Saturday, December 31, 2011


Monday starts the long, long post-holiday period that can be such a letdown after all the fun and excitement we get between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. For that reason, I decided to review a movie made for kids and for us grownups who are, as C. S. Lewis says, “old enough to start reading fairy tales again”: Disney’s 2010 animated feature film, Tangled.

Based on the traditional story of Rapunzel, Tangled is the tale of a young girl who has spent her whole life in a high, doorless tower, seeing only the woman she knows as Mother Gothel. But while Mother Gothel claims she keeps Rapunzel confined for her own protection, the truth is that she does it because it’s Rapunzel’s magic hair that keeps Mother Gothel forever young and beautiful.

Still, Rapunzel dreams of seeing more than just her tower room, and when a handsome thief called Flynn Rider scales the tower to hide from the law and the other thieves he’s double-crossed, Rapunzel decides to make the most of her unexpected opportunity. She convinces a him to escort her from the tower and into the village so she can witness for herself the annual ceremony held in remembrance of the baby princess who had been stolen from the king and queen eighteen years before. Adventure, betrayal, romance, sacrifice and, yes, tears ensue.

I love this movie. Okay, the Alan Menken/Glenn Slater songs are terribly forgettable, and the character of Mother Gothel (voiced by Donna Murphy) seems rather grating and overdone at times. Sometimes the visual effects, particularly Rapunzel’s vast amount of hair (especially when wet), are not as convincing to me as I would like. But all those things are unimportant when compared with everything that’s right about this film.

The animators manage to say a great deal with just a facial expressions. In fact, two of the most endearing characters in the movie (the horse, Maximus, and the chameleon, Pascal) do not speak at all, but we have no problem telling exactly what they’re thinking. There’s also plenty of sly humor and lots of really exciting action sequences. And the scenes of the village celebration truly radiate joy.

Best of all, the two lead characters, Rapunzel and Flynn, are a genuine delight both individually and as a couple. Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore) manages to be sweet without being saccharine and spunky without being annoyingly militant. Her abrupt swings between joy and guilt once she actually leaves her tower room, knowing Mother Gothel will not approve, are a hoot. And Flynn (voiced by Zachary Levi) is a real charmer, remarkably like his probable inspiration, the irresistible Errol Flynn. Together they find there’s much more to life than what they have previously known or expected.

I found myself smiling all the way through this sweet, sassy fairy tale, so full of life and joy and innocent romance.

Oh, and frying pans.

Who knew, right?

Have you seen Tangled? What recent movies have you enjoyed?

DeAnna Julie Dodson has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. She is the author of In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered, a trilogy of medieval romances, and Letters in the Attic, a contemporary mystery. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with four spoiled cats.


  1. DeAnna, I love love love this movie! I loved everything about it, except the music. But as you said, that could be overlooked. :-)

    We just watched Despicable Me, and I thought it was precious. Somehow that despicable guy stole my heart and made me cry.

  2. Oh, yes! "Despicable Me" is wonderful, too! Excellent choice.

    Yes, it was sad that one of the writers of the great music for "The Little Mermaid" could only mail it in for "Tangled." But the actual movie was fabulous. :D

  3. I picked this up after hearing inky reviews. I'm pretty sure one of the inkies has a crush on Flynn. I loved how modern and real the characters felt.

    I admit the long flowing smooth locks bugged me at times. Jealousy? Perhaps. How she could run through the woods like that made me think the title was cute but ill-chosen. Tee hee.

    A wonderful movie for all. .

    If you need a review on Thomas the Tank Engine's many movies call me. I did see Cars2 last week.

  4. Sounds good. I really haven't seen any movies lately, except Cars 2, which I personally enjoyed a lot better than Cars.

  5. Cars 2. All that international intrigue ...

    I think it was a lot harder for my grandchildren to follow. Harder to figure out the bad guys.

  6. Great review, DeAnna!

    So that's what Tangled is all about. I had no idea.

    I love updated fairytale movies, and it sounds like someone's been reading their Bible because what we have here is:
    Rapunzel and one of Rahab's spies.

    I like that. :)

    Thanks, DeAnna. I'm looking forward to this one.

    Anita Mae.

  7. @Debra: Oh, I love Errol Flynn (carefully ignoring his less-than-pristine personal life). He was SO charismatic on screen. And I LOVED Flynn in "Tangled." So cute and fun and charming.

    @Dina: I haven't seen Cars 2. Cars was all right, but not my favorite, though just about anything Pixar does is a winner. I'll have to make sure and see Cars 2 now.

    @Anita: Oh, yes, do give "Tangled" a look. It's precious. No gun totin' wimmen, but there's this frying pan . . . :D

  8. "Tangled" was definitely a thumbs-up. That silly horse reminded me SO much of my dog I was laughing all the way through.
    Funny, hubby had rented "Burlesque" the same night ... I had to ask myself several times if the lead female roles in Tangled were modeled after Cher and Christina Aguilera. : )

  9. Liked Tangled. Don't own a copy of it -- maybe because I have boys?

    Cars 2 didn't do much for us. We saw it once, but we won't be bothering to get the DVD.

    Saw Sherlock 2 yesterday. Lots of insider Holmes jokes, and I found the opera scene vastly amusing, having seen Don Giovanni many years ago. Oldest and I were chuckling about the waterfall way before the climax. Must have been a lot of non-Holmes readers in the audience because it wa quiet in the theater at the climax. Holmes fans can pretty much predict the ending, but it was still fun to watch. Or maybe it was just fun to share a joke with the scriptwriters.

  10. Being a long time fan of Zachary Levi, I looked forward to Tangled for months. It was worth the wait. Having it on DVD now, I've seen it quite a number of times, and it holds up well to multiple views. It's one of my favorite Disney movies now.

  11. Despicable Me was excellent, though I have yet to see Tangled still.
    Must remember to ask my niece to bring the DVD next time I babysit or find it in the libary to preserve my sanity from being subjected to Wallace & Gromit for the hundredth time.


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