PASS THE POPCORN: ‘Tangled’ marks the return of the princess

by Staff

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By Maggie Pehanick, Entertainment Editor

Remember the days when Disney used to be all about the princess story? When all the girls clamored to get the new Jasmine or Mulan costume for Halloween? Well, many of today’s kids haven’t had that experience, which is why the studio’s “Tangled” might go down as an easy classic for the new generation. With the exception of last year’s “The Princess and the Frog,” Disney has been all about monsters (“Lilo & Stitch”), aliens (“Meet the Robinsons”) and talking dogs (“Bolt”). That is all fine and great, but “Tangled” has the potential to enchant youngsters as well as bring back that nostalgic feeling to parents.

Though Disney is not officially billing “Tangled” as part of its Princess Franchise, the 3-D flick is a retelling of the classic Jacob Ludwig Carl and Wilhelm Carl Grimm’s fairy tale, Rapunzel, which is about, well, a princess. The writers have taken quite a few liberties with the story but the core plot points are still intact.

Stolen from her crib as a newborn “Rapunzel” (voiced by Mandy Moore) lives her days in a tower in the depths of a forest. She has been held hostage there, not kept by force, but by fear. She has been warned by her “mother,” really the evil witch, Gothel, (voiced by Donna Murphy) who is using Rapunzel for her hair’s magic youth-restoring powers, about the treacherous natures of the outside world.

Instead of wasting away in her tower, the lonely teen takes up a number of hobbies, including (but not limited to) baking, mural painting, papier maché and swinging from rafters by her 70 feet of long blond hair.

While she’s keeping busy, Rapunzel secretly longs to leave the tower to explore the lamps that light up the sky on the same night year after year. The light ceremony is a part of the king and queen’s ritual; every year they release thousands of lamps on their lost daughter’s birthday, hoping she will return. Of course, Rapunzel doesn’t know that, and until dirty rotten scoundrel Flynn Ryder (voiced by Zachary Levi) crashes through her window, she would probably never had the chance to find out.

Holding his stolen treasure hostage, Rapunzel forces Flynn to take her on a trek across the kingdom to discover the source of the annual light ceremony. As the duo dodges the clutches of Mother Gothel, they encounter a few curious creatures, such as Maximus, the royal police force horse whose characteristics are more bloodhound-like than equine. In true Disney fashion, they also sing some songs and fall in love.

Rapunzel is feisty and Flynn is aloof, and while both are charming, what is truly heartwarming is the scenery and feel of the film. The lush forests and the cobblestoned kingdom are straight out of Fantasyland. The witch is a perfect villain — scary but not “Harry Potter”-style terrifying. The 3-D isn’t overwhelming and despite the creepiness of the stranger-raising-a-child-in-a-tower concept, it’s a fun, musical romp through old-school Disney territory.

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