Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Ken Recommends: Disney's Tangled

Release: 28/1/11
Running Time: 100 mins.
Studio: Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Pictures
Genre: Fantasy/Comedy
Rating: PG
Director: Nathan Greno and Byron Howard
Writer: Grimm Brothers (Original Fairy tale) and Dan Fogelman (Screenplay)
Starring: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy and Ron Perlman

Tangled is Walt Disney Animation Studios 50th feature since debuting in 1937 with Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs and it seems Disney Studios are back on form, doing what they do best, Fairy Tales.

Taking inspiration from the original Germanic tale by the Grimm Brothers, Tangled is very much a fairy tale as it is an adventure or comedy film. The film tells the story of Rapunzel (Moore) whom has been kept lock in a tower by her mother (Murphy) to keep her safe from the world outside but when a thief by the name of Flynn Rider (Levi) stumbles into her home looking for a place to hide Rapunzel sees this as a chance to explore the world outside, soon she'll discover much more than she could ever have dreamed about.

The most important part of any story are the characters and tangled has a strong mix of supporting and main characters to keep the film fun and exciting. Moore's Rapunzel is just a delight to watch on screen and full of a range of emotions, one of most memorable sections is the reaction she has to leaving the tower swapping constantly between absolute joy for finally being free from the tower and sadness at the the fact she disobeyed her mother's orders. Whats great about Rapunzel is when you're watching her experience the world for the first time it's like you are too. The quality of the voice acting and animation really brings the characters to life and Rapunzel is one of the most likable Disney characters to come along in a while.

The character of Flynn is the lovable scoundrel, whilst he seems air headed, he does actually know what he's doing. He's smart, savvy and interacts well with other characters, often applying humour to the action scenes and this is all in Levi's delivery of the lines, as the story progresses the character grows and Levi's voice work does well to reflect that growth. Finally Mother Gothel is an excellent villain, with so much subtlety about her that it just makes you ooze in your chair and she has some the best lines that just make you want to boo for her and her face is quite scary, even when smiling! Murphy's work as Gothel is outstanding as it's not outrageous but has a certain quality that makes her a fun baddy.

The story itself is very enjoyable to watch unfold and is much more akin to adventure tale than a classic fairy tale, theres peril theres humour and some very memorable supporting characters, much like classic Disney films though the film has songs to help move the plot along and they're fantastic, when the respective character sings their song you can feel their personality in it, ranging from Rapunzel's song of hope "When Will my Life Begin?" to Mother Gothel's song "Mother knows best" intent of scaring Rapunzel into staying inside forever. Each character is important to the plot and is part of what makes Tangled so enjoyable and ofcourse theres a cute animal companion in the form of Pascal, the Chameleon who'll even get a few laughs out of the audience.

The animation quality is just breath taking, everything is vibrant and eye catching. The quality of the skin is amazing, it looks so alive reacting with light in the same way real skin does and of course all that hair Rapunzel has moves perfectly. The body language the characters display is part of the skill of animating and it really gives so much personality, seeing Rapunzel prance around light footed once she's free from the tower, or how some of the larger characters thrown their arms around really giving a sense of weight to them.

Overall Tangled is return to the greatness that Walt Disney once has back in the 90s, if they can keep up this quality of story telling with traditional or CGI animation I have a feeling that the 10's will be a return to form for Disney Animation Studios. Tangled is a fairy tale film but it doesn't feel like one, with both female and male lead characters it means that both boys and girls of all ages can enjoy this film. With lovable characters, great songs, humour abound and amazing animation this is one to watch and then get on DVD to enjoy again and again.

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