Disney's 50th animated feature, Tangled, will probably not be counted by most people as one of their classics, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself and look forward to seeing the movie again. The classic fairy tale Rapunzel, Disneyfied of course, is the basis we start from. Reportedly costing an absurd $260 million, due to a restart late in the project where all they supposedly kept was "the hair, the tower, and Rapunzel." Add in some wonderful animation (the best in the short history of Disney 3-D), terrific voice work, humorous supporting characters, and solid (if mostly unmemorable) songs, and we have all the makings of a great movie in the classic Disney mold.
Rapunzel, voiced to sweet perfection by Mandy Moore in all her adorable glory, spends the days in her tower painting and cooking and generally just wasting her time until her mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) comes to the tower "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair." By the age of 18, Rapunzel has grown extremely restless and wants to leave her tower. She's aided by the appearance of Flynn (Zachary Levi), a thief who can lead her to see the floating lanterns she wants to see. The lanterns are sent into the sky every year on her birthday, and she wants to know why and to be able to see them in person. Fairy taleness ensues in a pretty straightforward way.
The animation has a lot of care in it. The animators used classical paintings as reference in trying to give the movie the lushness and character of a traditionally animated fairy tale, just animated in 3-D. Speaking of, the screening I went to was mercifully projected in 3-D, so you won't have to hear me denigrating the worthlessness of 3-D again. The lighting and detail in the movie is tremendous. We're able to see the fiber threads in a carpet when Rapunzel's little sidekick is laying on a rug. The faces of the characters have a lot more movement and make the characters jump to life a lot easier than in other movies, but in a subtle way that some people may not notice. The songs are a bit of a weak point in the movie, but while there definitely isn't a "Be Our Guest" "A Whole New World" or "Hakuna Matata" in the bunch, I didn't really feel like any of them were bad either. They further along the characters and the story, and if they're not the greatest songs, at least they don't detract. I did really like the "dreams" song they sing in the bar. Very reminiscent of the "Gaston" sequence from Beauty and the Beast, but well done and a lot of fun.
So while many may not consider it an instant classic, I think it's perfectly enjoyable and has quite a bit of greatness in it. When Rapunzel finally gets to see the floating lanterns lit, the sequence bursts with light and shadow, and I loved the shot tracking down from the castle throughout the town as everyone lit their lights and sent them into the sky. It's a terrific sequence, my favorite in the movie, and with the enjoyability of the lead actors and the wonderful attention to details in the animation, there wasn't a whole lot about Tangled that I didn't like.