With all the grown-ups chasing after gifts and trees, it seems the Christmas season is all for children, of whom nothing is required other than pretending not to notice that the guy in the red suit is actually grandpa. In that spirit, we look to Tangled, an animated Disney fairytale for the young and young at heart.
Flynn, a grinning bandit who charms his way throughout the kingdom, is a bit of a blank slate. He doesn’t reveal much about himself and seems to live life minute by minute. Women don’t figure large in his life, despite a well-practiced smolder that makes him vaguely resemble David Garrett. He simply wants to survive every day with his hide intact.
He soon discovers the hard way that the world is way too complicated to slide through without forming attachments. They happen, whether or not his playboy nature approves. And all of a sudden, Flynn has to navigate the churned waters of personal relationships.
Flynn finds himself with someone who expects everything. Locked up in a tower all her life, Rapunzel needs a chaperone for an evening. The way she explores her potential without giving up who she is, while Flynn’s interest in her changes from that of an older brother, to that of a lover, to that of someone who will risk his life to save hers, is the real adventure in Tangled, even more remarkable for the fact that it’s an animated film, also distributed in 3D.
The on-screen action, impressively rendered in lustrous pastel colors, takes a back seat to subtle characterization. In fact, the only character lacking dimension is Rapunzel’s evil stepmother, who loves Rapunzel solely for her youth-giving hair and so by definition is not exactly a complex character. Selfish, heartless and manipulative, she meets a well deserved demise, yet perhaps a bit too brutal for the kids at whom Tangled is aimed. But fear not, this updated Rapunzel runs its course to an age-appropriate happy ending,
Tangled | Directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard (USA 2010), with Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi (voices). Opens December 9.