My Tangled Review


I caught up with Walt Disney pictures 50th animated feature, Tangled this week. First things first, I love digital projection. I know the tedious purist's out there will waffle endlessly on about how they miss film and how much better it is, yadda, yadda, yadda but let me tell you now. They are morons. I haven’t actually met anyone who holds that opinion yet but I’m sure they’re out there and they’re morons, okay?  However.  Tangled in a sumptuously comfortable new cinema, (the new Readings Multiplex at Charlestown, NSW), was heaven. 

It’s so Purrrrdy
Heaven (of the non sexual kind) is big screen, high definition, richly coloured and in crisp focus. Focus being something modern projectionist's seem to have an enormous amount of trouble achieving and maintaining, among other things too I’m guessing.  I remember seeing a Blu Ray for the first time on a large new high definition Telly and aside from being blown away by the richly saturated, crisp image, and falling instantly in love, I realised I  didn’t have that metallic taste in my mouth anymore. And this is the same but on a much larger scale and with no rectal bleeding. I've been to this theatre before but the reason I'm being so gushy about it is because it's the first time I've gone along with my glasses.
I know, I know.  Well.  I'd misplaced them for a month or so and only just found them again the day before. I really must get a new pair. 


Anyway, to Tangled.  It's really the standard princess fairy tale that you expect from Disney but rather than being a bit `Meh’, it's fresh, well paced, not too long...or short, great fun and just the right amount of tears without becoming treacle. It looks beautiful. The artwork is CG but rendered in a very painterly way. It doesn't have any of the harshness of lighting that some CG movies have and there is a great attention to detail without it becoming too busy.  The lantern releasing sequence for instance, toward the end of the film, took my breath away in how masterfully well it was directed and rendered artistically. It's just so damn purrdy.
The character animation is once again Disney's animators at the peak of their art. The Princess and the Frog, Disney's previous movie, was my previous high point but there's not one moment in this movie where the acting in this animation is not extraordinary. Every character is 'alive' with their own personality, it's really amazing to see. I could go on about how much I loved the animation but we all have lives to live and people to kill.

Showering Thematically
In the shower this morning I was lathering up and thinking about Tangled thematically, (hey, It's what I do).  It's really a film about  Mothering. Motherhood perhaps, probably more parenting in general I suppose. Actually it’s not about Mothering at all, it’s about being a parent. Let's leave my mother issues out of it. It's about how you can loose your kids completely if you don't let them go and become the people they want to be. The villainess of the story is a passive, aggressive old witch called Mother Gothel who has stolen the Princess Rapunzel from her parents and keeps her hidden away from the world in a tower so she can use the princess's magical neon hair to keep her young. For some reason I can imagine young, pre-teen, beauty queen contestants leaving sessions of this movie bewilderingly disturbed and their mothers regretting taking them to see it. (Well they might get ideas!!) The writers at Disney sure seem to be having some interesting parental issues they're working out through their movies.
Before I finish, there's something that's struck me as interesting in the latest clutch of movies from Pixar and Disney and considering they're both overseen creatively by Pixar it makes sense to lump them together. You see, Walt Disney was always a firm believer in putting characters at real risk, increasing the stakes and not avoiding the emotional impact of a characters death. It’s great because it means he has so much respect for his audiences. It went out of fashion for a while. Some parents thought (and still think) such emotion is too edgy.  They don’t want their children exposed to such things afraid that they might have nightmares.  Meanwhile those kids grow up friendless because all the other kids think they’re pansies with no abilities in life to cope with situations where their metal is tested when up against the shit that life throws at them and who wants to be friends with someone like that?  Pfffft - Not me!!

Spielberg is a big gay nancy
Seriously, who would? Steven Spielburg's a big PC Pansy arse these days. He took all of the guns out of ET and replaced them with Walki-Talki’s for Christ's sake!  Indiana Jones doesn’t fire a shot in his latest movie...where’s the fun in that?  Anyway, there seems to be a bit of a reaction against that kind of thinking (and bad story telling), once again led by Pixar. In Toy Story 3 there’s a great scene toward the end where the characters are seemingly all going to die in a giant trash compactor. 
It’s a real, heartfelt moment in the movie and it’s done so well, you really do believe that they might actually kill these characters. I sat up out of my seat thinking to myself, `well this is new.‘  It wasn’t of course. It was what Walt used to do.  But film makers don’t anymore for fear of offending someone in the audience, like dull, mediocre parents who want to wrap their kids in cotton wool and make them unable to cope with a real crisis’s when they’re an adult. There’s a near death scene in Tangled and I love Disney for it. Rapunzel and the hero, Flynn, are trapped in a cave with the water rising up around them. They’re desperately trying to find a way out and the tension is increasing. This is nothing new in live action movies, you see it all the time. No. It’s the look that passes between them that’s new for an animated movie. It’s a moment of mortality and just for a fleeting second, you believe that these characters are in real danger and it forces you to invest so much more in the characters. Now that’s good story telling.

Go See it on the Big Screen!
Trust me. It’s worth seeing this movie on the big screen. Hell, if I can go by myself, (my date was exhausted after moving house - kisses to her,) and have the ticket girl ask me, `Just yourself?’ in a way that obviously is mean’t to imply I’m some kind of big gay pedophile then you can too.

4.5 out of 5 Stars.