Once upon a time, there was a magical flower that had healing powers. An evil witch discovered the flower, and she kept it hidden so she could use it to keep herself young. Then, the queen of a nearby kingdom became gravely ill, and the king sent all his men out to search for the magical healing flower. To the evil witch’s disappointment, the king’s men found the magical healing flower, and they plucked it from the ground to deliver it to the queen. The queen drank tea made with the flower, and she became well again. However, the queen was pregnant, and the magical properties of the flower were transferred to her baby. The evil witch was not happy about this turn of events, and when she discovered that the baby princess had acquired the magic, she kidnapped the princess. But the king and queen never give up hope that the lost princess would be returned. Every year, on the princess’s birthday, the people of the kingdom release hundreds of floating candles into the sky in memory of their missing princess.
Fast forward seventeen years….Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) has been locked in a tower for seventeen long, lonely years. She spends her time painting, reading, and dreaming, with a cute little chameleon named Pascal as her only friend. Sure, she gets visits from the evil witch Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy), who tells her all about the scary things out in the world. Rapunzel is too terrified to even want to leave the safety of her tower!! But Mother Gothel knows she has to keep Rapunzel in the tower, because she uses her for her own personal fountain of youth. You see, when they sing a special song, the magic happens, Mother Gothel reverse-ages, and Rapunzel’s hair grows. Oh yeah, and her hair is about 70 feet long now.
Rapunzel is no damsel in distress though. When it comes down to it, Rapunzel discovers that a frying pan makes a handy weapon. When Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi), thief, discovers Rapunzel’s tower while fleeing from castle guards, Rapunzel takes him hostage (she ties him up with her hair!!) and then forces him to help her escape. Rapunzel has been keeping track, and she knows that in a few days, the floating lights will appear and she wants to see them up close and personal. Rapunzel has no idea that the floating lights are in memory of the lost princess, who is actually her!! What happens next is a fun adventure involving some thugs in a pub, a mean horse named Maximus (he was really funny) and a little romance thrown in for good measure (this IS a Disney movie, after all!!).
What I liked: There was more humor in this movie than a lot of other Disney animated films. Since this is the 50th animated feature by Walt Disney Pictures, I was glad to see that it still had all the charm and wonder of the first animated feature, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, and it will leave you with that feel-good, happy feeling. The visuals were amazing, very rich and colorful. There were no talking animals in this one, but the chameleon and the horse were very expressive and humorous. The songs were catchy, and I especially enjoyed hearing Zachary Levi (TV’s Chuck Bartowski) sing. I thought the main characters reminded me of Aladdin (a thief with no family) and Jasmine (a rebellious princess). I also noticed a spinning wheel (like the one from “Sleeping Beauty”) up in Rapunzel’s tower. I’m sure there were more nods to other Disney films that I missed. Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi were awesome in this movie.
What I didn’t like: Rapunzel spent the whole movie barefoot. I would think her feet would be killing her, what with all the running around she was doing. I’m sure she could have found shoes somewhere (or a pair of scissors?)
Don’t believe when people say this is a rip-off of “Shrek”. I like the “Shrek” movies, but they are never as good as Disney films. Disney animated pictures have that certain something that other animated movies lack. This is a perfect addition to your holiday festivities, add Tangled to your must see list.