Sunday, March 22, 2015

DISNEY'S TANGLED

Recently I reviewed a film that's been getting critical praise and is considered to be a classic movie, that I sadly found overrated, and that film was "The Quiet Man". Now I'm going to review a Disney film that got critical praise and is said to be one of the best Disney movies of all time, that I found to be overrated, and that is...


  

Before you freak out, let me just address that I don't think it's a bad movie or one of Disney's weakest, because it isn't! With that said, however, I did find some major problems in the film that I found to be very bland and distracting, at least for me, while at the same time enjoying the stuff that I thought made the film good. What are the film's hits and misses; ON WITH THE REVIEW!



A magical drop of sunlight has turned into a golden flower that has the ability to heal things, which can only heal a person by singing a special song. Yeah, uh, the origin of the magical flower in many respects doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. With that said though, this surprisingly is NOT one of the major problems that I have with the film! In fact, I actually do think it works within the film's Fairy Tale elements, since Fairy Tale's (In many respects) don't make a whole lot of sense either. Getting back to the plot; an old hag named Gothel finds the flower and uses its magic to make herself young, while also hiding the flower from others. However, soldiers find the magic flower and use it to save their Queen from dying, while giving birth. Since the Queen has consumed the magic from the flower to heal her, her daughter Rapunzel being born after the Queen's healing now has the powers from the flower in her hair and if her hair is cut, the magic would be gone. Gothel finds out about the healing powers being inside Rapunzel hair and she takes her away to an old tower deep within the Forrest, and keeps her locked away from the outside world to use her healing powers to keep her young, while also raising her. The King and Queen (Who by the way, fortunately DON'T DIE at all in the movie) are sad about the loss of their daughter and release Sky Lanterns on the day of her Birthday, hoping that one day she'll come home. Before I go any further with the plot, the set-up and back story is a perfect Disney twist on this old Fairy Tale. This is truly one of Disney's best when it comes to giving Fairy Tale's a twist! To finish my summary of the film's plot; 18 years later, Rapunzel who dreams of leaving the Tower to see where the Sky Lanterns are being lit, meets a thief named Flynn who hides in her Tower from the law. With Gothel away getting Rapunzel a birthday present that she requested, which is a 3 day walk; Rapunzel convinces Flynn to take her to where the Lanterns are lit and the two go off on an adventure, which of course involves romance; Rapunzel getting to know her new surroundings; fighting off soldiers that are after Flynn; and of course, the villain is hot on their trail. Much like how praised the film's back story; the film's main story is just as great.


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Since this is Disney's first computer animated Fairy Tale, I guess I might as well talk about the animation first, since most of us are used to seeing Disney's Fairy Tale’s in 2-D animation. In all honesty with the films Computer Animation, it's for the most part great. If Disney was ever going to make a Computer Animated film about a Princess, the story of Rapunzel is the perfect choice. Whenever I see Rapunzel's hair, I always find myself being amazed at how real it looks. If it was done in 2-D animation, it would probably still look good, but not as great as seeing it in Computer Animation where you just want to touch her magic hair and feel it! I also found myself in great awe when I saw all the Sky Lanterns light up flying above Rapunzel and Flynn; it's just so beautiful and enchanting to look at. I also admire the timing for the films action sequences, they're really well paced as well as being really entertaining. For me though, my favorite scene with the film’s Computer Animation is that brief scene of the King and Queen missing their daughter. The animation in their facial expressions are so moving and touching, that for a brief scene without any dialogue, you can actually feel everything that these two characters are feeling. While I do enjoy the animation, there are two problems that I have with the films world and style. The first problem I have with it is I actually wasn't really enchanted by this films world and atmosphere. I actually found it to be very bland and boring; like there's nothing in this world that I felt was creative or amazing enough to get me lost in, aside from the things that I already praised. The second problem I have with the film's world and style is the humor. While I did get a few good laughs and enjoyed some of the visuals, I for the most part kept a straight face because of how forced and obnoxious it was. Half of the time I felt like I was watching a Dreamswork movie, then I was actually watching a Disney movie, from the animation style and how the jokes and gags are being played out.

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Our films Princess Rapunzel has got to be one of Disney's strongest Princess characters. She's smart, energetic, talented, carrying, active, and can turn a household item into a badass weapon (A joke that I did laugh at). This character is indeed written really well. The problem I have with her though is sadly the voice acting from Mandy Moore. It's not bad or anything, it's just that I didn't feel like I was hearing the voice of a fictional Princess character; I felt like I was just listening to Mandy Moore's voice, who makes the character sound like one of those bland and unfunny teenage girls that you see on those lame Disney Channel Sitcoms, who are obviously playing their selves. On top of it, and this is one of the major issues I have with the film, whenever I hear a character talk; instead of feeling like that I'm seeing a character come to life before my eyes, I get the strong vibe of hearing the actor’s reading their lines and performing in the recording studio, which is very distracting. When I first heard my favorite critic Doug Walker point that out in his review, I thought he was just nitpicking to find a flaw in the film. When I heard the voice acting for myself, I too felt like I was just listening to the actors in a recording studio just putting on a performance, instead of the actors actually making the characters seem real and distracting you from the fact that they're recording in a studio. This is something that I don’t notice too much, but here, it’s pretty obvious, even if my favorite critic didn’t point it out. 





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(Man does that face crack me up!)



The Thief Flynn, while likable I really didn't really find him that interesting or fun. The relationship between him and Rapunzel, while not bad or lifeless I just didn't find myself that interested or enchanted by it. Though, I will admit, the sad climatic scene between them was actually pretty heavy and was one of those rare times when I didn’t feel like I was hearing actors in a recording booth. Zachary Levi voice acting not only sounds like he's in a recording studio just putting on a performance as himself, but the way he delivers his humor is very stale, rushed, forced, and at times sounds like that he's doing a voice over for "Shrek", instead of Disney. Again, I don't think he's a bad character, I just didn't think the voice acting and humor that Levi delivers didn't match that Disney charm, nor sound like that he's not talking into a mic.




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As for the film's villain, she's actually really awesome. While I did get the same vibe that I was listening to the actress Donna Murphy recording her voice in a studio like everyone else in this film; she actually was the closest out of all the voice actors, from distracting me from that fact. I say this because, whenever she acts motherly towards Rapunzel without going over the top to the point where you can sense the actress hamming it up in the studio, I actually did find myself just as fooled as Rapunzel is with her Motherly charm, even when knowing that she's the villain. Unlike the evil step Mothers in Disney films who are made to be pure evil; or Frollo who is still intimidating when he takes care of Quasimodo in Disney's "Hunchback"; she actually does act and feel like a real Mother. She takes care of her; cooks her, her favorite meals; and is willing to get her the stuff she needs despite being a very long distanced journey. Even when she says the words "I Love You", it doesn't sound sinister or phoned in, it actually felt real. Now that's what I call an evil manipulative villain. She even has some creepy and unsettling moments. When I saw her in the film's opening wearing a hood as the darkness nearly hides her old face, while singing to the flower; I was creeped out. The only thing I didn't like about the character herself, is how comically over the top the film makes her. It just seems out of place, as well being at times annoying and obnoxious. Aside from that, she's still a good villain.



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The supporting characters in this film are ok. The horse Maximums who I heard is the funniest supporting character in the movie; while given some really hilarious facial expressions, as well as getting some good comical moments between him and Flynn, since the horse is after Flynn for his crimes (Which I do love the concept); I in all honestly wasn't laughing as hard as I hoped that I would. The Thieves at the bar that our characters encounter, are just as forced and obnoxious as the film's over the top humor. The only Thief I found funny was the Thief dressed as Cupid, that is until, they use him as a running gag, that starts to become old and annoying. Finally, there's Rapunzel's animal friend Pascal the Chameleon, who surprisingly does feel like a Disney character instead of a "DreamWorks" knock-off. He's cute, fun, and the Computer Animation for whenever he blends into his environment is really cool as well. This is a character that I actually would like to have as a pet.






Image result for tangled when will my life begin

Finally, we go to the songs, which are also my final major problem with the movie. While they do tell the story, they're sadly very bland and forgettable. In "The Princess And The Frog", despite the songs being not memorable, I still enjoyed them greatly, while I was listening to them. Here, I was actually bored and unamused by the film’s songs. Rapunzel's "Want Song" called "When Will My Life Begin?" while having some great visuals and giving you a perfect background of how she lives with herself in the Tower after all these years; the song sounds like a bland Pop tune that you would hear on the Disney Channel starring a musical celebrity, instead of feeling like a Disney Fairy Tale song. We even get another bland Pop tune during that beautiful sequence with the lights called "I See The Light", which nearly killed this beautiful and atmospheric sequence for me. The villain song "Mother Knows Best", while visually good and giving us a good background at how Gothel keeps Rapunzel in the Tower like "When Will My Life Begin", as well as Murphy putting a lot of energy into the song she's singing; the song is forgettable and is actually pretty obnoxious. However, I think the most pointless and obnoxious song in the whole movie is "I Have A Dream" sung by the Thieves. I like the idea for the scene, and laughed at some of the humor, but as a whole I found myself really annoyed by it, as well as rolling my eyes at half of the song's forced jokes. The only song I did like was the song that the characters sing to the flower and Rapunzel's hair to be healed. It's beautiful, enchanting, atmospheric, and does match with the traditional Disney Fairy Tale charm.


So that's my review on "Tangled" and while I do find it to be very overrated with the obvious feeling that I'm listening to actors in a recording studio; having very obnoxious and unfunny humor; songs that are very bland and forgettable; and being a Fairy Tale World that's not all that imaginative, I still give the film credit for the things that it does achieve. Rapunzel is a great female lead; the villain is awesome; the Computer Animation is very impressive on a handful of occasions; and the story is great! Not what I personally consider to be a great Disney film, but the film has enough potential to make it worth seeing, and despite finding the film to be overrated, I would still watch the film again for the things that it did succeed in.

RATING 3/5

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