If you’ll forgive the tired old cliché, Tangled is a “coming of age story” for Rapunzel, Flynn, and even (in a weird way, a “coming of old age” ) for Rapunzel’s evil, passive-aggressive step mother (who continues the long tradition of evil stepmothers in Disney Movies.).
What’s totally great about Rapunzel is that she is a normal looking girl. This is huge for a Disney movie. They have deviated from whatever mathematical formula that they have applied to prior princesses that make their faces flawless and perfectly symmetrical and give them bodies that are anatomically impossible. You know, like Barbie.
What’s also great about Rapunzel is that she saves herself from Flynn (the would-be hero), when he breaks into her, um… house, and without giving too much more away, she repeatedly saves herself in other situations thereafter. Flynn doesn’t save her; she saves him.
The horse Maximus and Flynn have a comical, sibling-type relationship going on throughout the movie which was so much fun to watch that it elicited a few disapproving “Mom! You sure laugh loud!”‘s from my tween.
This movie also brought to mind a few other clichés: “If you love something, set it free,” embodied by Rapunzel. “If it doesn’t come back, hunt it down and kill it,” embodied by the evil stepmother.
The lights that are launched annually recall the tune “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine”, which is reflective of Rapunzel’s optimism in spite of the deck being completely stacked against her…and I mean: Completely. Stacked. Against. Her.
Then there’s the frying pan, which is perhaps a nod to the woman who can “bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan”. At one point, Flynn asks: “A frying pan! Who knew?” A woman knew, that’s who!
Don’t get me wrong; all of these cliches are comforting, familiar. They help to make the movie accessible, and overall, EXCELLENT. Bring your kids and go see it (but try not to embarrass them by laughing “too loud” at Maximus and Flynn). 🙂
6 thoughts on “Tangled”
You’ve convinced me…sounds great. Thank you for doing the research….
Oh! I hope you like it as much as I did, Carol! 🙂
Now I want to see the movie….always liked Disney…
GO! It’s worth it!
I was extremely pleased with Tangled. I’d been following its production for quite some time and it had a rough development that under normal circumstances would have resulted in a messy, uneven movie. But under the guidance of executive producer John Lasseter (the founder of the now Disney-owned Pixar Animation Studios) the film came together in a way I don’t think anybody expected.
Our final product is a pleasantly (albeit unnecessarily) musical fairy tale that takes the classic Disney formula to the epitome of its capability. Disney princesses have seen only mild evolution since their inception back in the 40s, growing from prince-dependent (see “Sleeping Beauty”) to condescendingly INdependent (see “The Princess and the Frog”). Tangled takes Disney’s fairy tale adaptations and fixes their ever-outstanding short leg: a strong female lead.
Film, and especially Disney, tends to portray two kinds of women: 1) A naive and unworldly girl waiting for a prince or 2) A career-driven, no nonsense super-woman with no time or need for romance. But in the case of the latter, an overly-positive stereotype is still a stereotype, and it is in this critic’s opinion equally as condescending as the preceding. Tangled is a very rare exception that presents us with a realistic and well rounded female lead that has a reciprocally enhancing relationship with her male counterpart.
That said, Tangled is not a feminist carol. Tangled is not even a girl movie, or a boy movie for that matter. Tangled is an equal-gender fairy tale, something we haven’t seen since 1991’s Beauty and the Beast. This makes Tangled only the second story of this effort in my entire lifetime.
The last twenty years of fairy tales have been that of clueless, helpless women and wealthy men who’s soul purpose in life has been to rescue them. These are the characters children pretend to be and these are the love stories preteens begin to look for. The result is a warped sense of chivalry and entitlement for young men and a weak, overly conscious sense of self for young women.
Tangled communicates an array of lessons to its audience, the youngest of which will benefit the most. With Rapunzel fresh from her tower and Flynn without a friend in the world (let alone lover), Tangled is a stealthy portrayal of first loves. An exciting, virginous adventure of self-discovery and compassion. As Rapunzel and Flynn enter the uncharted world of honest romance, they are equally reliant on one another for support. Neither of them have something to prove. Neither of them is more superior to the other. They simply give it a shot on equal ground and their relationship begins to grow. Healthily, as equals.
Flynn and Rapunzel show us that a healthy and loving relationship is something that is built through shared experience, not something found in a tower. Lovers need to take the chance to grow as people, with equal give and take and mutual respect for one another. As you grow as people, you grow as partners. The bond between you becomes resilient and educated, and as you find yourself more and more Tangled up in one another the happier you may find yourself living ever-after.
Anthony, that is an incredible analysis of Tangled. You’re an amazing writer and movie critic! I’m very proud that you chose to post this on my blog. 🙂