Well, I should be working on an essay right now, but it's not due till Wednesday, so I won't think about it for now. Anyway, I've been obsessing over Tangled since I saw it opening day and even more so since I saw it the Saturday after that and bought the soundtrack. Anyway, I just need to gush about the movie because I've already driven my roommates crazy with my incessant chatter about it. Okay, first of all, I LOVED it! It was just so full of lovely, romantic fluff! But it was a lot deeper than that, too, although I haven't really seen a proper Disney princess film in a while, so I've been overdosing on Disney sugary goodness. I do love the depth to the movie, especially to all the characters.
If there is one thing this movie got right, it's the characters (although I pretty much feel like this movie is perfect at the moment). Mother Gothel, especially, is an amazing villain. She is a master manipulator, and she controls Rapunzel through subtle methods. There is actually a mother-daughter relationship between them. You can really tell during the movie (and during "Mother Knows Best") that she's creating these fears for Rapunzel to believe she needs to stay in the tower. Rapunzel truly loves her "mother," even though Gothel puts her down and deliberately shoots down her self-esteem as a way of keeping Rapunzel close. It's so telling that Rapunzel reaches for Gothel as she's falling of the tower in the end. Plus, rather than just dragging Rapunzel back to the tower, she sets it up so that Rapunzel will believe that Flynn has abandoned her, thus causing her to run back into Gothel's arms and reinforce her need to stay in the tower "protected" from the world. Absolutely chilling from a villain. And yet you can debate till the cows come home just how Gothel feels about Rapunzel. After so many years of caring for her as her daughter, I do believe that she comes to love her in her own selfish way—except she still cares more for the healing hair in the end. It's very subtle throughout the movie, and even her villain song doesn't sound terribly villainy until the reprise, and even then it still feels more like a mother admonishing her child harshly for her mistakes. Kudos Disney.
The sidekicks: OMG! I love love LOVE Pascal and Maximus. Every single shot they're in is funny! And they're sooo adorable! Really all I can do is *SQUEEEEEE* Also, the thugs are amazing. They're so gruff, but totally softies underneath. And the king and queen are heartbreaking. They don't say even one word in the movie, but their grief is so palpable and deep that it wrenched my heart in two. And despite their fear and despair over losing their daughter, They never give up hope that she will return to them one day. They impressed me a lot, and it is a testament to the animators that they can draw such emotion with no words. (Also, the animation in general is amazing, but I'll get to that later.)
The best characters, though are Rapunzel and Flynn. I feel like they were much more subtle than Tiana and Naveen were. Tiana and Naveen only really get one character trait to define them and that's it. But Rapunzel and Flynn have more layers. Rapunzel is innocent and naïve, but she's not afraid of the world and her naïveté is a good thing—it doesn't cripple her. Actually, it keeps her from falling for Flynn's "smolder," which I would say is a very good thing. It keeps it from giving Flynn too much power over her. Actually, they're quite balanced in power, I think, in part, due to Rapunzel's frying pan. Also, I love that Rapunzel has a crisis over leaving the tower—something the other Disney heroines don't seem to do very often. She's elated to be free and experience the world, but she suffers crushing guilt over disobeying her mother. She doesn't even think ill of her mother until she realizes that she's the lost princess and that Gothel kidnapped her as a baby. She's willing to see the world through optimistic eyes, and she's so full of life, but she's not as easily beguiled as you might expect.
And Flynn. Oh Flynn. I actually have a crush on him right now (it's not my fault, I swear! They made him really handsome on purpose!). The balance between his arrogance and vulnerability is just right. Even though he comes off as pretty cocky, you can tell that it's a front and that he's actually rather insecure, unlike Naveen, who is cocky through and through, but learns a lesson in humility. Like in the "Kingdom Dance" scene(which is one of my faves), you can tell Flynn's doing all he can to make Rapunzel have the best day of her life, even though he isn't obligated to, and it makes him happy. Especially once he reveals his orphan backstory and that he named himself after his literary hero. I mean, how cute is that! And oh, Eugene Fitzherbet! Isn't that just the bestest most adorable name ever?! He's just so lovely. His thieving ways are obviously a response to having nothing growing up, and when you think about it that way, your heart just breaks for him. He obviously uses his dry humor and cocky attitude as a front because he doesn't value himself, so he searches for value in things, because he's never had things, so who's to say that that won't ease the pain in his heart? Actually, in the end, I think it is just as much about Eugene finding a family as it is about Rapunzel finding her family. And, as Eugene learns to care for Rapunzel more, his first instinct is to help her, protect her, care for her, love her, etc. Rapunzel's name is the first word on his lips after he wakes up tied to the boat with the crown. And he doesn't really get the urge to try to escape until he notices the men who were going to hurt Rapunzel in the jail and he demands that they tell him where they found out about her.
Also, Rapunzel and Eugene are absolutely adorable together. I love the way that they learn to care for each other on their journey, so that Rapunzel isn't afraid to return his satchel early and he doesn't particularly care about getting it back. I love that they are so vulnerable with each other, even kind of near the beginning. What I love about Eugene and Rapunzel is that they weren't at terrible odds in the beginning, like Tiana and Naveen were. They do have somewhat discordant goals, and they aren't friends per se, but they are friendly to each other and not antagonistic at all. And it's so cute that Eugene helps Rapunzel with her hair the whole time. And in the end you can tell that they really love each other, because they are both willing to die/give their lives away for the other. Eugene actually does die for her and he cuts her hair, which cuts her bondage to Gothel at the same time, and Rapunzel was willing to let Gothel take her as her slave (basically) if she would just let her heal Eugene's fatal wound (inflicted by Gothel herself). So, basically, Rapunzel and Eugene are my new OTP. They're just so cute together!
The subtlety of the story and the subtext is amazing, too. You could see the crown and the satchel as a metaphor for Rapunzel's virginity, which ties into the original fairy tale. Plus, Rapunzel's magic comes from a flower, so it can be about her "blossoming," whether it's just growing up or about her sexuality, especially because Eugene cuts her hair and "deflowers" her in the end. Also, the stuff with the sun is good, too, but I don't feel like figuring out the metaphor and looking connotations of solar myths right now. Also, I love that Rapunzel's healing teas hearken back to the fairy tale as well. Really, this movie is really clever.
I am so terribly glad that Alan Menken did this film. I love the music! I'll admit, it did take a little bit for the songs to grow on me (I loved the score from the start), other than "Healing Incantation." But I actually really love the guitar in the songs now, even if occasionally it is too modern for me. Actually, a lot of the lyrics and dialogue felt too modern to me, and that is a legitimate gripe I have with this movie. (I'll probably come up with more things to nitpick after the "honeymoon stage" is over. Right now I'm still gushing mode and pumped over all the good things about the movie.) But anyway, my favorites are "I See the Light," "Healing Incantation," and "Mother Knows Best (Reprise)." Actually, if you listen to the reprise and you don't know what "it/this" is, you totally assume that Gothel's saying that Flynn will leave Rapunzel after he's slept with her. And man, oh man, can Zachary Levi sing! Who knew? Also, I love "Kingdom Dance." But you know that already. The music is so fun to dance to, and I love the way it accelerandos and crescendos to the end. Also, it's super cute when Eugene and Rapunzel end up in each other's arms on the last note. Here, go see it. The sync's a little off, because the bootleg video is faster than the soundtrack audio, but it's so CUTE!
Okay, it's time to talk about the animation. It's absolutely gorgeous. A lot of people keep saying that they wished it had been 2D animation, but I actually disagree. I've been following this movie for five years, and I remember being dismayed that it wouldn't be in 2D. However, now that I've seen it, I couldn't imagine it another way. CG has come a long way, and Rapunzel's hair is so amazing. I don't think it would have been as good hand-drawn. I haven't actually seen it in 3D yet, but I heard that the lantern scene is AMAZING in 3D, and I think it would be worth it to see it in 3D for that one scene.
Basically Tangled's the love of my life now, and I can't wait to see it again!
Also, I am eating a wonderfully delicious treat that one of my roommates baked me for Christmas. If only I actually knew what it was.