Based on the Brothers Grimm fairytale of Rapunzel, the characters of Tangled are updated for its modern audience, winning hearts and giving young girls a new Disney princess to idolize.

Tangled has the honor of being Disney’s 50th Animated feature, as the audience is reminded with a logo at the start of the movie. Deservedly so, for it lives up to the classic animated Disney fairy-tales that the mouse-house built a reputation on in the previous century. Based on the Brothers Grimm fairytale of Rapunzel, Tangled is set in the same timeless story-land that fairytales belong to. Sensibly though, the characters are updated for its modern audience, winning hearts and giving young girls a new Disney princess to idolize.

In Disney tradition, the familiar fairytale is expanded and altered for the movie. As a baby, Princess Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) is kidnapped from her castle and kept hidden in a tall isolated tower by the evil Gothel (Donna Murphy), an old lady who uses Rapunzel’s magic hair to stay forever young. Eighteen years later, the princess’ magical hair has grown long enough to be used as a ladder by Gothel when she comes to visit Rapunzel. As fate may have it, an escaping thief, Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi), finds his way to the tower. Taking him as a guide, Rapunzel leaves the tower and sets out to find the source of the “magic lights” that appear in the night sky annually on her birthday. Searching for them are Gothel, guards of the kingdom and the Stabbington brothers (Ron Perlman), whom Rider had betrayed.

In probably their most important decision when going into production, directors Nathan Greno andByron Howard deliver a traditional Disney fairytale instead of attempting something new or witty. Rendered in glorious 3D, but drawn in classic hand-painted colors and style, Tangled looks rich and soft. The directors take advantage of this, presenting a world that is lush with joy. Inhabiting this world are characters that are essentially good, save for the evil Gothel. Thugs sing and dance and animals become companions. Rapunzel and Flynn make a delightful lead pair, although they speak with an American twang that sometimes feels out of place. In an important departure from fairy-tale convention, Tangled’s last act spares us the melodrama of the misunderstood hero. Although they update the characters for a modern audience, the directors avoid an overly feminist slant that would have the girl save the hero ala Ella Enchanted. Characters behave the way they are presented, through to the end.

As is the norm with most animated movies, the sidekick characters – a horse named Maximus and a chameleon called Pascal – provide some of the best laughs. Reminiscent of Aboo the monkey and the carpet from Aladdin, these two non-speaking characters provide much slapstick humor and some wonderful chemistry with their human companions. Though Disney has been releasing animated features almost every year, there has been a recent drought in their consistency. With the inclusion of last year’s The Princess and the Frog, Disney has now given us two good animated fairy tales in two years. Tangled, markedly better than its predecessor, continues the recent re-kindling of the Disney Animated magic.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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About Shariq Madani

Shariq is a social, talkative, fun-loving guy who enjoys books, food and a long drive. But his real joy is in the comfortable darkness of a cinema, watching a good movie, and later spending hours discussing it.