' not by a handsome prince on a white horse but a young, egoistic bandit (Zachary Levi as Flynn Rider) and a horse (named Maximus) that thinks it is a dog. The villain is Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy), the narcissistic witch who imprisons our princess in a secluded tower.

HITS AND MISSES: Like Beauty & The Beast and The Little Mermaid, Rapunzel also comes with musical and dance numbers. Except for Mother Knows Best, most of them have yet to catch on with the public. They may not be as catchy as those of Little Mermaid but given time, some may actually work their magic.

What I like best are the solid Disney characterisations, especially of its animals. Mandy Moore's Rapunzel suitably represents Every Girl who is forced to stay home; Flynn plays the Bad Boy-type who sorely needs to be tamed and corrected by the proverbial Love; and the manipulative Mother Gothel aptly reflects the way some kids view their over-protective parent.

The show-stealers are the mandatory animal sidekicks - a chameleon named Pascal and the palace horse Maximus. These are not just supporting characters but they have actual 'acting' duties as well. And the fact that they do not speak, helps to boost realism and makes them even funnier. Of course, the action is popcorn stuff but the social themes it explores make for worthy parental contemplation.

THE LOWDOWN: A fitting opportunity for everyone to let down their hair.


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