Disney Reviews with the Unshaved Mouse #50: Tangled

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

My housemate Christine is one of those people who only gets around to seeing the movies everyone’s talking about years after the fact.

"Movies cut into nap time."

“Movies cut into nap time.”

This is good for me doing what I do because it means I get a perspective on movies long after the hype has died down from someone who hasn’t been swept up in the groupthink that tends to form around any given movie. Christine finally got off her branch to watch Frozen and Tangled. In that order. And this has led her to formulate what I like to call Christine’s Principle. And the principle is as follows: If you’re going to watch Frozen and Tangled, for God’s sake watch Tangled first because boy howdy does it suffer in comparison. Tangled is not bad. Tangled is in fact quite excellent, but it’s just not Frozen and seeing as they’re both Disney CGI movies featuring blonde princesses, doglike hoofed mammals and some seriously questionable parenting the comparisons are inevitable. And in a way that’s unfair to Tangled because, while it is no question not as good a movie as Frozen, I think there are areas where it is arguably superior.   What areas you ask? Well, the animation for one. I remember watching Tangled in the cinema and seeing that scene where Gothel is being hoisted up to the tower on Rapunzel’s hair. The textures and colours are all just so sumptuous and beautiful and I remember thinking for the first time that if Disney never went back to traditional animation I could live with that. Then of course I banished the thought from my mind and spent a week cloistered away scourging my back as penance. But there’s no denying it, this is a gorgeous, gorgeous film. It’s rumoured to be the most expensive animated film ever made and the second most expensive film of all time, and it looks like it. It also has a pretty killer script and I would say a better supporting cast than Frozen. In fact, now that I think about it, what makes Frozen so frickin’ great?

Oh. Right. The songs that will define a generation.

Oh. Right. The songs that will define a generation.

Tangled was huge when it came out, but it’s definitely been overshadowed by its younger sister in recent years. Is it time for a reappraisal? Let’s take a look. Oh, but let’s address the elephant in the room first. Tangled was originally called Rapunzel, but the name was changed to make it more gender neutral to appeal to boys. This move has caused quite a controversy so let me very quickly give my opinion on this pressing issue.

Don't care

Let’s take a look at the film.



The movie begins with our narrator Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) setting up the backstory like the silver tongued devil he is. Long time ago, a teardrop fell from the sun, and instead of incinerating all life on earth, grew into a golden flower. This flower was discovered by an old woman named Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) who found that by singing a certain song, the flower could turn her young again. How did she know the right words? Why a flower? Look, this whole sequence is pretty much a load of plotholes held together by spit and glitter glue.  To whit; in the local kingdom the Queen is expecting a baby and, naturally enough, seeing as she’s about to become the mother of a Disney princess her health takes an immediate change for the worst. The king realises that what with his wife about to give birth to a Disney princess it’ll take a miracle to save her, which sounds about right. He has his troops search for this magical flower that he’s heard rumours of…somehow, and they steal it right from under Mother Gothel’s nose.

All in the game, yo.

All in the game, yo.

Um, sorry. As I write this I’m on holiday in the wilds of Wexford with Season 1 of The Wire on in the background so there might be some bleed across. Also, I gotta point this out: Flynn chews Mother Gothel out for hoarding the flower for herself and not sharing its powers, but he doesn’t seem to have a problem with the King straight up stealing it and making it into fucking soup so that no one can ever use it again. I know, I know, he probably doesn’t know how to use the flower properly (even though the rest of his intelligence about this supposedly unknown plant has been right on the money so far). Alright, anyway, they didn’t see the flower’s “Do not use while pregnant” warning label because the Queen gives birth to a baby with a head of golden hair worthy of the god of thunder.



Unfortunately, Mother Gothel, not content to just fucking die because she’s not royalty, breaks into the palace to get her shit back. Instead she finds the baby and realises that by holding the baby’s hair and singing the magic song she can recover her youth. Gothel steals the child and hides her away in a tower far away in the middle of the forest where no one can find her and raises her as her daughter. So the movie begins and Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) is now about to turn eighteen. When designing Rapunzel the Disney team had an interesting challenge. The story basically demands that Rapunzel be a beautiful girl with long blonde hair. The trouble is, a beautiful girl with long blonde hair could very easily end up looking like Barbie and everyone hates that dead-eyed skank. I actually love the design for Rapunzel, which is beautiful but also kind of dorky, with freckles, a faint lisp, a button nose and a slight overbite (although I admit I only noticed that last one when I saw the movie in 3d). Rapunzel is paired with Pascal the chameleon, who is just adorable. The two muse about what to do, and Pascal wants to go outside but Rapunzel says that they need to stay in the tower which brings us to the first song When Will My Life Begin?, which shows all the ways that Rapunzel has been killing time in the tower while waiting for something to actually happen. A great Disney movie needs great songs and unfortunately early nineties Alan Menken was unavailable, leaving us with his less talented brother, early 21st century Alan Menken. As an “I want” song, When Will My Life Begin? just doesn’t have the sense of yearning and urgency that you need in a tune like this. It’s pretty, and the lyrics are fine, but whenever I hear this song it sounds to me less like the anthem of a Disney princess and more like the theme music for a Disney Channel sitcom called That’s So Rapunzel!  Meanwhile, Flynn Rider and his colleagues in extra-legal entrepreneurship; the Stabbington Brothers (Ron Perlman), are breaking into the palace to steal Rapunzel’s unused baby tiara…which when I type it out like that is actually a spectacularly horrible thing to do. Flynn was the end result of something called the “hot guy meeting”, where directors Nathan Greno and Matthew Howard got a bunch of female Disney employees together with pictures of guys like Hugh Jackman and Ryan Gosling to cobble together a Frankenstein’s monster of utter hotness.

He does the dishes without asking and his dick is shaped like a Y.

He does the dishes without asking and his dick is shaped like a Y.

They manage to swipe the tiara simply by virtue of the palace not having bothered to beef up security after that whole “heir to the throne kidnapped by one wrinkled old lady” affair.

"Hey sarge? Do you think maybe one of us should actually be looking at the thing were supposed to be guarding?" "Look, I dont care what you learned in your fancy seminar Larry. Round here we do things my way."

“Hey sarge? Do you think maybe one of us should actually be looking at the thing we’re supposed to be guarding?”
“Look, I don’t care what you learned in your fancy seminar, private. Round here we do things my way.”

The three crooks rip and run and flee into the forest where they’re chased by the palace guards. At the tower, Rapunzel is working up the courage to ask Mother Gothel if she can leave the tower to see the floating lights that appear in the sky every night on her birthday. These are actually lanterns that everyone in the kingdom sets alight to guide the lost princess back home. Mother Gothel is a really interesting villain, lacking in power and magical ability but more than making up for it in guile and intelligence. She’s an expert manipulator, which makes sense when you remember that she’s been alive for centuries and has had plenty of time to figure out what makes people tick. In the Princess and the Frog  review I complained that there was no real relationship between Tiana and Facilier. Tangled d0esn’t repeat that mistake, and in fact I’d argue that relationship between Rapunzel and Gothel is one of the most fascinating and difficult to unravel hero/villain dynamics in the whole canon. My wife, who frequents crazier neighbourhoods of the internet than I, has had blazing online rows with people who genuinely claim that Gothel is a good mother who’s just trying to protect her daughter. Now, obviously that’s bullshit, but I will admit that I think that Gothel, in her own twisted way, does love Rapunzel. Or at least, as much as a narcissistic sociopath can love anything or anyone other than themselves. But that’s just it. Gothel loves herself, ergo she loves the flower which keeps her young and beautiful, ergo she loves Rapunzel who keeps her young and beautiful. Her love of Rapunzel is borne out of her own narcissism, but it is real. Later in the movie when Gothel comes back to the tower and finds that Rapunzel is gone her reaction is not the snarling rage you’d expect from a Disney villain in this situation (think Jafar losing the lamp) but sheer, blind panic. In short, exactly the reaction of any parent who’s lost their child. But ultimately, I choose to believe that Gothel loves Rapunzel because it just gives the story so much more thematic weight and real-world resonance. Very few of us are kidnapped from an early age to be raised by a stranger for their own nefarious ends, but all too many of us have a parent who genuinely loves us but is nontheless, you know, emotionally devouring us whole. The exchanges between Rapunzel and Gothel, the passive aggressive controlling, the “joking” belittling comments are all things that many, many children have to deal with (not me, let me just state for the record, Momma Mouse is a diamond). But nonetheless, there is a real tenderness to some of their dialogue (“I love you more.. I love you most.”) that makes me think that Gothel has genuinely deluded herself into thinking that everything she does is for her adopted daughter’s good. And if that good is also Gothel’s good, win-win, right? Alright, so Rapunzel asks if she can leave the tower and Gothel knocks this on the head with Momma Knows Best, a comedic villain song in the vein of Poor Unfortunate Souls. Menken does his best work in the movie with fun little ditties like this and I Have a Dream later on. It’s when he tries reaching for the big emotional beats that he comes a cropper. After scaring Rapunzel shitless with tales of red-toothed bandits, ravenous beasts and various members of the Cheney family, Gothel departs. Meanwhile, Flynn has double crossed the Stabbington Brothers…and there’s a surname to not piss off…and made off with the tiara on his own. He’s pursued by the palace guards, the captain of whom is riding Maximus.

"Stallion to a murdered mare. Father to a murdered foal. And I will have my revenge. In this life, or the next."

“Stallion to a murdered mare. Father to a murdered foal. And I will have my revenge. In this life, or the next.”

Maximus, like Pascal, gets no lines but his various whinnies and grunts are voiced (again, like Pascal) by Frank Welker who has…um…crap…hang on…

Let me just consult "Ye Old Tome of Frank Welker Gags".

Let me just consult “Ye Old Tome of Frank Welker Gags”.

Alright, here’s one: “Frank Welker has voiced more characters than there are freckles on Rupert Grint.” Huh. Well that seems both improbable and needlessly mean to Rupert Grint.

Man, Im starting to scrape the barrel here.

Man, I’m starting to scrape the barrel here.

Anyway, Maximus is my favourite character in this and probably one of my favorite supporting characters in the canon. It’s interesting that Disney already tried the “horse who wants to be a lawman” gag in Home on the Range to miserable effect. It works here though because unlike Buck, Maximus is fucking fantastic at it. This horse is like Judge Dredd with hooves. He gets no lines, but you just know that in his head he refers to Flynn as “Evildoer”. Couple this with some just GODDAMN SUBLIME facial animation and you have one of the all time greats. There’s so many lovely little touches. There’s one bit where Flynn swings on a vine and knocks the captain off Maximus and tries to ride off with him. Maximus stops dead, turns around, and his pupil actually shrinks in rage when he sees that this criminal degenerate has dared to sit on his back.

If looks could kill

Maximus tries to get the satchel back which ends with Flynn and Maximus falling off a cliff…



…and landing deep in the forest. Flynn hides from Maximus and finds himself outside Rapunzel’s tower. He climbs up and immediately gets laid out cold by Rapunzel wielding a frying pan because it’s a breakfast time and she’s serving up some pain. Sunny side up. I’m a writer. Of course in this situation the tricky part is what to do with the body. I’m told. So Rapunzel stashes the unconscious Rider in her closet and finds the tiara in her satchel. Gothel comes back and Rapunzel is about to show her Flynn as proof that she can take care of herself but Gothel goes completely psycho when Rapunzel even broaches the subject of leaving the tower so instead Rapunzel comes up with a plan. She asks Gothel for some new paints from a town that’s three days journey away and Gothel, probably anxious to sweep the whole matter under the rug, agrees. With Gothel gone, Rapunzel takes Flynn out of the closet and ties him to a chair. When he comes to she offers him a deal; if he takes her to Corona (the kingdom, it’s not named in the movie but the Disney wiki’s never steered me wrong yet) and brings her back, she’ll return his satchel with the tiara. Flynn really doesn’t want to return to the scene of the crime and tries desperately to get out of this, even bringing to bear the awesome power of The Smolder.


"Hey girl."

“Hey girl.”

But Rapunzel fails to succumb to this, which to me proves that Elsa is actually the second lesbian Disney princess. Smolder defeated, Flynn reluctantly agrees and Rapunzel finally leaves the tower, singing a reprise of When Will My Life Begin. This time, the song actually comes closer to the epicness it needs but honestly, I’m more inclined to give credit to Mandy Moore’s performance than Menken’s songwriting. Moore is actually very, very strong in this movie, and in this song she really captures Rapunzel’s ecstatic giddiness at finally, finally being free. The stockholm syndrome kicks in pretty quick though, and Rapunzel is soon racked with guilt over lying to Gothel but nonetheless determined to press on. Realising that one good scare will probably be enough to send Rapunzel fleeing back to her tower, Flynn takes her to the Snuggly Duckling, the roughest, most scum-filled dive bar that’s not in Finglas. This backfires on Flynn however, because the local ruffians recognise him from his wanted poster and send for the palace guards.
We got some mo'fuckas snitchin' up in here.

We got some mo’fuckas snitchin’ up in here.

Rapunzel begs the ruffians to let him go, asking them if they’ve never had a dream, which leads us into I Have a Dream, where all the bar patrons sing about their dream.
To be a concert pianist.

To be a concert pianist.

To find true love.

To find true love.

That all men will be judged not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.

That all men will be judged not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.

This is probably the best song in the movie, with Menken again being at his best with the lighter, funnier numbers. The guards arrive but the ruffians have a change of heart and help Flynn and Rapunzel escape through a secret passage. The guards have also brought along the Stabbington brothers, who they arrested earlier. They’re about to leave when Maximus arrives and starts searching for Flynn. In a bit I absolutely love, one of the guards asks what he’s doing and the Captain instantly silences him. It’s like; “Just let the horse work, dammit!” Maximus finds the secret passage and the guards and leave the Stabbington brothers behind with the smallest, least intimidating guard to watch them because these clowns don’t know shit about shit. Rapunzel and Flynn are now getting chased by the guards, Maximus and the twins and get trapped by a dam. There is then a fight scene between Flynn wielding a frying pan and Maximus wielding a sword and it is every bit as batshit insane awesome as it sounds. Rapunzel uses her hair to swing them across a ravine and then Maximus kicks out one of the support struts holding up the dam to get across to them. Let me repeat, he bursts the dam, flooding the entire valley just to get his man.

Horse does not fucking play

Rapunzel and Flynn end up trapped in a cave with the water rising and no light to see a way out. Rapunzel tearfully apologises to Flynn for dragging him into this and he confesses that his name is actually Eugene Fitz-Herbert (hah!). Rapunzel then confesses that she has magic hair that glows when she sings and heeeeeey now…

So Rapunzel sings, the hair glows and by its light they’re able to find a way out of the cave. Meanwhile, Gothel’s discovered that Rpaunzel’s missing and found where she hid the tiara. She tracks them to the Snuggly Duckling and ends up roping the Stabbington Brothers into being her lackeys.

Meanwhile, Rapunzel uses the power of her hair to heal Eugene’s injured hand and he does his best not to freak out about that. Eugene reveals to Rapunzel that he’s actually an orphan and the name Flynn Rider came from a book he used to read to the other kids. Flynn goes off to get firewood and Gothel emerges from the shadows, telling Rapunzel that it’s time to come home. Rapunzel asks her how she found her and Gothel says “I just listened for the sound of complete and utter betrayal and followed that.” Damn, I hope human hair isn’t as flammable as I’ve always heard ‘cos Rapunzel just got burned.

Rapunzel says that she’s not going back and that she’s even met this guy who’s super dreamy but Gothel says that men are only after one thing: Tiaras! She gives Rapunzel the crown, telling her to give it to Rider and see how quickly he abandons her. Part of the reason why I think Gothel at least partially believes her own bullshit about protecting Rapunzel is just how cynical and jaded she is about the rest of humanity. She’s gambling a whole lot on Rider just abandoning Rapunzel as soon as he has what he wants, and she’s not the kind of woman who takes unnecessary risks. When Gothel tells Rapunzel that world is full of evil, selfish people, she sounds like someone who knows what she’s talking about. We never find out what Gothel’s life was like before she found the flower, but I’m guessing it was not a fun time. Anyway, Gothel leaves and Eugene comes back. Rapunzel decides not to show him the tiara and the two go to sleep.

 Rider wakes up to find himself face to face with his own personal equine Javert.

"Now Flynn, at last! We see each other plain."

“Now Flynn, at last! We see each other plain.”

Maximus tries to drag Flynn off to the clink but Rapunzel intervenes and convinces Maximus to let Flynn go free for the day because she needs him and it’s her birthday. Maximus, realising that only the worst kind of louse refuses to do something for someone on their birthday agrees. On an unrelated topic, Unshaved Mouse started two years ago and I really would appreciate if you could vote for me for Best Blog Post, cheers. Rapunzel thinks Maxmimus is a sweetheart which upsets Flynn who blurts out “Oh c’mon, he’s a bad horse!”

No, THIS is a bad horse:

Alright so the four finally arrive in Corona. Apparently the animators modeled Rapunzel’s reactions to arriving in the kingdom to that of little girls arriving in Disneyland for the first time. It’s a really sweet scene with Rapunzel finally getting to let her hair down (metaphorically, she actually has to tie her hair up to stop all the geese walking on it). That night, the whole kingdom gets ready to light the lanterns and release them into the night sky and Rapunzel and Flynn row out into the lake to get a good view.

We now get a scene that many of you rightfully took me to task over for leaving off my list of the Most Tear-Jerking Disney Moments.

OnionsJust such a beautiful little wordless scene. Every expression, every motion, just perfectly serving the scene. This, I think, was something that Disney learned from Pixar, this trick of using silences and stillness to bring out an emotion instead of dialogue and music. There is music in the scene, but it’s very much in the background unlike, say, the Baby Mine sequence in Dumbo where the song is almost the source of the emotion.

Anyway, the lanterns are sent out and Rapunzel and Flynn watch while the song I See the Light plays. This is a song where Rapunzel and Flynn realise that they love each other. It’s not terrible but…dammit it’s no Am I Feeling Love!

 Rapunzel finally trusts Flynn enough to give him back the crown. He sees the Stabbington Brothers on the shoreline and tells Rapunzel that he just needs to take the crown and go do something really quick, kay? She’s clearly a little nervous that he’s going to abandon her but trusts him enough not to say anything. Flynn approaches the twins and gives them the crown to smooth over any hard feelings but they tell him that they’ve heard that he’s got something far more valuable. Rapunzel looks up to see the twins looming over her and they tell her that Flynn took the crown and vamoosed. She refuses to believe them and they show her Flynn, on a boat in the distance, seemingly halfway on his way to Mexico. Rapunzel runs and is rescued from the goons by Mother Gothel. Rapunzel tells Gothel that she was right about everything and Gothel takes her back to the tower.

But, in a shocking twist, Flynn was actually knocked unconscious and tied to the ship. The palace guards find him, with the crown still on him and throw him in the dungeon. Maximus sees this and goes to get help. The next morning, the guards arrive to take Flynn to be hanged for his crime and whoa, whoah, whoah, whoah…

You mean to tell me that the penalty for stealing a crown which you later returned is death?! And he doesn’t even get a trial?! Jesus, nice despotic tyranny Rapunzel’s Dad is running here!

Aw, I can't stad mad at you.

Aw, I can’t stad mad at you.

Back at the tower, Rapunzel is heartbroken and Gothel reminds her that life sucks, has always, will always. But then Rapunzel looks up at a mural she painted on the ceiling and realises that she’s subconciously painted the royal emblem of Corona into all her paintings.

Thus explaining why she's always thirsty.

Thus explaining why she’s always thirsty.

 This triggers a flood of repressed memories in Rapunzel’s mind and she remembers everything.

Tyler Durden 4Tyler Durden 2Tyler Durden 3


"My God. I was Tyler Durden the whole time."

“My God. I was Tyler Durden the whole time.”

Gothel calls up to Rapunzel’s room to make sure she’s not having any dramatic story-altering revelations and Rapunzel angrily proclaims “I am the lost Princess, aren’t I?!” and Gothel’s all “Whaaaaaaaa…”

"Did I mumble, bitch?"

“Did I mumble, bitch?”

Rapunzel tells Gothel that she’s cutting off all magic hair privileges and Gothel darkly says “You want me to be the bad guy? Fine, now I’m the bad guy.” and aw crap, then who was the bad guy before now? That’s going to mess up the scoring.

The ruffians from the Snuggly Duckling stage a jail break and get Flynn’s head out of the noose and he rides Maximus as fast as he can back to the tower. He gives the famous “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair line” and climbs up only to get knifed by Gothel while a bound and gagged Rapunzel looks on in horror. Gothel leaves Flynn to bleed out on the floor and drags Rapunzel in chains like a fucking mule through the trapdoor. But Rapunzel tells Gothel that if she’s allowed to heal Flynn, she’ll go quietly. Otherwise, she’ll fight and perpetually spite and abuse Gothel for the rest of her life.

"You...mean. You mean youll act like a regular teenage girl? NO! ANYTHING BUT THAT!"

“You…mean. You mean you’ll act like a regular teenage girl? NO! ANYTHING BUT THAT!”

Gothel wisely takes the deal.

Flynn begs Rapunzel not to throw away her freedom for him but she tells him that she can’t let him die and, in case I haven’t made this clear already, Levi and Moore both sell the hell out of the bond between these two. It is genuinely affecting. Rapunzel starts to sing but Flynn uses a shard of broken mirror to cut her hair, turning it brown and short.

And saving her, what? Two hundred at a hair salon?

And saving her, what? Two hundred at a hair salon?

With the power of the hair gone, Gothel instantly starts ageing and (with a little help from Pascal) trips and plummets to her death. And if you’re about to point out in the comments that it’s not actually the fall that kills her because she’s already turned to dust before she hits the ground? Congratulations. I was testing you. You passed.

Flynn dies in Rapunzel’s arms and as she cries her tears fall on his face and magically bring him back to life.

Maybe she has something in her eyes. Like a big honkin Deus Ex Machina.

Maybe she has something in her eyes. Like a big honkin’ Deus Ex Machina.


Alright, see here’s the thing. As has been pointed out to me, Rapunzel’s tears having healing properties is actually present in the original fairy tale, and really, it’s no bigger a Deus ex Machina than the Prince bringing Snow White back to life with a kiss. Rapunzel’s different from Snow White though. Everyone knows the story of Snow White but people don’t really know the story of Rapunzel. I mean, they know that there’s a tower and a girl with long blonde hair but most people don’t know the actual story beats. People expect the Prince to kiss Snow White at the end of the movie, it’s so engrained in popular culture that people don’t even think of it as a Deus Ex Machina (even though it totally is). But honestly, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find this very unsatisfying and not just because the whole “Oh he’s dead oh wait he’s not yay!” ritual is one of my pet hates.

Alright, well anyway, Rapunzel comes home and is reunited with her birth parents and Flynn narrates the wrap up. Maximus becomes the captain of the palace guards and we are told that “crime disappeared almost overnight”. This is supposed to make us feel good, but personally I’ve always thought “crime disappeared overnight” to be one of the most ominous phrases in the English language. Rapunzel and Flynn get married and everyone lives happily ever after.

"You happy now, bitch?"

“You happy now, bitch?”


Tangled was originally going to be a traditionally animated feature, part of a proposed glorious return for the form at the Disney studio. Instead, it ended up being the movie that killed the newborn drive for cel-animation in its crib. The movie was a massive success, one of the biggest grossing movies of 2010 and ended up being the fifth most profitable canon movie of all time. Tangled continues the Redemption Era tradition of building on and improving the studio’s legacy (as opposed to the Lost Era’s attempts to break from it entirely). In a traditional retelling of this story, Rapunzel would probably be one of the most passive of all the Disney princesses. Instead, she’s one of the most active, swinging, running, fighting, planning, always moving forward, always dynamic, and she’s a great addition to the ranks of the Disney princesses. No, it’s not as good as Frozen, but viewed on its own terms it’s still a definite must watch.


Animation: 19/20

Perhaps comes closer to capturing the beauty, lushness and grace of traditional Disney cel-animation than any other CGI movie. Glen Keane said that the goal of this film was to get the computer to “bend its knee to the artist” and I think they succeeded.

Leads:  18/20

A really strong Disney couple, sweet and funny. The kind of couple you’d want to invite to your coronation.

Villain: 17/20

 Maybe lacking in the style and panache to put her in the ranks of the truly great Disney villains, but Mother Gothel is a fascinating character.

Supporting Characters: 19/20

Maximus could be the greatest supporting character in the whole canon. Pascal is close behind.

Music: 14/20

 Songs range from bland to blandly good.


NEXT REVIEW: 28 August 2014

NEXT TIME: We stick with the canon to review what may prove to be the last traditionally animated Disney canon classic. Bring your hankies. Winnie the Pooh is next. 

Neil Sharpson aka The Unshaved Mouse is a playwright, blogger and comic book writer living in Dublin. The blog updates with a new animated movie review every second Thursday. He’s also serialising his novel The Hangman’s Daughter with a new chapter every Saturda. Like Unshaved Mouse? Let the good people at the Blog Awards Ireland know what’s what by voting for me HERE.


  1. Good review, Mouse! But, um…. uh…… I hope you realize that by saying that Tangled is not as good as Frozen, you may have brought the comment war intended for the Frozen review much quicker. Now there will be many comments from the anti-Frozen people (and I know there are a lot) quick to rush to Tangled’s defense and continue their campaign to take Frozen down as much as possible. And when your Frozen review does go up, there will be much more of that. I just want you to realize what you MAY (repeat, may) have done. I hope you’re ready for it (if now now, then later).

    As for Tangled itself, I liked it, but I didn’t quite get the Disney feel/magic from it like I do from most other Disney movies. Sort of like the people who say they missed the Pixar magic from Cars that they say was present in their previous movies. Mother Gothel was alright, but to me she wasn’t quite as interesting nor did she have the same commanding presence that other Disney villains had. I’d watch it again, but not as much as some of their other movies.

    By the way, I posted a comment in your last post “Irreplaceable”. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the question I had, if it’s not too much to ask. Thanks.

    1. Yeah, I do think that I took the first shot against Frozen, so we are in the calm before the storm XP.

      I think that there is a bit of an issue with the recent villains in the canon (Hans, the one in Wreck it Ralph, and I forgot his name at the moment, and Mother Gothel). There is just……something that is holding them back. I do not know if it is the story, or really the characters themselves, but it is a bit disappointing.

    2. To UnshavedMouse about my last comment concerning “Irreplaceable”: Never mind. It’s disappeared. Not too big a deal I guess.

      1. Hey, if you get any precious gems the size of tangerines while you watch, pass them to a girl in need. Ok?

  2. I said before that this movie feels artificial to me. The first two acts of this movie go more for the comedy, even in scenes where it should be more dramatic. It is around the Mother Knows Best reprise that this movie takes a darker tone. The shift is off-putting. It is almost like the film makers wanted to make a straight up comedy, but they also wanted the heartbreak from the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, or Aladdin. I’ll gladly watch it, but it does not invoke the same passion I have for other movies in the canon.
    Also, the music really does disappoint. It sounds like Menken was either not interested in the project, or he was held back by something.

      1. Actually, there is this theory I have about this “redemption” era. We know that the old formula was not working anymore. That is why we got the lost period. Disney must have realized that they needed the formula, but they needed to update it. Princess and the Frog modernizes the story in a very literal sense. The filmmakers put it in 1920s New Orleans, the last place you would think of for a princess movie. That didn’t work, so they had to modernize it in the different way. What is a big hit with modern audiences? Dreamworks. They decided to use their formula (lots of humor, quirky characters, a more light tone, pop music, etc.) for Tangled. That did a lot better, but they weren’t getting the numbers they needed. For the latest attempt, somebody thought, “why don’t we keep everything else the same as the Renaissance, but we modernize the story?” Next thing you know, everybody is singing “Let it go” like there is no tomorrow.
        But hey, it’s just a theory: a Disney theory.

      2. That could very well be the case, but we need to remember that Tangled was in production YEARS before Princess and the Frog was even a thought, but ti does say a lot that even in the earliest drafts, they were going to make it a lot more DreamWorksy as well.

    1. I watched this movie again last night to see if it is as good as the Frozen haters say it is. The film gets better with each viewing, but I cannot find myself loving it wholeheartedly. People should not say that Tangled has the better plot. I think what they mean is that it is more evenly paced than Frozen. The plots are actually very similar:
      -a supernatural power causes a princess to be locked away (healing hair, ice powers)
      -she leaves home to find the thing she wants the most (Rapunzel wants to see the lanterns, Anna wants to fix her relationship with Elsa)
      -funny cast of characters show up
      -returns home and is betrayed by someone she “loves” (Mother Gothel, Hans)
      -somebody dies but is brought back to life (Eugene, Anna)
      I think the comparisons are pointless. Both are good movies. If one does something for you that the other doesn’t, why do we even need this argument?

  3. Hmmm, interesting and good review, one I disagree with you on, but I think it all comes down to a matter of taste. I personally feel that Tangled is the better movie over Frozen. My reaction to seeing Tangled was something along the lines of…

    “Wow! I didn’t know Disney could make movies that good anymore!”

    My reaction to Frozen was…

    “Yeah, it’s pretty good.”

    For me, Tangled has the better script; taking the basic storyline from the fairytale and doing what Disney does best and adapting it to fit a modern audience, giving us more depth and enjoyment out of it. Tangled also has better characters in my opinion. Flynn is probably the best male lead Disney has had since Aladdin and Rapunzel is just amazing as you’ve described. Plus Maximus may very well be the best horse in cinematic history. I’ve always contended that if this movie had come out right after Lion King it would have been considered right up there with the classics of the Renaissance.

    All of that said… Frozen deserves every bit of praise it’s earned and I think it falls into the category of movie that you described in your “Akira” review. A movie that is more than the sum of its parts because of the way it moves the culture, because at least one or more of its elements is so powerful, it elevates the entire work.

    With Frozen that’s “Let it Go” and as much as I love Tangled, it just doesn’t have that game changing scene where sight, sound, and emotion rocket the movie to the heights of pop culture.

    My other disagreement is the idea that people don’t know the story of Rapunzel well enough to know about the Tear Ex Machina. You’re right that everyone knows the story of Snow White backwards and forwards, but I’d say the reason that everyone knows that story so well is because of a little movie that came out in 1937 by an indie director named Walt Disney. Before that movie came out I’m willing to bet that people probably knew as much about Snow White as they did Rapunzel.

    So the question then becomes, had Walt Disney adapted Rapunzel in 1937 and his company adapted Snow White in 2010… wouldn’t you be complaining about the Kiss Ex Machina and how people already know about Rapunzel’s tear?

    And granted, they’re both cop out gimmicks to get a character out of the Dead Zone. But here’s the thing about the way it was done in Tangled. When I saw this for the first time, Zack Levi and Mandy Moore sold that performance so well that when Flynn died, I honestly wondered what would happen. I mean, I *knew* Flynn would come back to life because in a Disney film, unless you’re the villain, dying is mostly just getting sent to the penalty box. But the scene was done so well that I completely forgot about Rapunzel’s tear from the original fairy tale so when it *did* happen my thought was to say “duh” at myself for forgetting that Rapunzel’s tears heal. With the way the scene was done and the way Rapunzel’s powers were explained, at that point it didn’t fee like a *complete* ass-pull. Even if it pretty much was.

    I think down the line, Tangled is basically going to be the “Batman Begins” to Frozen’s “The Dark Knight” Both are fantastic films, but The Dark Knight will always overshadow Batman Begins, Because it’s The Dark Knight. But people forget that Begins is the one that essentially made it okay for people to like Batman again after he had been away so long and disappointed so many with previous movies.

    Not sure if that made sense.

    I think I’ll shut up now. Good review Mouse. I need to make sure to watch Wreck it Ralph before you come out with your review so I can complain about that one properly too 😉

    1. I think the Batman Begins/Dark Knight analogy is a good one. Tangled was a really fun movie with a GREAT supporting cast of non-verbal characters. I wish more movies would have characters like Maximus and Pascal. Really, I think Tangled and Frozen are pretty much on equal ground in everything but the songs, which Frozen does much better on.

      A little Easter Egg about Tangled that I’ve always liked is that one of the books on Rapunzel’s bookshelf is a Geology book. I’m the sort of weirdo who’s first thought when seeing the beautiful shot of Rapunzel’s tower is “Oh my gosh, look at those beautiful granite cliffs!” Pixar and later Disney CGI movies have always impressed me with their realistic landscapes and geomorphology. I’m such an earth-science nerd 😀

      Really looking forward to Winnie the Pooh, it’s undoubtedly one of the most under-rated movies of all time.

      1. i think tangled is better in storyline. the pacing in frozen was really bad, too much padding, very rushed and way to much time jumps and potholes. like how the fuck did elsa used to defrost the ice when they were little. also the romantic chemistry between anna and kristoff was severely lacking. i really hope the mouse mentions this in his review

      2. ^^^^^I don’t think that Elsa knew how to defrost ice when she was little. She was only little and her powers grew stronger over time. Maybe it just melted.

      1. “The Dark Knight Rises” will be the next Princess movie I suppose. So who knows when that will happen… as far as I know they’re not planning on doing another one for a good while.

        Something I actually approve of. A Princess movie should be an event. That doesn’t happen if one comes out every other year. Still, it would be nice to see that they were at least planning for one in the semi-near future.

        And Rises is a good movie. The Dark Knight will always be the best one but Rises earns points for me because it did what no other Superhero movie has ever done in the history of superhero franchises. It gave a definitive end to the story. All other superhero franchises (and most franchises in general) just keep churning out sequels until the public gets sick of them (Original Batman Franchise can attest to that). Rises gives us actual closure to Bruce Wayne’s story. Now that’s an impressive feat for a superhero movie.

      2. Well, if my info is up to date, the next Princess movie, “Moana”, will be based on Polynesian mythology and be directed by Musker & Clements. I’m really looking forward to it, but then again I was really hyped for The Dark Knight Rises, so I suppose we’ll find out in four years.

    2. I have a feeling that this will be the first time people will be complaining that I was too hard on a movie with a score in the high eighties. You’retotally right about Snow White, Disney could get away with it in the forties because it was the first movie of its kind and the rules weren’t yet set in stone.

      1. Nah, you weren’t too hard on this movie at all. You gave credit where it was due. Apparently Tangled defenders (myself included)are a little overzealous in stepping up the plate for it.

        And I know you weren’t looking for it but that does remind me that I didn’t actually really say much in my own comments on your review that I really did like it. The Javert bit and the “Did I mumble bitch” actually had me laughing out loud. Also any of your commentary on Maximus was gold. But that horse wins at everything, including the internet.

        Interesting question though. If you have a pet peeve against Deus Ex Machina’s that bring the dead back… did you have a problem with Anna’s return to life in Frozen? I really don’t see much of a difference in terms of believability between that one and the one in Tangled. Or maybe I can just wait for your review and just see. At any rate, thanks for posting this review Mouse.

  4. Personally for me the moment I started to like this film was near the beginning where they showed us the tower for the first time, hidden between mountains, waterfalls and trees. I remember going: “Yes, that’s Disney. God, it’s beautiful.”
    This is also refreshingly timeless movie. It is an updated take on the old Disney formula, but I can easily see myself watching this decades from now and still being satisfied. Not sure if I’m going to get that with Wreck-It Ralph, for example, once I’ve forgotten all the games it’s referencing.
    And I’m sorry, Mouse, but I have to disagree with you. It’s not okay that this movie is called Tangled instead of Rapunzel. Disney has actively been trying to update its image when it comes to female stereotypes and then they pull idiocy such as this from their backsides. Names matter. They’re part of tradition, of identity, of image. It’s repulsive that this, their 50th movie, broke the great tradition of naming their movies after things that actually mattered. Even movies that didn’t have a name as their… well, name, at least referenced an important plot point with a noun. The Jungle Book, The Black Cauldron.
    It also annoys me personally that the Finnish translators had a chance to fix this error, but instead they went the exact opposite direction and named this film Kaksin karkuteillä (“Two on the Run”), which is even less descriptive, if that’s even possible.
    And with Frozen they didn’t even try to translate it and instead went with the time-honored lazy trick of adding something ” catchy” to the original title. And thus it became Frozen – huurteinen seikkailu (“Frozen – A Frosty Adventure”), which at least is unintentionally hilarious, because huurteinen can also refer to a pint of cold beer in Finnish.
    Nevertheless, I like Tangled. I agree that it’s not as good as Frozen, but it doesn’t lose by much. Personally I like Frozen better because of the songs and because I found Flynn to be slightly annoying. Not sure what’s bothering me with him. Perhaps the over-swaggering ladies man routine. Never been a fan of that.

    1. Though it just occurred to me that Home on the Range is not exactly in accordance with the tradition either so that just might be the first true tradition breaker. As if it wasn’t a bad movie already.

    2. “And thus it became Frozen – huurteinen seikkailu (“Frozen – A Frosty Adventure”)”
      If it makes you feel better, they did the EXACT SAME THING in my region for some stupid reason (“Frozen” became “Frozen – Una Aventura Congelada”, which means “Frozen – A…Frozen Adventure” WOW GREAT NAME GUYS]), even though it could have easily been called “Congelados” (…Frozen), to follow Tangled’s (“Enredados”) and Brave’s (“Valiente”, I guess “Brava” sounded kinda silly…) naming tradition.
      It’s simply mindblowing! They manage to translate an untranslatable title (Wreck-it Ralph -> Ralph el Demoledor), but apparently translating “Frozen” was too hard…
      Anyway, get ready for “Big Hero 6 – Supersankari seikkailu” and “Giants – Valtava Seikkailu”. They may or may not leave Moana’s title as it is.

  5. I’m just going to flat out say it: Frozen has two really really good songs (Let it Go and Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?), several meh ones, and one really, REALLY, terrible one (Fixer Upper, which may be my least favorite song in the whole canon). Placing Frozen above Tangled because of the music is to me a questionable decision at best, especially given that I think I’ve Got a Dream is arguably the best Disney song since the Renaissance. I like both movies, when I first saw Frozen I thought it was better than Tangled, but I’ve seen it twice since then and I think I have to defer to Tangled.

    On the note of things you left off the Tear Jerking moments list, I would personally have voted for the “Goodbye May Seem Forever” scene in The Fox and the Hound. I know you don’t really care for that movie but goddamit that scene makes me well up with tears every single time.

    Disney may have learned how to effectively use silence and stillness from PIxar, but Pixar learned it from Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT EXIST ANYMORE AND OH GOD THIS IS SO DEPRESSING I CAN’T TAKE IT WHY ARE YOU LEAVING US GHIBLI WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY????????????????

    So yeah, I’m a big fan of Tangled. Great leads, excellent supporting characters, phenomenal animation, solid songs overall, and a ton of fun.

      1. Not even that “song” (if you can even call it that) caused in me a “please don’t sing!!!!!” reaction. No Disney Song ever did that, not even the worst ones. “Fixer upper” is just grating from start to finish. It doesn’t fit in the scene. It undermines the message of the movie. It makes the trolls very unlikable character – oh, you have a fiancé? Never mind, we can fix that….keep in mind that the trolls don’t know anything about Hans. He might be a nice chap, but they just want to get rid of them because THEY have decided that Anna is supposed to marry the guy they choose for her…I mean consent? What for! They know better than this silly girl, who is slowly dying while they forcible try to marry her off.

      2. They are freaking idiots! And mainly responsible for Elsa’s shitty childhood! I mean, the king even tells the trolls what they intend to do, but does the troll say: “Nope, that’s a bad idea, you totally didn’t get what I mean?” No, he just allows them to do everything wrong from the get go, thus causing the later situation.

      3. @swanpride
        Didn’t they technically find out that Anna had a fiancé in the MIDDLE of the song? Totally agreed the song is out of place, though.

      4. @swanpride
        This is a common misconception that I’ve seen written various times, but the movie never actually stated that Elsa was locked up in her room and not allowed out. The King only said that he was limiting her contact with people- hence reducing the staff- and keeping her powers hidden from everyone, but he did not say that they are going to keep Elsa locked away in her room.

        During the song “Do You want to Build A Snowman?” we see Elsa outside of her room several times. We see her saying goodbye to her parents in the hall, receiving gloves from the King, and returning to her bedroom right before the song starts. This shows she was definitely allowed to leave her room. Now Elsa did spend a lot of time in her room but this is only because she was choosing to stay there due to her fear of hurting Anna again, and eventually others.

        Also even when Anna is telling Kristoff about the Coronation incident and says “See, I always knew she wore the gloves but I thought she had a thing about dirt!” That implies she say her around the castle but they never talked in private and saw each other at meals and royal functions inside the castle. Parent’s number one job is to protect their children or in this case daughter from harm which Grand Pabbie said that it could be from the towns people, so limit here contact with the citizens and reduce the staff.

      5. I admit I may just be blinded by nostalgia here but I don’t hate Elimination (Lack of Education)

    1. Best Disney songs is Wonderful things about Tiggers.
      Best golden age song- “When I’ve seen an Elephant fly. Worst- What made the red man Red (and I normally love controversial songs like that.)
      Dark age. Best-stated above. Worst- Everything in Robin Hood.
      Renaissance. Best- Hakuna Matata beating out “Make a man out of you.” “One last Hope” comes to mind as well. Worst- Poor Unfortunate Souls (the only song I completely forgot existed.)
      Millenial, best- The montage in Bolt about learning to be a dog. Worst- the one in Brother Bear when main character told Koda about his mother.
      Redemption, best- Love is an Open Door, worst-First Time in Forever.
      I love spreading my opinions which are different from everyone else’s opinions. PErsonally I love Fixer Upper, as the facial expressions are hilarious. It reminded me of Let’s Make Music Together.

      1. You’re like my polar opposite :/

        I love poor unfortunate souls (she cant sing at all but makes up for being hilarious). Can’t stand Hakuna Matata (I’ve not a big fan of comedy sidekicks apart from Sebastian).

        And First Time in Forever is probably my second fave song in frozen (under let it go obviously). While Love in an Open Door is my second least favourite (with Reindeers are Better than People beneath it) :/

  6. I really like Tangled, but I don’t care much for Rapunzel’s character. For a person who was in isolation her whole life, she came out…okay. I mean, she’s not a bad character on any stretch, but she was convinced that people are evil by Mother Gothel, but she’s able to take out a thief, dances and songs with thugs, and opens up to a lot of people in the “Kingdom Dance” sequence. My point is that a person in isolation and mentally abused, wouldn’t really do any of that. The isolation was kind of shoved aside to me and I find Rapunzel kinda poorly written. For what it is, at least her relationship between Flynn Rider/Eugene is developed, but Rapunzel’s not a favorite of mine.

    1. So you are saying Rapunzel is a Mary Sue. I agree with your issues on her as well. At least with Quasimodo, you SEE how he is affected by it, and how it gave him some flaws.

      1. “I agree with your issues on her as well. At least with Quasimodo, you SEE how he is affected by it, and how it gave him some flaws.”

        ^ THIS

    2. I may be treading on a minefield here, but although the movie doesn’t make it explicit, isn’t it reasonable to assume Rapunzel might have learned something about human interaction through her reading?

      1. True, but when she first arrived at the kingdom, she opened to to people to dance with them, which doesn’t really show her isolation because she was convinced that people are EVIL.

    3. But she isn’t….she is first terrified of everything, and what she does with the thugs is mostly the result of desperation. If Eugene gets taken from her, she is suddenly alone in a world she knows nothing about, so she fights with what she has – which are basically words. As long as Rapunzel has positive experiences in the “outside world” everything is okay, but the moment something goes really wrong, she is half back in her tower. You can see again and again how she struggles with her own fears.

      1. Well, yeah. I don’t blame Rapunzel for hitting the thugs for taking Flynn Rider/Eugene and she was initially afraid of the thugs. But the thing is that she had a (false) image of how people acted thanks to Mother Gothel. Her mind should be filled with the fact that “all people are bad” because that’s what she was raised to believe for 18 years. But it kind of gets pushed aside, because she immediately joins the thugs and pulls people to dance despite being told people are EVIL and to stay away from them as possible. Rapunzel also knew how the world worked and how to interact with people despite Mother Gothel being her only company.

        Compare to Quasimodo. He was mentally abused by Frollo, but doesn’t walk right up to people and join them in a large dance number. He also speaks in a timid voice, and has a “blank slate” on people. For instance, he thought that Esmeralda loved him from the get-go.

      2. Neither does Rapunzel…she is first timid too, and only gets in the spirit during the dance number…just like Quasimodo, who is very happy to let himself celebrate, until the people realizes that he doesn’t wear a mask. I really see no difference between those two scene (aside from Rapunzel singing a couple of lines and Quasimodo doesn’t, but he certainly is not above joining when he feels that he is accepted).

      3. The difference is that Quasimodo can at least SEE how the people act from the Cathedral, so he had an idea as to how crowds of people would act. Rapunzel only had Mother Gothel around, but meets them like any normal girl. But her isolation isn’t something that really affected seeing the floating lanterns and bonding with Eugene. If we replaced her with a girl that was not mentally abused at all, the film would basically be the same, to me.

      4. Yeah, and because Rapunzel doesn’t see it makes sense that she would tell a thug something as naïve as “find your humanity” and in general just tries to go with the crowd. She is, after all, established to be a very smart and very strong-willed character, whose spirit couldn’t be totally broken, no matter how much Gothel tried.

      5. I don’t recall that description of Rapunzel being established. I’ll grant that she is smart to know how to track stars and she reads books, but she DID let her spirits down when Mother Gothel yelled at her “You are never leaving this tower! EVER!” as she was trying to show her Flynn Rider/Eugene.

  7. Hey! Long-time lurker (and by long-time I mean two weeks), first-time commenter.
    I’ve been enjoying your series of reviews so far – so much so that you’ve finally convinced me to go ahead and watch the entire Canon for myself (I’ve only seen a few movies in their entirety so far). In fact, I just finished Snow White this afternoon.
    It’ll be a while before I get to this one, but I think it’ll be worth it.
    Incidentally, are you still accepting donations to review stuff?

  8. I am loving your self promotion Mouse. Oh, and cheers to a happy 2 year anniversary, which is an accomplishment because a lot of blogs do not even make it to 2 years.

    Well, I think that this film is A LOT better than Frozen (which is on PatF level), but overall, I do agree with you. I do think that Rapunzel IS pretty much a Mary Sue (please tell me how she is not. She pretty much has all of the Mary Sue attributes), but kind of a complex character. Never been one of my favourites. Flynn is……….funny, and developed, but he comes off as a bootleg rehash of Aladdin, but like a decade older.

    The plot is actually pretty damn good. It knows where it is going, it makes the characters learn something, and it gives off a complexity to the situation that is not contrived (which is the issue in Frozen). I never noticed how the intro scene could be taken as a bunch of plotholes.

    I do think the songs are bland, and the only ones I like are Mother Knows Best and the Reprise. I See The Light is decent enough……..I guess. I`ve Got A Dream is COMPLETELY pointless since the men are minor characters at best, and we already know Rapunzel and Flynn`s dreams. The animation is truly brilliant though.

    Overall, I do see this as the start of the Restoration/Revival era, and it has been forgotten since Frozen arrived. I barely hear people speak about this film anymore, which is sad because it is overshadowed by lackluster at best films, and it REALLY helped WDAS.

    1. I don’t see Tangled as being forgotten. The Frozen obsession will die down…after maybe five years of merchandise, but still, it has a fanbase of its own.

      1. Tangled does have a fanbase (every movie in the canon does……..but home on the Range), but it is being as talked about as Princess and the Frog. Look at The Lion King, and it is still being praise over the other Renaissance films 20 years later.

      1. Everybody likes her with no issue, and she has perfect social interactions (though she was isolated for her entire life); even Mother Gothel does not dislike her, is extremely skilled at almost everything, and everything goes her way. Just think about it.

        Flynn is definitely shoehorned in more than other deuteragonists, and Maximus does get a lot of time, but he says nothing, so there is only so much he could do.

      2. Hang on, hang on. What do you count as ‘all the Mary Sue attributes’? Being pretty and likable and able to sing is pretty much standard for a Disney princess (and I’d add reasonable intelligence and dynamism to that list, considering she’s a modern one).
        What about these?
        – Being honestly loved/ WORSHIPPED by everyone – not the case with Rapunzel. Flynn doesn’t like her initially (because she impedes his goals) and Mother Gothel doesn’t love her as a person (more as a tool).
        – Being liked by everyone despite having a foul personality – not the case.
        – Being angsty and moody all the time – not the case.
        – Being very skilled/hailed as a natural despite not putting much practice into those skills – not the case; most of her skills are the result of a lot of practice.
        – And the main one: having no flaws/no flaws that affect the plot – not the case. I’d argue that Rapunzel has pretty poor character judgement, is totally naive and frequently trusts the wrong person/people.

        I’ll admit she’s the only magical character in a typically non-magical universe, but she pretty much loses her powers by the end.

  9. I think Tangled is a pretty good film, especially seeing Frozen first, I think it is a bit underrated by Disney fans, it has a likable cast, an interesting story, and is very fun to watch, that being said, the songs really are the disappointing factor, as like you said, they’re more blandly good, as opposed to being, “Wow, I MUST HAVE THIS ON MY IPOD!” and yeah I Have a Dream really is the stand out song. There are a couple of issues I have, and yes, the tear thing was kind of annoying to me and the fact that I feel like Rapunzel is a bit of a Mary Sue, She’s not a boring Mary Sue, she’s fun, likable, and I enjoy her, but the mistakes she purposely ends up making kind of end up being for the better, I certainly can’t say the same for Anna, but we’ll save that for the Frozen review.

  10. My mum’s reactions to this movie:
    (enters the room around ‘When Will My Life Begin?’)
    “Ugh. What’s wrong with their eyes? They look like aliens.”
    (Maximus appears)
    “Why is the horse acting like a dog?”
    (at the first appearance of the frying pan joke)
    “I hope they have hospitals in this magical kingdom, because he’s got a serious concussion.”
    (at the Snuggly Duckling, when the mime appears)
    *snort* What? That was funny. I can’t not laugh at a mime!”
    (by the end of the movie)
    *crying with laughter, totally won over*

    This is one of my favourites in the canon. And while I also like Frozen, Tangled trumps it for me. Why?
    – It uses elements of the original fairytale without being a slave to them. (Frozen resembles the Snow Queen about as much as modern English resembles Sumerian cuneiform.)
    – The story is less convoluted – while there are surprises, the plot maintains a pretty clear trajectory.
    – Overall, I think the characters are a bit more solid. I’m not comparing the heroines, but in terms of the male lead, the animal sidekicks, the comic relief and the villain, Tangled did it better.
    – I just really like Rapunzel a lot. She’s dorky and artistic, like me, so that’s probably a big part of it.
    – The comedy works better, at least for me.
    – So. Damn. Pretty. The landscapes, the dancing scene, the lanterns, the paintings… mmph.

    Frozen is great. Frozen is groundbreaking and has wonderful songs and a nice twist on a lot of the old tropes. But Tangled wins for me, hands down. Bound up in that, too, is the fact that I’ve always watched it with my family, whereas when Frozen came out I was dragging my brother (nine when Tangled came out, twelve when Frozen did) to a little run-down local cinema to see it and he wasn’t really on board.

    And I didn’t know that about all the animation decisions. That’s very interesting!

    1. One thing that I didn’t get to mention: Mother Gothel wears renaissance era clothes even though the movie is set in 1780 to show that she’s actually centuries old.

      1. Whoa, that’s so clever. I guess I’ll have to go and watch it again and see what else they snuck in there.

      2. Actually, Mouse, that’s very distinctly a 12-century Medieval (Dark Ages) gown a noblewoman would wear. I recognized the simple design, long sleeves, and ribbon-like girdle. Gothel also looks very distinctly like a gypsy, with the curly black hair & red gown.

        The clothing the people of Corona are wearing resembles generic pseudo-Renaissance clothing, mixed in with generic fairy-tale fashions. (One of my hobbies is studying fashion throughout the ages). Those Disney people really need to do their research a little better.

  11. See what I mean, Mouse?! As soon as you compared Tangled to Frozen, everyone’s quick to rush to Tangled’s defense against Frozen! Like I said earlier (actually, just now responding to anii654), the REAL chaos will (most likely) come through when you post your Frozen review. What you got just now was a taste. Be prepared for the real deal later down the road.

  12. Once again, your reviews don’t disappoint! I LOL’d at the bad horse song and the “kind of couple you’d invite to your coronation” parts. In fact, I think this was one of your funnier reviews so far.
    I really like this movie, but I don’t love it. I like the songs, but don’t consider them earworms. (Except for Mother Knows Best, my favorite song.) I buy the romance between Rapunzel and Flynn/Eugene, and Pascal and Maximus get a laugh out of me, but Mother Gothel is the most interesting character to me, for the very reasons you mentioned. (Speaking of which, do you agree with the people who think she’s a female Frollo?)
    On another note, why no mention of the scene where the two of them are talking in the tunnel? I think that scene does a good job building their chemistry.
    Overall, though, great review, and I agree that Frozen is (slightly) better (puts on flame helmet).

    1. I don’t think Mother Gothel’s a female Frollo at all! Unlike Frollo, Mother Gothel is very one-dimentional to me. She doesn’t have any goals beyond making herself PRETTY, and how she abused Rapunzel has no comparison to how Frollo treated Quasimodo and the gypsies (seriously, he killed a woman like two minutes into the film). This isn’t to say Mother Gothel works badly as a villain, because, she DOES. But I honestly think Frollo one of Disney most complex characters.

      1. I agree with Frollo being more complex (which is part of the reason why he’s my number 1 Disney villain), but I still think Gothel is about as realistic. Many parents are as abusive and as many other people as manipulative as she is.

      2. Mother Gothel cannot step to Frollo. I want these words engraved on my tombstone. I will set them like a seal on my heart, like a seal on my arm…sorry. *puts down the Old Testament and moves away from it.*

        You’re right, she is one-dimensional. I disagree with Mouse that Gothel ever actually cared about Rapunzel–I just don’t see any convincing evidence for it–so any conflict of emotion is right out the window. The fact that her motivation is “youth and beauty” is boring (not to mention jarring, compared to the “modern” tone of the film…something trying this hard to appeal to this particular generation made an odd choice in giving their film a villain with an EXTREMELY old-fashioned motivation). She displays, like, only two emotions throughout the whole thing: self-satisfied smugness and boiling rage, both of which sounded REALLY affected and…someone upthread used the word “artificial”. Some people have called Gothel’s abuse more realistic, but Donna Murphy just doesn’t sell me on it. Maybe with a different actor it would have worked.

        There’s also the fact that her abuse is portrayed for laughs…compare “Mother Knows Best” to “Stay in Here” and tell me which song is meant to be taken seriously. I feel like Tangled expects us to find Gothel amusing, and when you pair “amusing” with “child abuse” the whole thing just falls apart.

      3. ^^^^^I don’t find much convincing evidence that Mother Gothel loved Rapunzel either. Totally that the “abuse” is taken more as a joke than seriously. Another thing to me is kind of how Rapunzel starts raging at Mother Gothel out of nowhere. I personally loved Donna Murphy as Mother Gothel. I thought she did the best performance.

  13. Great review, unshavedmouse! Although I, like a few other commenters, am in the cult of people who prefer ‘Tangled’ over ‘Frozen’. (Although, it took me a very long time to decide that, I admit).

    And ‘I’ve Got a Dream’ is my fave song in the film too!

  14. Does nobody here like “I See the Light?” My favorite was the reprise of “Mother Knows Best” but I’m surprised everyone’s going for “I’ve Got a Dream.” Also, I’d put Tangled and Frozen about on the same level. Just my opinion, and I hate it when people start a war.

    1. I like ‘I See the Light’, but more for the smurges visuals than the song. ‘Mother Knows Best’ gives me shivers every time. I’m not here to argue either, but I do like Tangled a little bit more. 🙂

      1. Why? People around here are generally pretty even-handed, polite and rational…

      2. “Fixer-Upper is not as good as the other songs!”
        “Well, I rather liked it! It gave the film light and shade!”
        “AAAARGH, I’m hit!”

    2. I like “I see the light” but my fav is actually the healing incarnation…it is such a simple song, but I love how it’s meaning constantly changes during the movie.

    3. “I See the Light” is pretty enough, but I feel like it doesn’t really fit Rapunzel/Eugene’s dynamic.

      Also, I feel like I heard it before, with “A Whole New World”. Does anyone else think they’re eerily similar? Or is it just me?

  15. As usual, I love your review. Although I do think that Tangled is better than Frozen.

    I have multiple reasons of course; I came prepared!!!

    Let’s look at the music first. It is, without a doubt, irrefutable that Frozen’s high notes from a musical perspective are WAAAAAY higher than Tangled, (Do You Wanna Build a Snowman? and Let It Go in case you were wondering). However, Frozen’s low notes are also WAAAAAAAAAAY lower. And both movies suffer from what I like to call “lack of musical continuity.” What I mean by this is that when you look at a soundtrack for a musical, say The Hunchback of Notre Dame, all the pieces have similar qualities to each other. They may reuse the same lines, they might emphasize a particular melody, or the same song may be reprised multiple times with different variations. I chose Hunchback as an example because its music fits this description perfectly. Now, both Tangled and Frozen lack this when it comes to their music. *Most* of the songs are fine on their own, (or fucking balls-out fantastic), as standalone pieces of music. But string them together on a soundtrack and they just don’t quite fit together. For instance, the opening “na na na heya na” in Frozen is fine, but it doesn’t gel very seamlessly when placed next to songs like “For the First Time in Forever.” Both Tangled and Frozen have this problem, but for me it is far more jarring in Frozen, thus why Tangled gets more kudos from me.

    The second thing that cements Tangled’s superiority is the leads. In Tangled, the 3 most interesting characters are, in order from greatest to least, Mother Gothel, Flynn/Eugene, and Rapunzel. This is very good on the part of Tangled, because they happen to be the most active players in the story and most of the action focuses on them. Now, in Frozen, there is only one, truly interesting character, at least for me. That character is Elsa. She is such a layered, well developed personality and you really do sympathize with her. And for the first act of the movie, I was satisfied. Then Act 2 is ushered in on the heels of Let it Go, and my biggest problem with the movie starts. Instead of seeing more awesome badass Elsa creating sentient ice-creatures and planning global domination, we’re stuck with Anna and Kristoff on their buddy adventure through the mountains. Elsa doesn’t reappear until the very end of the act. And the reason this bothers me is because Anna, while not terrible, is not NEARLY as interesting a character as Elsa. She very much feels like a retread of Rapunzel, except, y’know, dorkier. Again, not horrible, but incredible pale in comparison to Elsa. And, despite technically being a lead, Elsa feels more like a supporting character in her own story. Anna is the true hero, which just makes me resound with unending “meh.”

    And finally, the biggest problem I had with Frozen, and the reason why I liked Tangled more was the villain. In Tangled, Mother Gothel is genuinely menacing and also sympathetic. She “cares” about Rapunzel in the same way a meat-processing factory “cares” about cows. We know from the get-go that she’s the villain, and she is quite entertaining to watch. And what did we get in Frozen? Hans. Fucking Hans. That was my LEAST favorite part in Frozen. Up until that point, I was thinking how it was refreshing to finally have a Disney-princess movie without a clearly defined villain. And then the writers were like, “Hey! Fuck you!” and they made Hans the villain OUT OF FUCKING NOWHERE!!! The movie was fine without an antagonist! It didn’t need one! And his reasoning is so shallow a sneezing panda could blow it over. He was awful, just awful. Hated hated hated hated hated that twist.

    And that, dear people, is why I prefer Tangled over Frozen.

    1. Hmm…good points, but I think that for continuinity in the music, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a bad example. The presence of the gargoyles and their song “A Guy Like You” disrupts the serious and dark tone the film is supposed to have, in my opinion.

      1. Oh yeah. Damn it I forgot about that song… Maybe it’s because I always fast-forward through it when I watch Hunchback. 😛

        A better example would be “Les Miserables.” 😀

    2. The problem I had was that I saw the “twist” coming from a mile away (not because it was build up, just because the “you can’t marry a guy you just met” line), and I was thinking the whole time “don’t do it! Let Anna realize that she might have acted a little bit hastily, but don’t make him evil”. And when it happened, I was not even shocked, I was simply disappointed.

      1. Yeah. They kept on rubbing the “You cannot marry a guy you just met” SO hard. They did it fine enough in the other movies. There was no need to make Hans evil at all.

    3. Hunchback is really not the best example…I think Beauty and the Beast is the best example for a perfectly balanced soundtrack. Or Pocahontas (as long as you keep “If I never knew you” in the credits).

    4. You’re so right about the Hans twist. Completely uncalled for. And in a children’s movie?! What is this – The Sixth sense? “Mommy, why’s he doing that?” “Because he’s a bad guy, Sweetie.” “But Mommy, didn’t they set him up as a genuinely good guy? The whole ‘Don’t hurt Elsa scene’?” “Yes, Sweetie. The writers were fucking with you.” [Tears welling up]

  16. I can’t believe there is not a single mention in your review of how beautiful the lantern sequence is.

    Also, I feel that Tangled is a tighter movie than Frozen. I always cry when Flynn cuts her hair at the end, but I really didn’t feel anything with the whole “oops I turned into ice” climax thing.

      1. Both awesome moments, in the original sense of the word.

        But my biggest dud moment from Frozen is near the end, when Elsa says, “Oh hey, love is the answer!” and suddenly everything is fine. Either I missed something, or somebody dropped the plot ball there. It would have made more sense if everything thawed out when she noticed Anna coming back to life, because that would maintain the connection of her powers to her emotions.

      2. ^^^^^I think that Elsa is able to control her powers through love and confidence. When she’s young, she is adored by her family even with her powers. In fact, her little sister is amazed by what she can do, so she is full of self esteem at this point. But when the accident happens, she looses that self esteem and becomes afraid of hurting others.
        During Let it go, because of the fact that she feels she can’t hurt anyone, she lets go and embraces who she is, as long as she feels she can’t hurt anyone. When Anna comes and tells her that she did indeed hurt others, she looses control again.
        And at the end, she realizes that all this time, she was able to control her powers when she was loved, by both herself and others. Thus why she says-

        “Of course! Love!” As if she knew all a long what was the key but she let herself forget because of her fear. Could have been more clear, grant you that.

      3. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense… but I think even that could have been communicated more strongly with some visual support for the epiphany.

      4. The difference between the two climaxes is that Rapunzel and Flynn spend THE ENTIRE MOVIE TOGETHER, so there is serious dramatic heft to that moment, whereas Anna and Elsa have a total of THREE scenes together before that moment. We’re more just *told* that they’re sisters. While having Elsa isolated for the first act may have seemed a good idea in making her more lonely etc, it really makes the dynamic between Anna and Elsa suffer, because we never actually see them interacting, we never see an actual sisterly relationship build between them. While you wouldn’t have gotten the whole “yay we’re feminists” message, it would have had more emotional resonance if it were Kristoff who saved Anna, because he actually spent time with her.

        Also, Hans as the villain was the single dumbest decision made in the entire canon and YES I’M COUNTING “THE LOVE MONKEY.”

      5. ^^^^^ I agree the relationship between the sisters isn’t as developed as it could be, but isn’t comparing a sister relationship and a romance a little…weird? Two different kinds of relationships. I thought that they did a pretty good job at portraying the sisters and I don’t even have siblings. Personally, I could see Elsa sacrificing everything for Anna and how Anna didn’t stop at all to help her sister despite being shut out for 13 years. I guess it’s because being an only child I understood how lonely the sisters were when separated. Also, let’s face it, if they had Kristoff save Anna, people would have complained that they were too similar to Rapunzel and Eugene.

        I am sad when Eugene sacrifices himself for Rapunzel, but it is a little confusing (i.e. How would Rapunzel die?) and Eugene could have cut Rapunzel’s hair after Rapunzel healed him. It’s also kinda too much like the Beast’s death.

      6. werothegreat and cardeen said it SO well. First off, how do you remember being SO CLOSE to your sibling when you were 4? Does ANYONE remember much from that age? And Elsa does not appear as much as she needs to be, and when Anna and Elsa DO interact, it is not as deep and powerful as it should be because we do not really get to see the strong relationship between them. The dynamic is not the best. But it is weird to compare them to Eugene and Rapunzel.

        But we can compare Eugene/Rapunzel to Anna/Kristoff.

      7. ^^^^^It’s a little contrived how Anna can remember things from the age of five, I’ll grant you that, but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. Rapunzel had a vision of her parents from a NEWBORN. Maybe 18 year old (strawberry) blonde naive princesses with large eyes can remember things?

      8. I got the impression that Flynn was saving Rapunzel from being Mother Gothel’s prisoner.

      9. What? Who doesn’t have a ton of memories from before they turned five? I remember things from when I was two.

  17. Great Review Mouse, as always! I have to say that, though I see Tangled’s problems, I like it more than Frozen. Frozen just didn’t do much for me. Btw, your “Did I mumble, bitch?” image doesn´t show up on the post 😛

  18. U just started the Tangled Frozen war dammit.
    And thank god! I thought I’m the only one who found I’ve Got a Dream to be the standout song, since everyone kept talking about I See the Light or Mother Knows Best……..

    And did u notice how the internet shifted after Frozen? At first they were like “we ugly snowman burn it with fire!”, then “amazing!!!<3" to "Frozen is soooo overrated omygod like the story is terrible the song let it go is annoying and it would be forgotten in a year and ugh".

    Honestly, if Lion King was released this year and the internet does the same thing, people would start attacking lion king and call circle of life annoying. Which is really annoying to me coz I find this "hating the new phenomenon is cool and swag" really offensive and annoying.

    1. I like Frozen. I’m just not obsessed with it like a lot of people are. But I have no problem with people liking it so much. Whatever makes Disney more money and encourages them to make better movies is fine by me.

      I do think Tangled is better though. Although, I’m not really that obsessed with Tangled either.

      There is one Disney movie that I can say I am legitimately obsessed with, and I’m pretty sure you can guess from my avi. 😀

      1. …yes. I have an unrelenting obsession with Aristocats. How’d you know that my avi was Toulouse dressed like a blue alien playing the ukulele?

    2. Totally with you on that. Something becomes popular, everyone starts to hate on it. I’m not saying people can’t dislike Frozen. An opinion is an opinion. It’s just that some people seem to be picking at every aspect as to why THEY didn’t like it (i.e. I don’t like the songs) and shouting “It’s overrated because it is!”

      1. Yup. Frozen has ballooned to be a pop-culture mammoth bigger than even the Big Four Renaissance movies. Such a movie with a devoted following enough to fill up Neptune is bound to have some dissenters. Law of the universe, man.

      2. @Siberian Hamster: Highest grossing animation of all time. Fifth biggest movie of all time. Triple platinum album. Double Oscar winner. Elsa entering top 100 baby names. Tourism to Norway increasing by 37%.

        Yup, that’s a pop-culture monster alright.

      3. I know this was ages ago, but I couldn’t remember this review so came back. Anyway, I don’t understand you’re comment Petulant Street Rat. I just meant I thought people dissented because they got fed up of the song and everyone saying how great it was.

    3. I am totally out of sync with the public opinion…I first spend nearly a year defending Frozen, saying that just because the character designs looked similar, it didn’t mean that the result would be a Tangled light and correctly predicted that Frozen had a good shot of becoming THE movie of the year.
      Then I saw the movie and was totally disappointed. I didn’t get what people were raving about from the get go. But I was happy nevertheless because Disney really needed this success.
      The real problem I have with all the hype is that it will result in even more movies in which Disney basically renounces the earlier movies, smacking the audience in the face with a pseudo feminist message…it worked with Brave, it worked with Frozen, and I freaking hate this trend.

      1. Brave wasn’t that big of a hit. Many people were disappointed with it. It’s ratings are very low for a Pixar film (78% on Rotten Tomatoes and 69 on Metacritic) and many people were furious that it beat Wreck-It Ralph, Paranorman, or Frankenweenie in the Oscars (seriously, look at the YouTube videos).

      2. Brave got the academy award, great box office and is hailed by the usual Disney critics as “feminist princess”. And that’s exactly the group Disney is currently trying to convince, the mothers who are worried that Disney Princess movies might have a bad influence on their daughter.

      3. Really? I read that a lot of people found Merida to be a whiny brat. She didn’t even seem to care that her mother looked like she was DYING or the fact that if she didn’t marry, the kingdom could go to war. Also, every male character in Brave is incompetent, which makes the “girl power” movement look bad. Brave was actually praised? Interesting…

        As for the Academy Award, maybe they just like…sophisticated films? Brave may be a pretty weak film, bit it is about a Princess and a technical achivement especially because of Merida’s hair. But it wasn’t the popular choice at all and people are still mad over it.

      4. Well, there is the “traditional Disney Princess crowd” who tend to be very negative towards Brave, and there are the “Disney is bad for children” complainers…I was talking about the latter. You know, the kind of people who throw a hissy fit about a changed design for the line-up as if that is anything new.
        The Academy Award wanted to give the price to a female director. And Merida’s hair…that’s actually the technology they invented for Tangled, slightly improved.

  19. *Small voice* I actually think Frozen’s supporting cast is better than Tangled’s, especially considering Olaf is supposed to be the personification of Elsa’s repressed feelings for warmth (human warmth) and her unrelenting devotion to her sister. /*Small voice*

    Having said that, Tangled is really neat with one of the best couples in the canon (but Aladdin and Jasmine are still the best). I just wish Gothel was developed more though.

      1. But I think it’s okay. At least it’s not like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves where the Evil Queen is only mad over another person being more attractive.

      2. Yeah. I think there was major potential present in their relationship and in Gothel’s character, but as both aspects were so unexplored, the movie comes across as really lacking for me. Also, I may be in the minority but I actually prefer The Evil Queen to Gothel, who seems tame in comparison.

    1. You know, I never got what the deal with Olafs desire for sun is. It doesn’t made any sense for me that a Snowman who just appeared out of nothing even knows about beaches. Is the personification thing intended? Because I didn’t get that just from watching the movie at all.

      1. It does not make sense. They were shoving anything to make Olaf even the slightest bit relevant, and give him some sort of character and plot.

      2. Good point swanpride. Don’t know. Elsa did mention as a kid “Hi, I’m Olaf, and I like warm hugs!” How “warm” translates to “summer” and “beach” beats me, I guess.

      3. Ah…that explains it at least partly…I haven’t watched Frozen in English yet, and the German translation of “warm hugs” simply doesn’t entail the word “warm”…that would sound really odd. So even this feeble connection was missing when I watched the movie (not sure if I would have made it, though).

      4. Jennifer Lee has said Olaf was supposed to be the personification of the bond between the sisters. Elsa created the character as a child so all his desires and traits are a part of her own psyche. Same with Marshmallow, who represents the wall Elsa has built between herself and the rest of the world.

      5. Back when they were young, Elsa said it herself when she built Olaf
        “Hi, I’m Olaf and I like warm hugs”
        Whats the implied message there? That’s it.

    2. @Petulant Street Rat
      Yes, you’re right. Olaf and Marshmallow represent the different personalities of Elsa. I guess it’s hard to catch, but the film has loads of symbolism.

  20. Hiya, Long Time Lurker here.
    Been reading since I first found the Dinosaur review and am somewhat obsessed. Lol.
    I’d just like to mention one of my favourite moments in Tangled (possibly my favourite Disney film). In the scene where Rapunzel heals Flynn’s hand she looks him in the eyes before she starts and says ‘Don’t freak out’.
    I may be making wild connections but Zachary Levi’s (Flynn) main tv role at the time was Chuck, in which anytime the shit got real (picture of Martin Lawrence) the blonde girl who looked after him/partner would look at him and say ‘Don’t freak out’. To me it was the perfect little sideways nod. It wasn’t hammered over the head like a lot of dreamworks references tend to be. It just seems snuck in, for whoever gets it to get it. And I love little subtlety like that.
    Thanks for the reviews Mouse.

  21. Tangled is better. It has the better script, it has characters which are more fleshed out, it has a better romance, it has the better villain – and arguable the better soundtrack overall.

    Don’t get me wrong, Tangled is not Alan Menken’s best work. The main problem is “When will my life begin” which perhaps does a little bit too well what the song is supposed to do. It apparently wants to transport the monotony of Rapunzel’s everyday life, but by doing so the song itself became monotone. But unlike you, I really like “See the light” (especially the text) and the reprise of “Mother knows best” which nicely contrasts to the first version of the song (if I have one point of critic than that they should have gone all out with villain song and made the scene a proper acid sequence…I really miss those since Disney went CGI). But where the soundtrack really shines is in the score…”Kingdom dance”, “The tear heals”, each piece of music is just perfect, often very settled, but perfect for every single scene.

    Frozen has “Let it go”, which easily trumps all the songs in Tangled and most of the Disney songs in general, especially paired with the animation in the scene, but that’s it! The movie is for me an example how one shouldn’t use songs in a musical movies. For one, they have no continuity, but differ so much in style that they sound as if they belong to three different musicals. They are crammed into the start of the movie, and most of them actually work in contradiction to the plot. Even “Let it go” because, well, Elsa doesn’t let it go, she basically walls herself in even more than before, she just does it far away from the palace.

    Anna as a main character annoys me. She is basically a weaker version of Rapunzel, and her isolation makes no sense at all from the get go. Elsa is the one with power not her, so why should the parents shut her away? And technically she isn’t even shut away, there are servants after all, so there is no real excuse for her being a freaking idiot!

    Tangled is really feminist, as opposed to being pseudo-feminist. It makes a statement about gender equality mostly by not constantly commenting on it, and in a lot of subtle gestures (like Rapunzel being named as the one who would rule later on, and not Eugene, or the way the two kiss). Frozen on the other hand smacks the audience in the face with the so called message, and then ends the movie like every other Disney movie….with a pair which will most likely eventually marry (honestly, the only Disney princess ever who immediately married was Cinderella, and she had good reasons to do so – and marriage as the live dream has been out since the classic princesses, too). Frozen is double grating in having only two (really weak) female characters in the entire cast, even though it is based on one of the most feminist fairy tales out there, one which has nearly only female characters (and a heroine competent enough to travel through snow, thank you very much).

    I think the main difference is that Tangled embraced its heritage and did a modern spin on it, while Frozen denies it and often comes off as not liking itself. Frozen is also a very contrived movie…and I don’t mean fairy tale contrived but “is everyone in the kingdom an idiot?” contrived.

    Plus, Tangled WAS there first. The very least one could expect of Frozen is being creative with the character design (which is too bad, because if there is one thing I like about Frozen, it’s the animation).

    To me, Tangled is the defining movie of the current era, and easily one of Disney’s top ten movies. Frozen…is kind of like Princess and the Frog, nice try, but it really needed a better script to really work. And I think the better box office results of a combination of factors…Frozen is riding on the success of Tangled and Wreck-it-Ralph while Tangled (like The little Mermaid) had the much more difficult task to draw back the audience in the theatres. Frozen was last year the only impressive animated movie which hit the theatres, while Tangled was released in a very strong year for animation. On top of this, Disney was in dispute over the Annies in this year, which resulted in Tangled didn’t get any of the awards the movie deserved.

    1. Well, imagine this: Anna goes out all the time but nobody sees Elsa at all. The town people then become suspicious of Elsa. They say “What’s wrong with Elsa?” I think that the King was trying to do was to keep suspicion away from Elsa to hide her powers, not add on to it. This is confirmed to be true at the end of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” Anna does sing “People are asking where’ve you’ve been” after she attends her parents’ funeral. Was it dumb and a little abusive on the King’s part? Yes. But I think people are a little harsh on the parents anyway. It’s not as if Elsa’s powers came with a instruction manual.

      I guess the Duke of Weselton seemed already suspicious by Elsa’s coronation, but it wasn’t really on Elsa. It was on the whole kingdom.

      1. I also don’t see how Frozen is grading having only two female leads out of the cast. Tangled had the same number (and one was a villain).

      2. “Elsa has more responsibilities, and has to learn how to be a good queen.” See? Easy…plus, it is mostly the concept that Anna is somehow an attention starved lonely person when there are still servants in the palace. She should latch on someone.

      3. Well, there aren’t that many servants. The King reduced the staff. Good point that Anna could have latched onto one, but…eh…kind of hollow to me. Being separated from her sister caused her desperation for love, and I doubt a few servants could really fulfill that. That’s why Anna fell for Hans. She thought that cute guy equaled true love. Also, keep in mind, Anna did have her parents around for ten years up until their deaths.

        I kind of felt the the “lack of latching on” for Rapunzel to be honest. More because seeing that Mother Gothel is Rapunzel’s only company her whole life, Rapunzel kind of left her side way too easily. Mother Gothel convinced her that people are evil but Rapunzel just drops 18 years of isolation within a few hours like where she sings with the thugs and pulls in the townsfolk into dancing despite being told they where bad. She acts more like a carefree girl than a mentally abused person. Overall, I don’t think that her backstory is something that affected Rapunzel’s character for her later life. To each their own, I suppose.

      4. Yup. Great point about Rapunzel adapting WAY too easily to the outside world after being cooped up in a tower all her life. At the very least, she should have developed some severe social inadequacies, like the clones from “Never Let Me Go” who were completely inept at fitting in with the outside world without continued guidance. It’s too much to buy that Punz is more socially savvy than Flynn, like in the Snuggly Duckling sequence.

        Another reason why Frozen is great. Anna and Elsa actually displayed the psychological impact of being neglected/being isolated and repressed respectively. Brilliant movie is brilliant.

    2. I would even say Frozen is worse than Princess and the Frog. Yes, I went there (finger snap).

      I agree with everything you said swanpride, but Tangeld somewhat ridded off of Princess and the Frog (or its mistakes). If Tangled came out first, and it was advertised like all the other movies, it would not have done as well as it did. It is sad that this film is not even talked about much anymore.

      Isn’t it weird how the best films in this era (Wreck it Ralph and Tangled) are kind of snubbed now? Anyways, Tangled is definitely the most subtle with its feminism (and most of the DP films are more subtle than Frozen), has the better script, has stronger characters, good animation, an eh soundtrack, but the most important thing is that it is the most CONSISTENT. I do recall Tangled getting less nominations and awards than Frozen, WiR, and even PatF.

      1. Well, to be fair Tangled came out in a year of Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon. I don’t see what the big deal is with Frozen being “worse” than The Princess and the Frog. I enjoyed that film plenty.

      2. I do too, but many see The Princess and the Frog as good and not spectacular, while I say Frozen is less good than that, and not at all spectacular.

      3. Also, for less continuinity Frozen may have than Tangled or Wreck-It Ralph, I blame the Disney executives. They pushed for Frozen to be produced in only about three years because they wanted it before 2014 (possibly before Big Hero 6) Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph had about double that time.

      4. That was because in this year Disney and Pixar had a dispute with the people behind the Annie awards and pulled their funding….as a result, DreamWorks got all the nominations and prices possible, with Disney only winning in categories with no DreamWorks entry. They have solved the dispute since then, but Tangled certainly suffered from it. People who really know animation have discussed the software used in Tangled and the detailed design with gusto, but nobody really paid attention – Brave then got the credit Tangled should have gotten for it.

        I think history repeats itself. I think that The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast are vastly superior to Aladdin and Lion King, but they are not the movies with the unbelievable box office results.

      5. ^^^^^Yeah, I remember that issue with the Annie Awards. But for every other award…eh…I think Tangled wasn’t nominated over Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon.

  22. Loved this review (as I love all of your reviews)! Also enjoying the civilized Tangled vs Frozen convo. Honestly I love both movies a lot. Like, A LOT. Personally though I think Tangled is a prettier movie (the colors and scenery are just gorgeous). Frozen is beautifully animated but it just didn’t wow me as much as Tangled in this respect. Agree with the praise of Maximus, but I’m pretty meh on Pascal since the presence of a chameleon in that era/part of Europe doesn’t make much sense to me (admittedly that’s super lame of me, but I can’t help it).
    As far as the complaints that Rapunzel’s behavior out of the tower didn’t reflect her brainwashing by Gothel, here are my thoughts:
    Rapunzel knocked out Flynn out of necessity/panic because here was this dude who had obvi come to “get her”. Then as she examines him, she realizes he doesn’t look the way Gothel described people (he doesn’t have pointy teeth, etc.). So she ties him up/stands up to him (“I’m not afraid of you”)/demands to know how he found her. Through their conversation she realizes this could be her ticket to see the floating lights, which she’s pretty desperate to see. And, as previously mentioned by Mouse she is a teenage girl so defying her mom is probably a top priority. So any fears of Flynn are set aside as they set out, but not completely since she brings the frying pan with her. Cut to the Snuggly Duckling and she’s terrified of the ruffians/thugs there, but through “I’ve got a dream” she learns they are just people like her. Probably throwing serious shade on Gothel’s teachings. Then throughout the rest of their adventure Rapunzel becomes empowered by the things she realizes she is capable of. And this is what she explains to Gothel during the reprise of “Mother knows best”. I feel it’s a perfectly believable journey for Rapunzel’s character to make.
    Anyhoo, looking forward to your Frozen review!

  23. Something I was waiting for, but unfortunately did not get to see in this review: Frozen and Hunchback comparisons. I’ve been thinking about it for months now, so let me get this off my chest.
    1) Both movies involve a child being locked away in the tower.
    2) Both movies involve the hero/heroine wishing to go to the world outside.
    3) Both movies portray the mental abuse of the villain as they convince their stepchild that the world is a cruel place.
    4) They both gained their freedom after their “parent” fell to their death.
    5) Both villain’s deaths involved death by multiple sources (Frollo falling into molten copper, Gothel falling while hyper-ageing.)
    Just take a look at the image below:

    1. Well, I couldn’t seem comparisons between Frozen and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Anna and Elsa were isolated, but unlike Quasimodo, they weren’t mentally abused. Okay, maybe Elsa was accidentally by her parents, but she wasn’t afraid of the outside world so much as losing control of her powers.

    2. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Tangled is a Lighter and Softer version of HoND, and HoND did it infinitely better.

    3. THANK YOU, SIR!!! I thought I was the only one who noticed those. I think Hunchback did it better with the villain (Frollo), since he seems like a more serious and complex villain than Gothel. She still works well as a villain, but Frollo is the stronger of the two.

  24. I was actually aware of “Rapunzel” long before Disney even got the idea to make “Tangled.” In fact, I often wondered for years why they hadn’t done the story before until now. It turns out that not only did Disney vamp it up, they totally turned the story on its head.

    ORIGINAL STORY: Rapunzel was born to a pair of peasants who happened to live next door to a witch. (Why, I don’t know, maybe the local taxes were low).
    TANGLED: Rapunzel’s parents were a king & queen, so she had royal blood.

    ORIGINAL STORY: The witch kidnapped Rapunzel as a baby as payment and punishment to her peasant parents because of her dad stealing radishes from her garden (never understood why she cared so much about those). Plus, it’s also hinted that the witch had always wanted a daughter to raise, even though in the Fairy-tale theater video it’s hinted that she was a feminist & didn’t trust men enough to make her own babies.
    TANGLED: The witch is using Rapunzel to stay young because of the golden flower that infused Rapunzel’s hair with magic before she was born.

    ORIGINAL: The witch who raised Rapunzel was a full-blown witch, with magic powers & everything. She never needed some stupid 24-hour flower to stay young. In fact, in the Fairy-Tale theater story, she could stun people with her magic, in addition to conjuring up anything Rapunzel wanted, & making people go spontaneously blind. Now sometimes, she was portrayed as an old lady, but most people like the idea of a witch staying young & beautiful with magic for centuries. In some versions she’s known as Mother Gothel, though I didn’t know about that until I watched “Barbie as Rapunzel” (don’t laugh). The witch is also left alive in the original story, though her fate is mostly unknown.
    TANGLED: As far as witches go, Mother Gothel is extremely pathetic. She only seems to know one spell, & that’s the one to keep her young for 24 hours while singing to the flower or Rapunzel’s hair (my dad actually compared it to her getting a daily drug fix). Mostly she relies on good old-fashioned trickery & manipulation to get what she wants. A proper witch would have found a much more effective spell to keep herself young, something that lasts more than a measly 24 hours. Gothel also suffers the traditional Disney Villain death, where you don’t actually SEE her dying (she’s hidden in her cloak while falling from the tower).

    ORIGINAL: While Rapunzel was RAISED like a princess by the evil witch, she wasn’t technically a princess until the end of the story. Also, the man who found her tower in the woods was a prince. He was led there by her lovely singing voice while he was out hunting.
    TANGLED: Flynn Ryder is a common thief who eventually married Rapunzel & became royalty in a little cartoon short.

    ORIGINAL: They never really gave an explanation other than the possible “true love” gambit when Rapunzel’s tears healed the prince’s blindness & sickness the witch had brought upon him. I even saw a cartoon of it where the witch had cursed him as a bird, & Rapunzel’s tears reversed the spell.
    TANGLED: The movie hints that there was still a drop of healing magic left in Rapunzel, even when her hair was cut, so that it was in her tears when she cried over Flynn.

    ORIGINAL: Rapunzel’s hair was not magical. It was always blond & ordinary, save for the length. In the original tale, it was the witch who cut it when she found out Rapunzel had been lying to her about seeing the Prince & planning to escape the tower with him. In the Fairy-Tale theater video, she cut it so that it was waist-length on Rapunzel before magically banishing her to some isolated oasis in the desert. (In some stories, it was an island in the ocean).
    TANGLED: Flynn Ryder cuts Rapunzel’s hair to save her from the witch & destroys its magical properties. They also hinted that once it was cut, it wouldn’t grow back, so she’s stuck with that awful fluff cut she ended up with. They totally went the Mandy Moore route with the “chop it off & dye it brown” look for her, & I hate it. At the end of the movie, Rapunzel looked like a little girl playing dress-up than an actual princess.

    I have issues with how women wear their hair, especially little girls. Granted, Rapunzel had problems with her 70-foot long hair, but she dealt with it. On the other hand, whenever I see a girl with short hair, I get 1 of 2 impressions: 1.) she wanted it that way. 2.) Her mother was a stupid lazy-ass who didn’t know what to do with her hair & just decided to cut it off so she wouldn’t have to deal with it. It also robs the girl of her femininity, & makes her look boyish, especially if it’s shorter than ear-length. Only on very rare occasions does the short fluffy look appear cute. For most women, it looks like crap.

    I’m afraid I didn’t like this movie nearly as much as “Frozen.” While amusing & definitely worth at least one watch, the story didn’t appeal to me nearly as much. Also, there are a lot of inconsistencies in it, as well as story changes I didn’t think really worked. But then again, they were trying to upgrade it to appeal to 21st century audiences, so I can understand that.

    In fact, the changing of the title, while descriptive of Rapunzel’s hair, was only done so boys would watch. (They did the same thing with the Sims when the game first came out in 2000). It’s actually astonishing how insensitive MOST young boys can be (a few are not, you understand). Girls will happily watch both girly films & films with boys as the protagonist; but the moment a boy finds out there’s a girl protagonist in a movie (especially one with a Disney Princess), they go “I don’t wanna watch that! That’s a GIRL’S movie!” & rush off to the nearest masculine flick. It totally turns them off. Hence the title change.

    I have actually read up on some issues people had with ages in this movie. Like how Rapunzel was 17, & yet Flynn looked about 20-27, kinda old for her. He may as well have been dating his little sister. Also, Rapunzel may be 17, but she looks like she’s 12-14, with the child-like face, the tiny breasts, & slightly shorter height than the adults in the story. (I will admit, though, there ARE people out there in the world that are “baby-faced,” or look younger than they really are). While this appeals to younger girls, it’s not very realistic. Most girls by the age of 17 have reached their adult height & physical maturity. I’m just saying.

    The Snuggly Duckling (they may as well called it “The Scumhole”) scene was extremely unrealistic, even for a Disney movie. Had it NOT been a Disney movie, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Rapunzel had been gang-raped in three minutes after going in there. And I REALLY could have lived without the old man dressed as cupid *gags.*

    And just so you know Mouse, by your own admission, Rapunzel could not be gay.

    I remember a trend that got really popular in the late 90s and early 2000s, (it probably pre-dated this era, but it didn’t become super-popular until then) in which I call, the “Gay Jump.” It’s where people jump to conclusions about a person’s sexual orientation because they only look at the surface behavior of a person, & instead of using their brains, they say “Wow, (s)he must be gay.” I hate it. They don’t even bother to ask said person, or think about why they would behave in such a way. I have several examples too.

    Example 1.) Boy is very unlucky in love & has some guy friends–> oh, he must be gay

    Example 2.) Girl has no interest in sleeping around in high school or becoming a teen mom –> she’s totally a lesbian

    Example 3.) Boy likes to either cook, or act in theater, or make art, or sew, & he’s lousy in sports –> oh look, it’s the future gay fashion designer of America!

    Example 4.) Two girls are very close friends –> oh they’re TOTALLY sleeping together, just kiss already!

    GOD I hate that. My classmates in school thought that about me because I chose to do the honorable thing & not sleep around with the loser guys I went to class with, or give up my future to some jerk’s squalling out-of-wedlock brat before the age of 18. When they couldn’t find evidence of gayness, they then accused me of being bound for a nunnery. Stupid Midwestern townies.

    I shall now explain why Rapunzel is straight.

    Exhibit A.) She’s a sheltered, 17-year-old girl. She has had no contact with the outside world, save for Mother Gothel. She doesn’t know anything about interacting with people, nor does she understand how people’s minds work. Basically, Rapunzel is on par with your average, sheltered, home-schooled kid.

    Exhibit B.) Teenagers are notoriously bad at reading complex facial expressions. While they understand the simple ones, the more complex ones don’t register at all to them. It’s mostly due to the lack of maturity and experience in reading people’s emotions. You can look it up, psychologists have done studies on it. So if Flynn’s flirting & turning on the charm, it’s gonna look like a stupid pout or smile to Rapunzel. It’s not gonna register as “You totally think I’m hot, right? Let me do anything I want because I’m a hottie guy?” However, despite that, you’ll notice that she liked him and trusted him slightly more than Mother Gothel.

    Exhibit C.) It’s pretty obvious Rapunzel was a virgin. Having been one myself at 17, you’re not gonna pick up on the sexual tension or the “come to bed with me” vibes another person gives off. Only sexually active teens or any1 older than 20 that can pick up on that sort of thing.

    Exhibit D.) Rapunzel did grow naturally attracted to Flynn, & didn’t hesitate to say “yes” when he proposed to her. Had she actually been a lesbian, she would have already had a secret girlfriend after becoming a princess, & told him flat-out “no.” Then it would have been the secret girlfriend coming down the aisle instead of Flynn in that cartoon short they released.

    I rest my case.

      1. I didn’t mind the changes with “Frozen,” and it was somewhat better than “The Snow Queen,” though there were some parts that didn’t make any sense whatsoever in the story. (I’ll discuss more when the review for “Frozen” comes out). I really could have lived without Olaf’s “In Summer” song. It was lame. It’s also really unfair how all the eligible men in the story were going for Anna and ignoring Elsa completely. In some ways, “Frozen” is also the first Disney film I’ve seen where there is no real distinct villain other than Fear itself, (Hans doesn’t really register as a strong villain presence. He’s about as villainous as the Bowler Hat Guy on “Meet the Robinsons”).

      2. To ladyaquanine’s previous reply,

        Hans explicitly stated the reason for targeting Anna over Elsa. Anna was just THAT vulnerable, while he said that it was clear to everyone that “nobody was going anywhere with Elsa”.His comment suggests that prior to the Coronation, there could have been a lot of eligible bachelors, both from and outside Arendelle, who proposed to Elsa but she turned all of them down (probably without even entertaining them in the slightest) as she was incredibly afraid of exposing herself.

        As for Kristoff, it was Anna he shared a journey and more time with, not Elsa, so it was only natural and made sense for him to grow closer to the younger sister.

    1. Spot on the plot changes. I think the key question here is in terms of adapting a fairy tale for a modern audience. They want the story broadly the same but, this can feel anachronistic.

      (I also am not happy entirely with the Snow Queen but, as so much is different in Frozen it’s really a different story entirely).

      I prefer the changes made to PatF where the fairy tale exists, allowing commentary on social changes without changing it too much.

      My objection to the change here is the Princess thing.
      I quite liked the films where female characters weren’t princesses at all (Mulan proved they could still be the main character), though I have nothing against Disney Princesses I just think they’re rather taking over. I think they did this to try to add something extra to the fairy tale, which had a smaller scope, so arguably it was justified.
      BUT. Many years ago, I was poking about in a book shop and found a Barbie version of Rapunzel, she was a lost Princess, had a magic hairbrush she turned into a paintbrush (ie she painted,there was even a dragony lizard thing that was a friend… (Oh my God Disney …) I jest, Tangled is quite different. It’s just that that introduced the Princess element and I can’t help wondering if that had an influence on them.
      In terms of adapting Fairy tales though it should be noted that Disney are pretty fair to the tales, whoever does the Barbie one mutilated 12 dancing Princesses ugh, hate to see what they would do with Bluebeard.

      On the other hand saying the “original” story is a pet hate of mine. People are always doing that with Sleeping Beauty even though there are so many different variations. Early tales were bowdlerised rather than having the violence removed. So for your amusement. In my copy of the Brothers Grimm Rapunzel, a footnote at the back informed the reader that “in some versions”, the reason Rapunzel had twin children with her at the end was because the witch found out R had morning sickness. Which you must admit made more sense of the allegory of the ivory tower. I also think this makes Rapunzel less of a brainless twit (“Why are you so slow, when the Prince is so quick [ climbing her hair]” my foot).

      1. Oh yes! I forgot to mention the twins part, how in some versions of the original fairy-tale, Rapunzel gave birth to a pair of twins when she was out in the wilderness. As a child, I had no idea how it happened, & mom was not eager to explain it to me. An adult would have figured out immediately that when the prince was visiting Rapunzel in the tower, they were doing a little more than “chatting” or playing chess. Some fairy-tales truly do have some sexual or adult undertones that mostly go over children’s heads, and it’s often as subtle as the implications of violence people complain about nowadays about traditional tales.

        It’s true about many fairy-tales. Often in the past they weren’t written down, but traveling story-tellers would tell multiple villages about it around Europe in the old days, so every country had their own way of telling the same story.

        Like in the Brothers Grimm telling of “Snow White,” it wasn’t the prince kissing her that woke the princess up. It was the dwarves jostling her glass coffin as they were carrying it & the apple piece got dislodged from her throat, causing her to wake up & cough it out. (Kinda gross, actually, & nowhere near as romantic). She was also 7 years old in the story, instead of 16. They don’t elaborate how long she lived with the dwarves, but obviously it was long enough for her to be old enough to marry the prince when the time came.

        Or in the original “Sleeping Beauty,” she stayed in the castle & was raised a princess, but like the Disney version, all the spinning wheels were burned. There were also no 3 fairies in the original story.

        I personally hated the original version of “Beauty and the Beast” because it was about as romantic as documentary on constructing bricks. No character development at all, & no real way Beauty could have fallen in love with the Beast because they hardly spent any time together! Stupid.

    2. “It also robs the girl of her femininity, & makes her look boyish, especially if it’s shorter than ear-length.”

      You know that not every woman *wants* to look feminine, right?

      Also that there are *extremely* feminine short haircuts?

      “I shall now explain why Rapunzel is straight.”

      None of your reasons *prove* that Rapunzel is straight. The first three points don’t have anything to do with her sexual orientation, just her sexual inexperience. As for the fourth, all we’re given in the movie is that Rapunzel is attracted to Flynn/Eugene, which does not mean that she’s straight. She could still be bisexual, pansexual, or demisexual/gray-asexual.

    3. You;re right about her not being able to understand Flynn’s come-ons and she clearly is straight. But there is no need to judge femininity (or your perceived lack of it) on a short haircut. You must not have seen many good looking women at all but it doesn’t mean short hair looks like crap on everyone

    4. “She [Snow White] was also 7 years old in the story, instead of 16. They don’t elaborate how long she lived with the dwarves, but obviously it was long enough for her to be old enough to marry the prince when the time came.”

      Really? I remember reading the story a while ago and I don’t remember them implying that time had passed, having Snow White grow from a child to an adult. If that’s the case, then I’m glad they didn’t say she married a man at the age of 7. I don’t care what culture thinks that’s okay in any way, it’s not.

      But it still makes no sense for the Queen to get jealous of Snow White’s beauty if she’s only 7 years old. It’s apples and oranges! NO ONE would ever compare a child’s beauty to that of an adult woman’s. A child is beautiful in a cute, little-girl way, whereas a grown woman is beautiful in a mature, sexy way. You would never put a 7-year-old and an adult woman in the SAME beauty pageant.

      I heard it said that Snow White’s official age in the Disney Canon is 14, but 16-17 makes more sense to me. She’s a girl just at the point of womanhood. THAT’S when her beauty would become an actual threat to the Queen, something to be jealous of, because that’s the age when her beauty would start to attract the attention of men. It just makes more sense.

      Also, how on earth could a 7-year-old scrub and clean the dwarfs’ cottage all by herself, or cook a delicious meal for seven people (eight if she’s going to eat too)? She wouldn’t even be able to reach the cupboards with the pots and pans! It just makes no sense to me!

  25. Hmm . Personally I like both movies but tangled is the only one I’ll go back and rewatch. I remember going to the cinema and thinking my God Disney is back so it will always be special.

    I also loved frozen . The animation in the snow and ice is glorious and idina Mendel Is fantastic but I found the film badly paced, with a strange third act. It was like they realised everyone needed to be on the ice so they found a way (no matter how contrived) to get everyone exactly where they needed to be. That just felt off to Me and pulled me out the story a bit. The relationship between Anna and Elsa though is the high point for me. As a sister myself I can say no matter how far apart siblings get they will always always be there when needed. ( to be turned to ice or just to provide ice cream after a break up)

    To sum up I don’t think frozen or tangled are the pinnacle of new renaissance disney more like the little mermaid before beauty and the beast ( or lion king). A stepping stone to a new Disney.

  26. Wow, 160 responses in a day. I think that’s a record Mouse.

    Tangled wasn’t a bad movie, it had a lot of things going for it. Beautiful animation, gorgeous backgrounds, and some very nice songs. Maybe I’m just weird, but have you ever watched the dresses of some of the Disney princesses, before Tangled they didn’t move much, and now they swish and sway with every movement, making them much more realistic and not just stick figures.

    What was wrong with it though? I would say it was still testing the waters of what would and wouldn’t work with modern audiences. Not all of the songs are ones you’d want to sing. When will my life begins, while kind of fun the first time, is actually boring the second time around, and the reprisals for it were always kind of meh worthy. But every time i hear I’ve got a dream, I just wish I had a handful of guys to help me sing it, even if Rap has only a few lines during the whole song. There are definitely times during the movie, where they hit the nail on the head, and didn’t ruin the feeling of a great scene. When the King and Queen are getting ready to light their lantern, they didn’t waste peoples time with dialogue, or some depressing song, just let the characters do it the way professional actors would, with facial expressions.

    Which is better? Tangled or Frozen? Let’s start with this. Neither. Both movies had spectacular moments, both movies had failures. There were problems in the script in both movies. Rap doesn’t act like a girl who’s lived her life being told people are evil, and if she left her tower she’d suffer a horrible fate. Elsa and Anna don’t spend enough time together for their to be any type of feelings of sisterhood between them. I think the only reason there are animal sidekicks in both movies is 1) most Disney movies have them, and 2) to add to the cast so it has more depth.

    Each movie in the canon has its own advantages, and failures, so trying to figure out which is better is more subjective than anything else. But carry on, I do love a good fight, and I know that this comment will start more.

  27. You seem to have overlooked an important aspect of the “I love you more” “I love you most” exchange. On the last line, Gothel is talking not to Rapunzel’s face, but to her *hair*.

      1. In “Mother Knows Best” Gothel actually sings the line “…to keep you safe and sound…” directly to Rapunzel’s hair (instead of to Rapunzel). And I think she kisses it at that part too.

  28. “Long time ago, a teardrop fell from the sun, and instead of incinerating all life on earth, grew into a golden flower. This flower was discovered by an old woman named Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) who found that by singing a certain song, the flower could turn her young again. How did she know the right words? Why a flower? Look, this whole sequence is pretty much a load of plotholes held together by spit and glitter glue.”

    Yeah. The movie kinda lost me right from the get-go and I wasn’t really able to take any of it seriously. :\

    “Stabbington brothers”. Really. I didn’t realize I was watching a Saturday morning cartoon. In 1996.

    “I Have a Dream”


    My best friend is a very quirky girl (there’s a reason why her nickname is Twitchy) and she enjoys making up new lyrics to songs. Here’s her take on IHaD, which she composed standing in line for the bathroom:

    “I’ve gotta pee
    I’ve gotta pee
    Yes, there’s somewhere else that I would rather be!”

    And, to prove there’s a reason that I’m her best friend, here’s the rest of the verse that *I* composed:

    “And I would be so much gladder
    If I could relieve my bladder
    ‘Cause like all you lovely folks, I’ve gotta pee!”

    Thank you for including the Bad Horse song.

    re: “I See the Light”…again the song loses me early on, with Rapunzel’s lyrics. “All those years / Never even knowing / Just how blind I’ve been”

    …wait, what? What have you been blind to? I don’t understand what lesson you’ve supposed to have learned to warrant this lyric.

    re: Rapunzel’s tear abilities. Mother Gothel dies because supposedly the flower’s magic is gone once Rapunzel’s hair is cut, right? Except the flower’s magic still lives on in Rapunzel’s tears. SO WHY DID MOTHER GOTHEL DIE IF THE FLOWER’S MAGIC STILL EXISTED??!!//oneone

    I don’t think Tangled is going to age well. It relies pretty heavily on the 2010’s sense of humor, plus this decade’s signature trope, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and I don’t think that’s going to find as big an audience in the next generation.

    1. Perhaps. Perhaps not. Aladdin may have had a similar issue. It’s pop culture jokes are kind of dated, it it is still remembered ALOT today. Tangled does have a chance since it doesn’t show any jokes like that, but it does have those references you mentioned and the modern dialogue (Flynn Rider’s “smolder”), frying pans, and guitar music. Do you think Frozen will last?

      1. i don’t see Frozen having any pop-cultured reference jokes. just how Anna talks is very 21st century. but it will last imo, since huge Disney films always last for decades even tho its messages and others r pretty dated (Snow White).

      2. ^^^^^Well, yeah. Aladdin was criticized when it was released for its pop culture jokes that have become a little dated and it doesn’t feel like a “classic.” Tangled doesn’t have jokes like those, but the modern dialogue is kind of jarring to some and kind resembles Dreamworks to me. I thought Frozen had less modern references, but you’re right about Anna. She says “totally.” I was wondering if Frozen would probably last longer than Tangled because Sempai mentioned that Tangled “relies on 2010’s sense of humor.”

      3. I think Aladdin can get away with it mainly because the references are from the mouth of the supporting cast, especially with a character like Genie who’s meant to be quirky and over-the-top and, well, kinda bizarre and maybe a little incomprehensible.

    2. True. The Genie is also the most powerful being in their world and has been able to travel through time. It makes sense that he can make those jokes.

  29. To me, this feels more like The Princess and the Frog was trying to do. It updates the Disney formula without feeling too phony. And I’m also in the “Tangled > Frozen” camp. For me, Frozen has better songs and animation, but Tangled has better characters and humor. They’re both pretty close in my ranking so it doesn’t really matter.

    Also, I’m disappointed you didn’t make a joke like “the next review will be Wreck-It Ralph… Wait, what’s Winnie the Pooh?”

  30. Aaah, Tangled. This is, I think, the moment where I took a look at Disney and felt that they were back…
    Until I left the cinema and started thinking about it.
    And now with the obligatory eye-catching inflammatory statement over and done with, I really must credit Tangled for doing such a good job of vowing you WHILE you watch it. Eugene and Rapunzel have tremendous chemistry, helped along by wonderful voice actors who sell the hell out of almost every line and the story really runs with how encountering Rapunzel changes him. Earnest girl changing world-weary cynic is old hat, true, but I think the movie did the right choice in making Eugene so comedic- his awkward smolder and complaints about his wanted posters all points to him being more invested in the signifiers of his ”dashing rogue” persona than it actually representing who he is. So when he comes up against someone so earnest as Rapunzel it’s not just ”alas, love has warmed my icy heart” as it is ”man this girl seems to really just run with who she is and that actually works for her, maybe I should let go of Flynn Rider and be true to myself as well”. It’s so sweet you almost buy the fact that they enter a romantic relationship after less than a week. What a difference actual chemistry can make.
    And Maximums? Just… Maximus. I know not what animator demi-god descended from their lofty perch to breathe life into this hilarious creature, but I thank them for it. Every little thing he does is magic, and back then a hooved animal acting like a dog not only was new but also felt RIGHT- a police animal acting like a dog feels like it’s a gag that’s sort of relevant to his purpose in the plot, though I do believe it could have worked even better if there had been ACTUAL police dogs sniffing around that Maximus could show up. Also yes I see that I mispelled Maximus up there in the sentence, but now I have actually written “Maxi-yummy” in Swedish, and I feel like it fits him so it stays. So there.
    But. But but but. Once you turn the DVD off or leave the cinema, those little nagging thoughts start to creep in. Like how a geriatric old lady could sneak into a castle and steal away a baby and make her escape so easily. Just how unlikely it is that a tower THAT CLOSE to the Castle town could stay hidden for so long. Why does Flynn cut Rapunzels hair BEFORE she heals him? Like I get that one can see the long hair as yet another chain Gothel has put on Rapunzel (the long hair IS technically something Gothel has forced on her after all, even if the movie doesn’t really do anything with that) and Flynn wants to sever her from bondage because he’s heroic and such, regardless of whether he profits from it or if it puts him in danger… but it really does come off as the dumbest move possible because dude WHO IS GOING TO BLAME YOU FOR WAITING A FEW SECONDS? Also it could have spared us the whole ”magic tears bring him back to life” mood-killing Deus Ex Machina. And of course, Gothel’s plan relying on a whole lot of coincidences: the Stabbington brothers going along with the plan to her, Flynn leaving Rapunzel behind so he could be tied up and sent back to the city (one could argue that tying Flynn up was the brother’s idea but man did it ever work out a little too well for Gothel) and of course there being mist THAT PRECISE MOMENT so Rapunzel can’t see Flynn being all tied up, AND THEN Gothel knocking both fully grown men out while old and frail again. These are things I’m never really quite sure of if whether they’re nitpicks or legitimate problems, however. The story around Gothel is still engaging despite these coincidences, thanks to stellar voice acting and a chilling villain whose manipulation and cold blooded heart makes her a true threat, even if she doesn’t have the firepower of your Ursulas or Jafars or Hades. Wouldn’t say she holds any true affection for Rapunzel though, for reasons others have already stated above. Would say that I kinda liked how Pascal is the one who ultimately trips her up as payback for kicking him, even if he doesn’t do a lot for the plot or for me personally otherwise.
    There’s also the plot holes at the start of the film, but I can’t say they bothered me too much. Mostly because the opening narrator was an unreliable and quite biased one, and also because this may not have been the first time this whole ”sun-flower” thing has happened and there are in fact legends about what it can do, hence Gothel knowing the song and the king knowing how to heal his wife with it. GRANTED, they really could have thrown in a quick line about that to further cement it, so that’s not much of an excuse. I also think that the movie justifying Rapunzels long hair with it losing power if it’s cut is a nice touch, so maybe I’m a bit too forgiving of it. What I’m not so forgiving about? The music. Man, is this music just… not memorable? It feels more Disney Channel than Disney Classic- hummable, yet ultimately unmemorable pop fare. Until I rewatched this movie I had completely forgotten ALL songs except “Mother Knows Best”, who at least felt like it really told a relevant story and had a chilling reprise- not to mention how it really makes how HORRIBLE Gothel is to Rapunzel obvious without being moustache-thwirlingly obvious. The little “jokes”, the constant pressure, the guilt-shifting… man does it make you skin crawl. Yet as you say- you are instantly on board with Rapunzels desire to strike it out and get away from this horrid woman. It’s a song that get’s you invested in what’s happening before you.
    But then “when will my life begin”, “I have a dream”, “I See The Light”… they don’t stick. I Have A Dream is fun, but forgettable and doesn’t really do much except broadly introduce some gag characters who will only show up once after this, WWMLB is well-sung but I have already forgotten the melody and it certainly doesn’t have the punch and power “Part of Your World”… heck it’s not even an “Up There” and has anyone tasked you with South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut? I really hope someone has. And ISTL is just the kind of boring ballad you’d usually find stuck at the credits of any other Disney song- we’ve heard it before and we’ve heard it done better. It just feels manufactured. I was onboard with the romance between them UNTIL this song, for some strange reason. It just makes it too on the nose. And honestly, can a Disney movie really be called a true classic without a really killer OST? I do not know.
    All I do know is that this movie is pretty damn fantastic and gorgeous, funny as hell and capable of making you get on board with protagonists that have a clearly defined and relatable end-goal, and enough charisma to make you overlook that this is yet another unrealistically quick Disney love story. It may not be reaching the levels of the old-school classics, but it comes damn near close and is damn well an entertaining to see. Next time around… man. Never was one for good-byes. But they sure do seem to like me.

    1. “WWMLB is well-sung but I have already forgotten the melody”

      The only reason I remember WWMLB is because someone drew a Supernatural parody comic for Castiel. “And then I’ll groom and groom and groom and groom my wings~”

  31. I’m not sure if I should be surprised by how much ass-kissing goes on in the comments section. “Pascal,” who was nameless to me before today, is the worst thing about Disney. Worse than the sexual harassment suits at the parks. At least those weren’t shoved down the throats of millions. Worse than anything Touchstone Pictures made. 3 Ninjas was awesome. Pascal is a more annoying Navi. “Oh, you forgot about me because I’m completely unnecessary for the story? I’m gonna make some annoying noise and halt the progression of the scene!” Disney has had talking animals. Bambi, Jiminy, Sebastian, Eddie Murphy. But what I can’t stand are the animals who can’t talk but make talking motions. The trope is the horse who doesn’t like the direction they’re taking. BATB, Brave. But the Pocahontas animals? Lucifer in Cinderella? You hate him bc he won’t goddam talk. That’s why in Up the dog was so loved bc it started talking. Pascal and his ilk should be packaged in Pocahontas and go the way of Song of the South. Mickey Mouse: universal love. That damn bird in Up: not so much.

    1. It’s the body movements and facial animation that makes Pascal and Maximus stand out, talking animals in Tangled wouldn’t have really worked that well, I mean why do you think everyone hated the Tom and Jerry movie? Because the one thing that made those two characters memorable and hilarious was completely ruined when that film gave them the ability to talk, didn’t help that the film was trying to cash on the Disney musical craze

  32. i watched both and I still have to say Frozen was the better movie. For just one simple reason. It was more memorable. I watched Tangled because it was a disney movie and it looked good. It didn’t resound with me, it didn’t capture my imagination. It was just a good disney movie. I went home after watching it and never thought much about it anymore.
    I was spoiled on Frozen because I watched on youtube the scene where Elsa sings Let it go. But that one single scene I watched on youtube was enough for me to go and watch the movie. After watching the movie, I was fascinated with Frozen. The songs, the characters, everything.
    Tangled just didn’t have that kind of pull. Frozen has that special something that pulls you in and makes you into a fan. Tangled just didn’t have that. You can argue till the cows come home that Tangled was a better movie because of A, B or C. But honestly, I watched Tangled, and soon forgot about it.
    I watched Frozen and was absolutely drawn in. Maybe its that let it go song, maybe its want to build a snowman. Maybe it was Elsa. But honestly, even after a year, I still find Frozen memorable. Reading your review, I get the impression I must have been totally sleeping when I watched Tangled. None of those wow stuff jumped out to me at all.
    Tangled just didn’t have the ‘heart” which Frozen had. I didn’t go home and talk about Tangled, but I sure as heck did talk about Frozen! Maybe Tangled had all this great parts done even better than Frozen, but they all went past my head. None of all that jumped out and gripped me the way the movie Frozen did. Maybe its not about how much good stuff you can squeeze into a movie, maybe its about how much heart and how well done it is when you do have those moments.
    Now, maybe because its such a cultural smash hit, now it might become popular to diss on and hate Frozen. But I will remember very clearly that my experiences after watching both movies were markedly different. Tangled was forgetable. She is like this very well put together, manicured, plastic perfect girl that you meet on a date. She ticks all the right boxes, but somehow, you just didn’t feel it. You went home and soon forgot about her.
    Frozen is unforgettable to me. Frozen is like the girl whom when you first laid eyes on, she looked like a girl next door. But in the course of one single date, she managed to charm your heart and after you went home, you could never forget her. She wasn’t perfect, but she resounded with you and so, somehow you simply just fell in love with her. That was what Frozen was like to me compared with Tangled.

    1. I agree with you. I put Tangled and Frozen about on the same level in terms of quality, but I do like Frozen a little more because the story is more memorable to me.

    2. “Tangled was forgettable. She is like this very well put together, manicured, plastic perfect girl that you meet on a date. She ticks all the right boxes, but somehow, you just didn’t feel it. You went home and soon forgot about her.

      Frozen is unforgettable to me.Frozen is like the girl whom when you first laid eyes on, she looked like a girl next door. But in the course of one single date, she managed to charm your heart and after you went home, you could never forget her. She wasn’t perfect, but she resounded with you and so, somehow you simply just fell in love with her. That was what Frozen was like to me compared with Tangled.”

      This analogy works perfectly for the characters of Rapunzel (in place of Tangled) and Anna (in place of Frozen) too.

  33. Oh God, the Tangled/Frozen comparison war D: I must say, when you’re a part of the Disney community on tumblr, Frozen suuuuuuuure has lost its magic – the internet in general (thinkpiece posts, fan theories taken as fact) has sort of ruined Frozen for me, and I’m pretty sure Tangled didn’t have this much…’publicity’ around it; it’s so strange how the internet has changed in the space of 3 years.

    And I just want to put this post I made before Frozen was released here, because I’m kind of proud of predicting the future: http://jayellcee12.tumblr.com/post/58254073353/the-original-disney-renaissance-and-the-new-disney

    1. I disagree on a lot of what you said. This deviantART gives a pretty good description on what she thinks of Disney’s “Revival.”


      There are some points I disagree with her on some parts, though. I think she’s harsh on Tangled not being nominated for “Best Animated Feature” in the Oscars, because it faced competition against Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon. There was also an issue in the Annie Awards where How to Train Your Dragon won EVERY award it was nominated for, and the Annies were rigged. So, Tangled didn’t win the Annies it probably deserved.

      While I agree with her that Disney had no faith in The Lion King, they didn’t exactly predict that Frozen would be a tremendous success, either. They actually ran out of merchandise because they didn’t see it coming and only hoped it would do as well as Tangled or Wreck-It Ralph.

      1. Yeah, it’s my opinion, and it was just a theory I had that’s not to be taken as fact; of course history can’t exactly repeat itself.

      2. Thank you 🙂 It’s interesting that other people are discovering and discussing similarities and things between the films/eras.

      3. First to whoever said the God-Awful Hercules song “One last hope”, the worst song in the whole movie, is one of the best Disney songs of the renessance, and “Poor unfortunate souls”, one of the top 3 villain songs is the worst, must be crazy and tone- deaf!!! Ok, now to the Frozen/ Tangled debate, I really enjoyed both films even though I’m partial to hand drawn animation, but if I had to choose I like Frozen better. It has the better soundtrack and I really liked the story about 2 sisters. I’ve seen it more times despite Tangled coming out 4 years prior. They are both solid films and Flynn Ryder is my favorite Disney dude:-)

      4. Love “One Last Hope”. – “Demi-gods have faced the odds and ended up a mockery, Don’t believe the stories that, you read on all the crockery” 🙂
        Classics jokes FTW
        I think it’s a song like “Mordu” in Brave and ‘For the Dancing and the Dreaming”, they’re not well sung but, it makes sense in the context of the film that they are sung by “ordinary characters”..

  34. Something I noticed while watching this film again, is that one of the thugs in the Snuggly Duckling is wearing a familiar looking knight helmet that I think I saw in a famous Monty Python movie, could it be a reference or am I looking too much into this?

  35. Maximus is such a great character? WOA. When I saw this movie and that character, I totally just smelled a retread of Sampson from “Sleeping Beauty”. He wasn’t bad, but not interesting either. And certainly not original.

  36. Very late on the draw here, but here’s a point to consider.

    The “cop-out ending” with the teardrop carrying away the last of Rapunzel’s power was actually foreshadowed very early on in the film.

    Namely: how did the entire plot kick off? With a radiant “teardrop” from the sun.

    I watched the movie after I’d read this review, and I was quite ready to roll my eyes at that element of the ending — until I actually saw it, and something in the way it was staged made me instantly recall the introduction of the film.

    Still a bit artificial? Oh yes, no question about it. But Disney’s put a bit more thought into this than is apparent at first.

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