Sunday 12 December 2010

Movie Review: Tangled

I had no idea. Just another Disney animation? Wow, this film is an utter delight. I went in expecting... well, I'm not sure what; your usual Disney cartoon fare? Instead, I was greeted by a musical comedy romance which just charmed me to no end. This film would be good for all ages. Parents, don't just drop your kids at the movies; go see this one with them. Heck, even if you don't have kids, go see it.

From the animation which is just incredible to the 3D rendering which is fantastic, from the superb characters populating the story to the beguiling musical numbers, Tangled is nonstop entertainment of the highest calibre. The beauty of the filming and the richness and clarity of the animation in 3D is quite spell-binding. That unto itself is worth the price of admission but it just doesn't stop there. The story, the protagonists and the secondary characters all give the film a wonderful appeal. At times I was laughing out loud; at times, I had a tear in my eye. I was completely taken aback by a film that I expected to give me 6 or 7 out of 10 but delivered 10 out of 10. Where did this one come from?

The film stars the voice of Mandy Moore as Rapunzel and Zachary Levi as Flynn Rider. Our heroine and our hero are great, both as individual characters and as our romantic couple. Their first meeting is quite amusing and without giving any spoiler alerts, I had no idea that a frying pan could turn out to be such an effective weapon. Not knowing anything about the film, I hadn't realized I was walking into a musical until the first number came up. Ms. Moore has an excellent set of pipes and does her numbers justice. I very much had the impression I was listening to music from a Broadway musical and while I wasn't expecting a musical, I found the numbers to be a wonderful addition to the proceedings. The big number in the pub, The Snuggly Duckling in which all the various ne'er-do-wells join our two lead characters in the song "I've Got A Dream" was very captivating; a delight for the eyes and the ears.

This film was released on November 24, 2010 and as of this writing, various sites reporting on films show that Tangled has brought in about $150 million worldwide. Sounds great, but will the film turn a profit? I was stunned to discover that the budget of this film was apparently $260 million making it the second most film ever and the most expensive animation ever. The most expensive film was Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End with a budget of $300 million.

The origin of the film's title is curious. Originally named Rapunzel, Disney took a close look at its last animated feature, The Princess and the Frog. According to various sources, the film was something of a disappointment for the studio. That seems hard to believe as it was both a critical and financial success. However, the story goes that the studio figured that the naming of the film put undo emphasis on an audience of little girls while excluding little boys. As a consequence, the makers decided a more inclusive title would somehow be more attractive to both female and male audience members. Hence, instead of Rapunzel we end up with Tangled. Was the studio correct? Does The Princess and the Frog seem more of a film for the girls and not the boys? Does Tangled work better than Rapunzel? Let's hope so. The budget of The Princess and the Frog was $100 million and that film is listed as having grossed $270 million worldwide. With Tangled's budget reported at $260 million, it is going to have to do a lot more business to keep up with that profit level.

I will not delve into the plot; I don't want to spoil anything but will say it was your standard fairy tale type of fare but the presentation was so good, it turned the standard fare into a feast. I reviewed the film The Tourist saying that my disappointment emphasised for me that good craftsmanship can't make art. Tangled proves that inspiration creates art and the makers were not just inspired, but creative enough to pull it off. I highly recommend the film; I am confident anyone would have a delightful two hours. I know the film has been released in 2D but would recommend that anybody spend the little extra and see it in 3D. The jury and the public may still be out on the question of 3D technology and its worth in the overall scheme of the cinematic experience but here; I found the technology to be unobtrusive and added a little pizzazz to the proceedings.

Rotten Tomatoes pegged this film at 90% and in reading down the critiques; the majority seem to be in agreement. This is excellent entertainment for the whole family.


Rotten Tomatoes: Tangled: 90%
While far from Disney's greatest film, Tangled is a visually stunning, thoroughly entertaining addition to the studio's classic animated canon.

Wikipedia: Tangled
Tangled is a 2010 American computer animated musical fantasy-comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 50th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. It is loosely based on the German fairy tale "Rapunzel" in the collection of folk tales published by the Brothers Grimm. The film features the voices of Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, and Donna Murphy.[4] The film tells the story of a lost princess with long magical hair who yearns to leave her secluded tower. Against her mother's wishes, she enlists the aid of a bandit thief to take her out into the world which she has never seen.

Wikipedia: List of most expensive films
Due to the secretive nature of Hollywood accounting it is not clear which film is the most expensive film ever made. Spider-Man 3 officially holds the record with an acknowledged cost of $258 million, while Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and its sequel Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End were produced together on a combined budget of $450 million, making them the most expensive production. Although the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels shared many costs it is estimated that around $300 million was spent on producing At World's End. More recently there have been reports that Avatar is the most expensive film ever made with speculation that it cost $280 million.

Tangled: $260 million


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